Monday, 20 September 2021

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Best Illustrated Children's Books - Sep/Oct 2021


We have picked five fantastic illustrated marvels that also have a great story to go alongside each one. They are all creative and very special with so much imagination inside them that you will instantly escape into each one. We hope you like our choices for September/October 2021. 

Author/Illustrator: Tom Gauld  

Title: The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess  

Published: Templar Publishing (2 Sept. 2021) 

Hardback: ISBN-13  978-178741917

Purchase HERE

    A whimsical modern fairy tale from internationally renowned cartoonist, Tom Gauld.

    When the log princess goes missing, her brother, the little wooden robot, sets out on an epic adventure to find her. He will encounter goblins, magic puddings, a mushroom queen and a very intimidating woodpile as he seeks to bring his sister home.

    The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess is an exquisitely illustrated modern fairytale about sibling love. Tom Gauld brings all of his wit, draghtsmanship and narrative craft to a funny, moving tale that proves that woodlice can be heroes too.

    Author/Illustrator: William Grill  

    Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue

    Published: Flying Eye Books (1 Oct. 2021)
    Hardback: ISBN-13 ‏  978-1838740238
    Pre-Order Here

    When a world war comes to Myanmar (Burma), one special elephant becomes a hero. As people are forced to leave their home in the Burmese jungle, Bandoola, his keeper Po Toke, and war veteran James Howard Williams (Aka Elephant Bill), undertake a journey that will test their courage, taking trust, understanding and bravery to the very limit. Together, they lead a group of 53 elephants and over 200 refugees to safety, scaling 6000ft mountains as they trek from Myanmar to northern India.

    In this moving tale based on a true story, award-winning William Grill’s stunning illustrations show the majesty of Myanmar’s forests and mountains, the backdrop to a heart-warming tale about empathy between humans and animals, and the strength that can arise from working together when the world is full of danger.

    Author/Illustrator: Jakob Wegelius (Translated by Peter Graves)

    Title: The False Rose

    Published: Pushkin Children's Books (7 Oct. 2021) 

    Hardback: ISBN-13  978-1782693215

    Pre-Order Here

    When Sally Jones and The Chief discover a curious rose-shaped necklace hidden onboard their beloved Hudson Queen, it’s the start of another perilous adventure for the seafaring gorilla and her faithful friend. Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, they set sail for Glasgow, but there fall into the clutches of one of the city’s most ruthless gangs, commanded by a fearsome smuggler queen who will stop at nothing to snatch the necklace for herself.

    Held prisoner hundreds of miles from friendship and safety, Sally Jones must use all her strength, determination and compassion to escape and unravel the mysterious story of the False Rose – a twisting tale leading all the way from Lisbon to Shetland and the South Seas.

    Author/Illustrator: Pam Smy

    Title: The Hideaway

    Published: Pavilion Children's (9 Sept. 2021)

    Hardback: ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1843654797 - Book Review HERE

    Purchase HERE 

    The wonderful long-awaited second novel from Pam Smy celebrated author and illustrator of Thornhill.

    The Hideaway tells the story of a boy, Billy McKenna, who runs away from a difficult situation at home and takes refuge in an overgrown graveyard. While hiding there he meets an elderly man who is tending the graves in preparation for a day in November when something magical is set to happen.

    The book is written in two alternating narratives, both different aspects of the same story. One thread tells of Billy’s experience of hiding away in the graveyard, his mixed-up feelings and emotions, and the supernatural events he eventually witnesses. The other tells of his mother’s situation at home and the police search for Billy. Covering themes of family, childhood, separation and reunion, domestic violence and doing the right thing, this is an important and beautiful book for middle-grade readers right up to adults.

    Billy’s story is illustrated throughout with tonal and textured black and white drawings, until the event on All Souls’ Eve, when the text gives way to a series of double-page images of the supernatural happening.

    The Hideaway is a compelling, exciting and emotional story that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

    Author/Illustrator|: James Mayhew
    Title: Once Upon a Tune 
    Published: Otter-Barry Books (9 Sept. 2021)
    Hardback: ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1913074036
    Purchase Here

    Six wonderful stories that inspired world-famous music, accompanied by brilliant illustrations.

