Felix Whiter – Animal Agent

New series coming soon

Specially commissioned by Ilfracombe Library
and launching Wednesday 19th July 2017

The story so far

Early in 2017 Olli was approached by Ilfracombe Library, with a request that to write a children’s book around the theme of Animal Agents. He agreed, and local Ilfracombe philanthropist and benefactor David Tubby agreed to help with a generous financial donation.

Olli had a number of ideas for the book but wanted to get the opinions of some young readers, so he wrote out a market research questionnaire, and sent a copy in to Ilfracombe Junior School with his ten year old Daughter Ellie-Rose. Ellie’s teacher, Mr Newell, had thirty copies printed off and did it as a class project. Using the children’s responses as a guide, Olli wrote the first draft in only a few days.

“It just came in a great big rush and practically wrote itself.” He said.

Then it went through a brief self-edit process, and was read out-loud to family members to get a general reaction. Everyone loved it including Ellie-Rose who is at the upper end of the target reading age.

After a bit of redrafting it went out to beta-readers.

One of the young readers noted that when Floppy the Rabbit spoke there were no ‘bunny ears’. It took me a few moments to work out he meant inverted commas.

The book went off for a proper professional edit with Sarah Dawes, Olli’s preffered editor who is based in Bishop’s Tawton, North Devon. She is a brilliant, meticulous freelance editor, and Olli trusts her implicitly. All that remained was to find an illustrator.

Olli put the word out online and got loads of responses back but for one reason or another nobody was quite right for the job. Olli was looking for a modern day E.H. Shepard on a tight budget. Remember this isn’t a big publishing house with a pile of money. Then a friend suggested getting in touch with the local secondary school, Ilfracombe Academy.

The head of Art, Mr Lawton, couldn’t have been more helpful and he set up an opportunity for Olli to pitch to a group of enthusiastic students. Of those several then produced drawings to submit for consideration and one in particular stood out from the rest.

… to be continued.