Monday, 8 September 2014

A peek behind-the-scenes of 'The Wonder'

Excitingly, my first picture book The Wonder is being published by Templar on the 1st of October this year. It's a very, very special book to me and I wanted to share some of the behind-the-scenes background with you. ESPECIALLY because some truly amazing people helped shape the story and the book could never have existed without them.

First of all, you need to know that it was the wonderful Mike Jolley and Libby Hamilton at Templar who worked their magic on the story.

Mike spotted this early rough sketch of our protagonist, The Daydreamer...



We both warmed to him, and with Mike's encouragement he went through various incarnations... 




Until, finally, he became this...




Which became this.




Like the small boy in the story, I grew up in a tiny town and was lucky enough to go to a wonderful primary school. (I went back as part of the research for this book and realised just how early our emotional landscape starts to be shaped). As a child I was always a bit of an outsider, something of a daydreamer, but luckily I could escape into my imagination - just like the little boy in The Wonder

Luckier still, I was at a school which encouraged and nurtured creativity. It's interesting that, as soon as you mention 'school' in a children's book, our natural response is a collective sigh and an expectation of boring. But, in this story, we loved subverting this expectation - the boy has a fantastical adventure at school - when he's given the space and encouragement to be himself. 

Working on his fantastical adventures was the best bit...



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