    Once Upon a Tune brings you six wonderful stories from many lands - all of which inspired great music. You can battle trolls with Peer Gynt in 'The Hall of the Mountain King'; grapple with a magic broom in 'The Sorcerer’s Apprentice'; meet the evil Witch of the North in 'The Swan of Tuonela'; sail the seven seas with Sinbad the Sailor in 'Scheherazade'; be a prince disguised as a bee in 'The Flight of the Bumblebee'; and become a fearless hero in 'William Tell'.
    The stories are excitingly told and stunningly illustrated by James Mayhew, who is famous for bringing live classical music, art, and storytelling to families across the UK. There is also a Musical Notes feature, where you can find out more about the stories and music, plus discover James’ recommended recordings - which can be downloaded too.

    Saturday, 18 September 2021

    Kate Wilkinson - Edie and the Box of Flits - Interview (Q&A) - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books #6


    Here on Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books we have another fantastic interview for you to get your fantasy teeth into. We've been given the brilliant opportunity to ask Kate Wilkinson some questions about Edie and the Box Flits. This is an amazing magical debut book which has been illustrated by Joe Berger. The book was published this year by Piccadilly Press (22 July 2021) and will delight both young and old readers - especially those who love brilliant stories like the classic The Borrowers. If this sounds like your kind of book then you can order a copy HERE. 

    • Edie and the Box of Flits is your first children's book. Can you tell us something about it and what inspired you to write it?

    It’s about a girl called Edie Winter who lives in London and her dad runs the Lost Property Office for the London Underground. Edie has just started secondary school, but she’s not finding it easy as her old primary school friends have abandoned her and she feels very lonely.

    So Edie decides to spend the first half term helping Dad to collect missing items. She finds an abandoned box on the Piccadilly Line and as she picks it up, she feels something fluttering inside. And so begins an adventure that takes her into a thumb-sized world deep in the tunnels under London. 

    As a Londoner, I spend a lot of time waiting for trains and buses especially at Highbury and Islington station which is on my route home. There is a family of sooty mice that live on the platform and I often sit on a bench watching them gathering up discarded crumbs and crisps. They gave me the idea of a ‘parallel’ world of small creatures foraging on the Underground. 

    • Part of the story is set on the London Underground. Why did you choose this as a setting?

    I have lived in London most of my adult life and so the London Underground has found its way into my DNA. I love the maze of tunnels, the platforms and the whoosh of air as the trains rush into the station. It also runs overground through many of the suburbs so you rattle along in the dark and then suddenly you are out in the daylight often at rooftop level as you pass between the houses.  

    When I was researching my book I took a couple of Hidden London tours that the London Transport Museum organises and saw the ghost stations and abandoned passageways that still exist down under London’s pavements.  That’s when I decided to set the scene when the Flits are freed in a ghost station at Wilde Street. 

    • What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

    Yes there will hopefully next year and the adventure will be set on another great Underground system in a different city! Edie will discover the secret of the eyeglass and meet more Flits, but she will also be approaching her thirteenth birthday and once you are thirteen the Flits become invisible. Will this happen to Edie? 

    • Joe Berger has illustrated elements of the book. What process did you both use and did you see the illustrations as you were writing the book?

    Publishers don’t tend to put illustrators and writers in touch with each other as you both work via an art director, but I was sent roughs for all the illustrations and love Joe Berger’s work. I particularly like the drawings he did of the wilderness station and Edie, Benedict and Charlie walking through the deserted Underground tunnels late at night. As we will be working together on a sequel, I did get in touch with Joe and we met in Bristol where he lives and had a lovely chat. 

    • You started out as a children's writer for BBC Radio creating audio stories. What are the main differences in writing a book as opposed to writing an audio story?

    I did! It feels like a long time ago, but I wrote two long running series about The Boot Family who lived on a farm and Walter Crumpton who was trusted with looking after all sorts of unruly animals. The stories were for pre-schoolers in a slot called The Listening Corner and the joy of writing for audio is that you can really be playful with the different voices and use lots of music and sound effects to tell the story. The narrators were always brilliant at dialogue and often very funny. My favourite was the voice of a particularly grumpy donkey. 

    • What do you particularly love about writing for or listening to audiobooks?

