I’ve always loved writing. For me, putting my thoughts into words and writing them down in one form or another is a form of meditation. It helps me to formulate my plans and make sense of my feelings. For as long as I can remember, I’ve written poetry and short stories. I’ve written for magazines, been an technical author and been an editor for club publications. Writing (or typing) is second nature to me so I guess it was always inevitable that I would publish in book form one day.
I’ve also always doodled… as soon as I was given a set of pencils as a girl I’d set about drawing until my little heart was content. My parents would be proudly presented with one of my dubious artworks to be appropriately cosseted over and displayed. Bless them, they still have some of my real life studies framed and displayed in their home.
Cartoon illustrations came later when I discovered photoshop and the delights of digital artwork and I soon developed my own style
So, it was obvious to me that when I decided to publish my own stories that I’d written for my son that I’d illustrate them too. Some may argue that finding another professional illustrator would have been the smarter thing to do but I have to admit to being a major control freak. When I write, I see the images in my head and often sketch them onto paper whilst writing and that’s how it all begins. I’m a creative being and love the feeling of accomplishment from a project born in my own mind that comes to fruition.
Anyway, that’s the background into why I write and illustrate my own books but the reason for these particular children’s books is much simpler. My son. I adopted him when he was 5 years old from the care system and he came in and took over my world, my life and my thought processes. My initial personal writings became about and for him. His insights and thought processes fascinate me and became the perfect inspiration. Since the day he moved into my home, I would read to him every night. He has a bookcase filled with books now but the concept of books and reading was very new and unfamiliar to him when we started out. He would lie in bed with a face filled with wonder as the words leapt off of the pages of the book and into his imagination.
Those moments each evening as I read to him are pure magic. They’re my favourite time of the day. Often, I would make up stories to read to him instead. These stories would be way more personal to him and would recognise some of the concepts he was trying to understand such as how our family was made and what mum’s do, exactly. He knows that Alien Andy is him as a fictional character and he loves that (although he wishes he had alien antenna too). He is terrifically excited to see his character in a real book.