The story so far
- I got a call from Cathy Newton of Ilfracombe Library asking me to attend a meeting at the home of local philanthropist and benefactor David Tubby. (see his excellent blog on our small but beautiful town).
- Cathy asked me if I would be willing to write a book especially for the Big Summer Reading Challenge using this year’s theme “Animal Agents”
- I said yes and we bandied about a number of ideas for the book within minutes. David was persuaded to assist the library with financing the launch of the event and I went off to get writing.
- Before I got very far, I decided to do some market research among the target audience. My daughter’s form teacher at Ilfracombe Junior School was happy to oblige and I got back nearly thirty filled out questionnaires which helped me to write a well targeted book. (It’s mostly terrible puns, fart jokes, and silliness). The title is “For Cats’ Eyes Only”
- It took less than a week to write the first draft. A little longer to get beta readers to feed-back and make a few adjustments, and another week for editing. But without illustrations it would miss the needs of the target audience. 6-8 year olds.
- So the search for an artist began, with many expressing an interest but none fulfilling all the requirements. The money available for this is not huge, because it is an unknown author (me) and a very small publisher (Blue Poppy) and we just can’t pay, up front, the sort of money professional artists demand and deserve.
- Then a friend suggested I should try the art department of Ilfracombe Academy. I smacked my hand against my head and dashed off an email a.s.a.p. The reply from Mr Lawton was positive and we arranged an opportunity to visit the school and present the brief to a group of young art students.
- Then last Thursday I saw the submissions. It goes without saying that all of them were excellent, but (much to my relief) one was outstanding and the decision was relatively easy to make.
Watch this space, or keep an eye on the North Devon Gazette for the announcement of the successful artist who is a young student who dared to dream of illustrating children’s books once she had finished her studies.