    My day job is producing readings and short stories for the BBC and audiobooks for publishers like Penguin and Bloomsbury, although they all tend to be for adults. As the audiobooks are unabridged, I can be in the studio with an actor for five or six days working our way through a particularly long novel. If the actor reads well, it’s an absolute joy and a privilege just to sit there and listen to a brilliant story unfold.  

    • At what point in your life did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

    I’m afraid I was a bit annoying as a child and full of myself and my earliest memories are bouncing up and down on my mother’s bed, dictating stories to her about a walrus that could fly and insisting that she wrote them down. The walrus as you can imagine came to a sticky end! 

    • If you could hold imagination in your hands, what do you think it would look like?

    A wardrobe with a hundred tiny doors and drawers. As you pull each one open you are never quite sure what you will find. 

    • How do you relax and switch off from the world?

    I love to escape London and go for a walk in the woods with my dog or go swimming. Cold water doesn’t put me off so I try to swim right through the winter. Plunging into a river in March is a brilliant way to shake off all the wordly grumbles. 

    • Is there anything you wish you'd known sooner as a writer that you would be happy to share with any aspiring authors reading this?

    It can take a very long time to find a publisher and for your book to move through the cogs and wheels, but just keep going and you will get there in the end. 

    Monday, 13 September 2021

    Pam Say - The Hideaway - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

    At Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books, this is one of our favourite books for September 2021 - The Hideaway by Pam Smy. It is an eagerly awaited novel since the author's first groundbreaking book - THORNHILL - which was published to great acclaim in 2017. The author and illustrator captured our imagination with the bold tonal black and white drawings which also feature in her new book. However, this is where the similarities stop as the novel is based on a brilliantly original and captivating story that conveys powerful themes which have been expertly incorporated into this middle-grade read. 

    The story follows a young boy called Billy who runs away from home and seeks out a place of refuge.  He remembers an overgrown graveyard and hides out in an old disused pillbox (a concrete dug-in guard post that was used in World War 2)The book is powerfully woven using two narratives: one filled with mystery and full of escapism whilst the second conveys a family life filled with domestic abuse and loneliness. This is a book that charters new waters with a huge emotional paddle. It highlights the thought-provoking reality for some families but is told with great understanding and sensitivity.

    There is also a lighter side which cuts through the seriousness of the story. Again, this has been expertly and skillfully done through both the narrative and the wonderful illustrations. Whilst Billy McKenna is hiding in the graveyard, he meets a mysterious elderly man who is tending the graves in preparation for a special day. It's All Souls’ Eve in November when something magical is set to happen. This captures brilliant moments and the empathy that Billy has for the gravestones and the dead. It ties the story together and helps cut through the serious situation in the plot that the children and their families are dealing with. 

    This is a fantastically compelling story that is told from the heart. It's a book to absorb long after you finish the last page as it's not just a story but a journey. It's a discovery and uncovering that will both touch and tug at your emotions. Yet, the lighter side of the story is a really welcomed and refreshing touch that will let your imagination fly as the supernatural ability brings things together in a black and white illustrated world. This is an important book to seek out and read as it may give some readers, both old and young, some comfort and solace when times are hard. It's our recommendation for this year and beyond. We hope you will take this journey and that it will have an impact on your life like it did ours. 

    Wednesday, 8 September 2021

    Melissa Welliver - The Undying Tower (The Undying Trilogy) - Interview (Q&A) - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books #5

    Hello Everybody. It's time to talk YA fiction on Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books with the debut book by Melissa Welliver. The Undying Tower is the first book in an action-packed dystopian trilogy that will be published in October 2021 by Agora Books. In this interview, we get a fantastic insight into the story, the characters, and the author's road to being published. We hope you enjoy this post. 

    If you fancy finding out more or you just want to get ahead then please preorder HERE. There is a possibility that you might be able to get a signed copy and some special extras. Enjoy your week. 
    1.   Can you share something with us about the story that isn’t in the blurb?

    Great question! I think something major that is in there from the beginning is that Sadie is a Synaesthete – someone who has a particular cross-wiring of her brain so she associates smells and colours with certain emotions. She is an artist, and her synaesthesia informs her art just as much as her other senses. For the most part, the colour match-ups with the emotions are based on my own synaesthesia.


