Well… this has been a year. I’ve spent most of the last few months writing three books in the There’s a Dragon in my… series. It’s been a lot of hard work. My day job can be quite mentally exhausting at times and it wasn’t always easy to come home and then start writing about Mini-Dragons. But it’s also been a lot of fun and even on the days I really couldn’t be bothered writing, once I got going it was almost always enjoyable. I also have an amazingly supportive and understanding wife which has helped a lot.
I’ve been working with a great editor on the books. I think what I’ve really learned this year is that part of you that wants to write something and have everyone just declare it perfect, no issues here – that part of you needs to be dumped. I realise that’s probably easier said than done, but when I look at the drafts before and after for all the books, it’s staggering to see how much better the later versions are. I think it’s important to remember that everyone involved just wants to make the best book possible.
The books are being illustrated by the amazing Sarah Horne. I love Sarah’s hand-drawn style – she adds so much character to every drawing. Her illustrations perfectly capture the wacky nature of the books – I’m so delighted she’s involved. I was also happy to hear that Sarah would be credited on the front of the book. Stripes recently announced that all illustrators would be credited on their book covers which is great news. Illustrators are often not credited appropriately. This is bad enough in general, but within the children’s book industry it seems especially crazy where illustration is so obviously important. Hopefully the Pictures Mean Business campaign spearheaded by Sarah McIntyre will improve matters, but in the meantime it’s great to see Stripes setting the example.
Yesterday, I finally got my hands on a copy of my book. Yeah, no big deal. It’s only the thing I’ve wanted forever. Whatever. Yeah right, it was amazing. I had fully expected to cry when I saw it, but I managed to keep it together.
I’m so happy with how it’s turned out. The illustrations and layout are ludicrously good, and the words inside are alright too imo. Needless to say, next year is shaping up to be quite an exciting one with three books due to be released. The publicity for There’s a Dragon in my Dinner! has already begun. I’m equal parts nervous and excited about that side of it, having never done anything like it before. It’s definitely out of my comfort zone, but that’s not a bad thing.
Probably the coolest thing about it all is that for the past two nights I’ve been able to read my own book to my daughter at bed time.
She seems to like it.