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And now, it’s time to Chill

The mock-up for my latest book arrived! I was excited firstly, because I love getting surprises in the post and secondly, it took like, two and a half years to get to this point. Why so long? Well, there were a few reasons:

1) Working a full-time day job – this never helps when you you’re trying to write and illustrate a 32 page book.

2) Publishers wouldn’t buy it – due to the nature of it; a picture storybook incorporating a mindfulness exercise, no one knew what to do it, what category it fell under or how to market it. It took almost two years before I found an independent willing to pick it up and run with it.

3) Differences in opinion – the publisher, agent and I all had to agree on the final style, which we got to eventually after a bit of experimenting (even as we speak, the cover has changed entirely).

4) Working on another book – I was, and still am, writing a novel alongside this project (yep, crazy).

So you see, writing isn’t always a clear cut journey from A to B. It’s hard work, fraught with obstacles and self-doubt, and not for the faint hearted. But you will always know if it’s the right path for you, because nothing, but nothing will get in your way of delivering your story to the world!

*Chill with Lil will be published in Spring 2018 by Ragged Bears.

Illustration for my new book – Baby Brother

No.46 of 50 – At 3 months old, my baby brother resembled a giant pink marshmallow. There was no internet back then, so we weren’t sure how to fix it. Thankfully he has now grown into his head.

Illustration for my new book – Headbutt

No.45 of 50 – Our goat got sent away to a sheep farm for eating money out of the till. Every now and then we’d get a photo sent to us, of her headbutting the sheep.

Illustration for my new book – Headless Chicken

No.44 of 50 – If you are an animal lover, look away now! On Christmas day 1984, Grandma brought us a live chicken for dinner. She chopped its head off but it escaped, and she had to chase it round the garden to catch it. I thought headless chickens running around was a myth up till then.

Illustration for my new book – Onion Head

No.43 of 50 – I didn’t dare bring a friend back to meet my parents until my teens, and this was the first thing my mum said to her…

Illustration for my new book – Bezzies

No.33a of 50 – My little sister’s first ever best friend chewed gum like a ruminating cow and wore more make-up than Boy George. I never said ’cause she looked like she could have punched my lights out.

Illustration for my new book – Dad and Sparrow

No.42 of 50 – My little sister found a half dead baby sparrow in the alleyway and gave it to Dad. After a while, the story got round that he nursed it back to health and they ended up in the Coventry Evening Telegraph.

Illustration for my new book – Records

No.41 of 50 – I spent most weekends in Woolies, Our Price or HMV sifting through the records. Now and then I’d pull one out that looked interesting, in the hope that other people in the store would think me interesting for doing so.

Illustration for my new book – Preggars

No. 40 of 50 – Couldn’t believe it when Mum told us she was up the duff ’cause a) There were EIGHT years between my little sister and ‘it’ and b) It meant that Mum and Dad ‘DID’ ‘IT’! (Baaaaarrrf!!!)

Illustration for my new book – Birdtrapping

No. 39 of 50 – in the 70s, uncle showed me how to catch sparrows using the chippy’s bin full of scraps. It’s cruel when I look at it now, but back then I didn’t know any better, and neither did uncle. I think it’s what kids growing up in 50s China did for entertainment.