    2.    Why do you think we should read this book?

    If you’re missing the dystopian YA of the 2010s, but want something with a bit of a reboot, then you should absolutely read The Undying Tower! If that doesn’t persuade you, don’t listen to me, listen to Michael Grant, author of the Gone series: “In the spirit of The Hunger Games but deeper, more heartfelt, even profound in its examination of the downsides of eternal life. I loved The Undying Tower. Melissa Welliver has arrived on the scene and attention should be paid.” (I know, I’m still star-struck!)

    3.    The book is set in a dystopian world. What does the future look like for the characters in the book? 

    The future is bleak, I’m sad to say! The world has been ravaged by nuclear war, climate change disaster, and an over-population crisis. Throw into the mix that 5% of the population will never die from old age, and these issues only get worse. That said, the young heroes of the novel have good intensions and a will to do better than their forefathers, so I’m hopeful that things could get better one day (look out book 3!)

    4.    Is there an underlying message you would like readers to take from this story as they read the book?

    The major message is that if you have a voice, use it. The book really champions fighting for what’s right, especially when the world is against you.

    5.    The Undying Tower is the first book of a trilogy. Do you know how the story is going to develop across the other two books?

    While books 2 and 3 are yet to be written, I do have a plot outline for each, plus one for the overall arc of the trilogy as a whole. I’m learning a lot about myself as a writer throughout the publishing process, and those lessons are bound to affect those outlines a little! But on the whole, I know where the story ultimately needs to end up.

    6.    Do you have a favourite character in the book? If so, who is it and what makes them so special to you?

    I really want to be best friends with Rivers. She is the feisty right-hand-woman of our main character, Sadie, and she totally kicks butt. She also has a softer side that we see the edges of in book 1 and that I want to explore further in other books. Rivers always has your back, plus she’s pretty handy with a knife, so I definitely want her on my survival team!

    7.    If your book was to be made into a movie, which celebrities would you like to star in it?

    A film deal – the dream! The Undying Tower is set in the UK, so I’d love to see some British stalwarts like Patterson Joseph or Benedict Cumberbatch in there, perhaps as members of the resistance. That said, the Avalonia Zone (the new name for the British Isles) does own some overseas colonies, so there’s certainly room for some wonderful American or European actors. I’d like the younger roles to go to younger actors, perhaps even to an as-yet-unknown person – to give someone a big break like Agora Books has given me would be another dream come true!

    8.    Please could you tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer?

    I’m Melissa and I live in the North of England. Like most writers, I’ve always wanted to write, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. The publishing industry can be very opaque and that can make it difficult for new writers. In the end, I did a fair few courses for creative writing and slowly the idea for The Undying Tower came together. It’s been nine years of perseverance, rejections, ups and downs, but I’m finally here. Never give up!

    9.    If you had a soundtrack for this book, what would it be and why?

    I listened to a lot of film soundtracks when writing The Undying Tower, funnily enough. I think a big, dramatic score by John Williams is a perfect accompaniment to the story’s punchy themes and action scenes.

    10. What do you think is the main thing you have to get right when writing a book for Young Adults?

    Voice. With any age group this is important, but especially so with YA. We’re competing against video games, TikTok, Netflix – a whole array of distractions that seem bigger and better than reading. If you don’t nail that voice, your teen audience won’t want to follow your character for 300 pages on their adventure. Voice helps any story come alive.

    Monday, 6 September 2021

    The Best New Children's Book Picks - September 2021 - Post One - Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books


    Clare Povey - The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (2 Sept. 2021) - Paperback 

    The open door felt like an invitation, or a trap. Bastien wasn't sure which, but with no other choice, he stepped inside...and hoped he'd make it out again alive.

    Bastien Bonlivre is a boy with a big imagination, determined to finish the story his parents started, left to him in a red notebook. On the other side of Paris, bestselling author Olivier Odieux is struggling to complete his latest novel. Along with his villainous brothers, he is masterminding his greatest plot that will spread fear throughout the city and beyond.

    What connects these two stories is a dangerous secret, a hidden mystery and an unexpected race across Paris for the truth. Can Bastien and his friends Alice, Theo and Sami be brave enough to stop Olivier from stealing the ending they deserve?

    Yvette Fielding - The House in the Woods (The Ghost Hunter Chronicles, 1) - Published by Andersen Press (30 Sept. 2021) - Paperback 
    Stranger Things meets Point Horror in the first of a brilliant new series for readers aged 11+ from Yvette Fielding, British television's first lady of the paranormal and presenter of Most Haunted.

    When Clovis, Eve and Tom decide to play with a ouija board in an old abandoned house on Halloween, none of them foresees the horrors they’re about to unleash. What starts out as a bit of fun, soon transcends into something far more terrifying when a distressed and determined spirit follows them home. Before long the friends are caught up in a series of events beyond their wildest imaginings and their journey as ghost hunters begins . . .

    Ian Mark (Author), Louis Ghibault (Illustrator) - Monster Hunting For Beginners - Published by 
    Farshore (2 Sept. 2021) - Hardback 

    A monstrously funny new adventure series. Readers of 8+ and fans of Mega Monster and Shrek will adore the first in the brand new fantasy series from Irish debut author, Ian Mark

    Every hero has to start somewhere . . .

    Monster Hunting isn’t as easy as it looks. And Jack should know. Because an ogre has just appeared in his garden and tried to EAT HIS AUNT. (She was the winner of the World’s Worst Aunt competition, but that’s Not The Point).

    After (sort of accidentally) defeating the ogre, Jack finds himself apprenticed to a grumpy, 200-year-old monster hunter called Stoop and heading off to Cornwall, where more ogres are causing havoc.

    All he has are his wits, his catapult and a magical – sometimes unreliable – book called Monster Hunting for Beginners.
    Jack’s a bit worried he might not be the hero everyone’s waiting for. But then again, how many terrifying, bloodthirsty monsters can there really be?

    (Answer: ABSOLUTELY LOADS. And a bear called Humbert).

    A hilarious and accessible story, packed full of illustrations – that gives a twist to all your favourite fairytales and will change everything you thought you knew about monsters! Perfect for apprentice monster hunters aged 8 to 800.

    David Farr - The Book of Stolen Dreams - Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd (30 Sept. 2021) Hardback 

    An exhilarating, awe-inspiring debut from a master storyteller writing for children for the first time, perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Katherine Rundell and Eva Ibbotson.

    When Rachel and Robert are passed a stolen book by their librarian father, they have to go on the run and protect it at all costs. With their father captured and everyone hunting for the Book, they must uncover its secrets and track down the final, missing page.
    But the cruel and calculating Charles Malstain is on their trail. When the children discover the astonishing, magical truth about the Book, they resolve to do everything in their power to stop it falling into his hands. For if it does, he could rule forever.

    Step inside the pages of an immortal adventure and discover a truly unforgettable journey of wonder, courage and magic...

    Thursday, 2 September 2021

    Gattaldo - Fearless: The Story of Daphne Caruana Galizia - Interview (Q&A) - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books #4

    I'm delighted to welcome you to an interview with the debut author and illustrator Gattaldo. The book is based on a true-life story that is both brilliantly written and compassionately illustrated as a picture book. The author has brought the story to life so that children and adults will be inspired by it and completely absorb the storyline. It's a story about a female investigative journalist called Daphne Caruana Galizia who discovers the truth against all odds. The book was published by Otter-Barry Books last year (October 2020). 

    We hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as we enjoyed asking the questions. You can BUY the book HERE. You will not be disappointed as this is a great book to both read and discuss with others. 

    • Fearless: The Story of Daphne Caruana Galizia. What is the book actually about? Is it based on a true story?
    It’s the life story of a European investigative journalist who took on the mafia. She uncovered wrongdoing and she did it on her own, with little or no help, a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. The book takes us from Daphne’s childhood with her parents who taught her the importance of always doing what’s right, through her teens where she understood the meaning of protest, her early years as a journalist where she flourished in a largely male-dominated field, to her fight for justice and against corruption. It’s about the courage of ones convictions, about the quest for truth.   
    • What inspired you to tell this story and why?
    Daphne’s assassination in 2017 left a big hole in the hearts of many Maltese who valued her investigative journalism. To me, Daphne was also a personal friend and I found it extremely difficult to deal with her absence. My 7-year-old niece wanted to know more about Daphne, so I decided to turn my grief into something positive and share Daphne’s life and the importance of journalism with children through a picture book.  
    • What emotions do you want the reader to feel once they have finished reading the book?
    The book is a celebration of its protagonist, but it’s also an appreciation of journalism, a message to not be afraid of going against the grain, to fight for your convictions. Daphne Caruana Galizia was often alone in her quest. We’ve spoken at times about this and how it made her feel. It took nerve to continue uncovering wrongdoing after some of the attacks on her person and her family.  

    I want my readers to appreciate that there is no free choice without information. Journalism is one of the most important if not the most important component of democracy. I want children to be inspired by Daphne. Journalists like her are our heroes. They are role models we should emulate if we are to build a better world.  
    • How do you try and balance the writing with the images?
    This was my first picture book. Pictures and words must work together, complimenting rather than mirroring each other. I started writing while at the same time searching for the character’s appearance. It’s important to work with rough sketches while writing. Only once you’re happy with the way visuals and words work together, should you start to work up the illustration. Even then, you can expect the book to go through various modifications. In film, each scene is drawn in rudimentary sketches on loose cards so their order can be changed. It’s a good practice to use with picture books as well.   
    • Do you think it is important for an illustrator to have their own unique style?
    I certainly see advantages marketing-wise with having a unique style that’s unchanging, like a brand, so that readers familiar with your first book feel immediately at home with your second offering. There are however benefits to having a flexible hand, a style that fits each of the stories you animate. My publisher requested that I keep to the same style in my next books and it makes sense because they should feel like part of the same series. I don’t think that means they have to be absolutely identical though. I think each book benefits from having its own identity while still fitting in with the series.  
    • How much research did you do before you started the project? Did you find any surprises along the way?
    Although I knew my subject on a personal level, I knew very little about Daphne’s childhood. Her early years weren’t something I could research online or in libraries so the only way was to Interview family and friends. This required great sensitivity. Interviewing people who are grieving can be difficult and awkward. It was a journey that led to a closer relationship with Daphne’s family. I can’t think of having come across any surprises as such, but I do feel I got to know her better. I could see what made Daphne the strong person she was.  
    • What author/illustrator do you wish could be your mentor and why?
    My mentor for Fearless was the journalist and children’s author Juliet Rix (Travels With My Granny - Otter Barry Books) who was very generous with her time and advice. We’re currently collaborating on another children’s book. As a wish list, there are a couple of illustrators I would love to have as mentors. My first would be M. Sasek, but of course he died in 1980 so perhaps, French illustrator Thomas Baas would be a more feasible choice.  
    • What is the best way to use social media and illustration to create increased awareness?
    Every book is different and its promotion has to be tailor-made. Daphne’s story is real and still current and raw so I couldn’t promote it in the same way you’d do for another book. Amnesty and Reporters Without Borders’ endorsement was a great boost for the book. Regardless of whether Fearless was worthy of Daphne’s story, activists and people who hold Daphne and journalism to heart, were eager to promote the book on social media. But I also had to contend with a small amount of trolling, something I guess most children’s authors wouldn’t face. 

    I think most children’s authors realise very soon that publishers have very little time or money to do much for their book so they must work hard at it themselves. I found Twitter introduced me to reviewers, bookshop owners and journalists. Like any conversation it can’t be just about promoting the book though. 

    I’m not sure Facebook was much use. As to Instagram, I think I missed a trick by not making use of it. 

    When promoting the book online, an author must offer something useful rather than to simply repeat the the book’s USPs. My book’s website was also a vehicle to get children and their educators interested in journalism through informative articles aimed at children. I also wrote and designed a supplement which was taken up and published by a local newspaper. I’d love to develop the latter into a regular feature, but as with everything, I’d need to find the time and the finance for it. 
    • What other projects are you working on at the moment?
    When I first presented Fearless to publishers, the proposal was to have a series of similar non-fiction books, so I’m working on the next two. I’m also planning on writing something completely different - a children’s book that is funny and playful. That would give me the opportunity to experiment with a different style of illustration. Now that the Covid-19 restrictions are slowly lifting, Im also preparing for school visits and also looking forward to the publication of Fearless by Candlewick in the US in September. 
    • Do you prefer to write or illustrate?
    My background is in fine arts and illustration but I’ve discovered writing can be great fun too. I love the control that comes with doing both. I’ve still got a lot to learn in both idioms, and I’m not confident I’ve yet found my definitive style. I’ve started writing for children rather late in life and I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to get my work published.