Beachy Books Author Interview – Thingamanose Author/Illustrator Lynne Hudson

Beachy Books publisher, Philip Bell, interviewed his recently signed author/illustrator Lynne Hudson on their newly rebranded traditional imprint, about her longer children’s book called Thingamanose, her writing process and how she got into illustrating.

Bold text (Philip), plain text (Lynne)…

Do you write full time?

I work part time at a hospital to bring in money while I work on my writing and drawing.

How did you get into writing and illustrating?

Well, I was actually applying for a job and I had to write a cover letter, and I just sat down writing these cover letters and I just really enjoyed it. (At this point, Lynne’s cat, Tiger enters the room and she shoos it out! -Ed) So, I thought I would have a go at writing a story, because I never really thought that I could write anything before. I just sat down and started writing things. I think the first things I wrote were pretty rubbish then I started writing things that were ok, so I sent them off to the Literary Consultancy for them to edit for me and they gave me a lot or really positive feedback. Things went from there really. The first book I had published was called Sniff by Hogs Back Books and then they asked me to illustrate one of their other books called Big Dog and Squiz. I’ve just been plodding on from then.

How long have you been writing and illustrating for?

I’ve have been writing for about 10 years, but I have been doing the illustrations for quite a long time. I trained as a Potter at Bath Academy of Art and when I left there, I taught night classes for a few years, but it wasn’t really me. But my pots were very plain pots that were covered in illustrations, and I realised that that was the part I really liked — the design and decoration on the pots. And then I cut out making the pots and concentrated on illustration.

I noticed when you sent your first submission, I really loved your illustrative, cartoon style. Is that something you are particularly into, or was it something that just came out and became your style?

I think it has basically been my style, but I did do a correspondence course with the College of Cartoon Art, that was over about a year, the professional cartoonist Dave Fellows, who was the chap that mentored me, sort of pushed me in the way or children’s illustration as he said that it was the best thing for my style of drawing. Sadly, he passed away in 2003, but I fondly remember he especially liked my caricatures of soap characters like Dot Cotton [see below].

So, what would you say is the difference between an artist that can do one set scene, and an illustrator of a children’s book? What skills do you think are needed for children’s book illustration and even comics?

I think probably, I observe people and go around and have a little sketch book and go into town sometimes or other places and sketch people. I think you get a feel for how people are really, and their character.

I saw Shirley Hughes on the BBC 4 documentary What Do Artists Do All Day? Have you seen that? She sits in playgrounds observing people and drawing in her sketch book – actually, maybe that sounds a bit weird… *laughs*

*laughs* That’s basically what I do!

I see so much movement in your illustrations. It’s crazy really, it’s only a static image but yet there’s so much movement in it. I always like that kind of feeling. I think people are quite fascinated by the process and think it’s magic.

Yeah, *laughs* there is quite a lot of imagination goes in it, but I am also a bit of a people watcher.

So, does what inspires you to write and draw? What is your muse?

I think things just seem to jump into my head really. For this story, I was just walking into town one day and a phrase just popped into my head. Something about a girl called Rose, picking her nose. I just started writing it down and it became ‘Don’t Pick Your Nose Rose!’ (which was the original name of the story when Lynne submitted it to Beachy Books – Ed). I didn’t really know where it was going to go at first, it just kind of evolved as I sat down at the computer and wrote and built up the idea.

Rose is quite a feisty heroine in the Thingamanose story. What’s the inspiration behind her?

I think it’s probably me, actually.  *laughs* I have always been a bit of a nose picker! *laughs*

I was afraid to ask if you picked your nose! *laughs*

Yeah, quite a lot of my old school friends have commented about that! 

Going back to my inspiration from Rose, I think that she also came from having quite strict parents, who just kind of dismiss things you say, things like that. At work, quite a lot of the doctors are very dismissive and that really gets my back up. They don’t believe what you’re saying half the time.

So, are saying that your writing process is quite cathartic? *laughs*

*laughs* Just a bit, sometimes. I’m quite rebellious as well, like Rose! 

So, from Rose picking her nose… how did Thingamanose pop into your head? *laughs*

I think it’s probably just something that just popped into my head literally. I think it was just something that happened when I was sat down writing. I kind of go into my own subconscious; in my head it’s a video and I write down the film in my head. It’s like dreaming or daydreaming really. You are sat there writing but you are daydreaming at the same time and all these weird things just come out!

*laughs* I love it. That’s great! So, obviously when I read your story it was very funny. So, what do you enjoy about humorous writing? Is that your default writing style, you go for something funny?

I suppose so. I sometimes think it’s quite serious really, but I’m quite happy people think it’s funny. I think it’s just the way I am really.

So, do you mean Thingamanose is more of a serious story than a humorous one?

I can’t really put my finger on what it is. I think that a lot of people are laugh when they read it, but I think I’s quite serious *laughs*

*laughs* Erm, that’s quite interesting to hear that.

When I had it [the early draft] edited, the comments said it was quite revolting at some points! *laughs*

So, the early drafts were edited by the literacy consultancy?

Yeah, I sent that off last year for them to do it, but it’s obviously now changed quite a bit since then editing with Beachy Books.

And talking of Beachy Books, why did you decide to send your story to us?

They [The Literary Consultancy] did say it was a longer picture book and they weren’t sure what kind of genre it would fit into, because it sort of sits between a picture book and a chapter book. I used to get this quarterly magazine called Carousel and I noticed they were advertising some books and it mentioned that it filled the gap between the picture book and chapter book market, so I went on the computer and looked if they were taking any submissions and they weren’t, so after some research on the computer I came across your blog post [https://beachybooks.com/bridging-the-gap-longer-picture-books] about longer picture books and I emailed you and sent you off a manuscript, just by chance really.

I remember writing that blog it was quite a long time ago now and it was inspired by my frustration of how my daughter, who used to really like picture books, would end up feeling as if she could not read them, as they were associated with a much younger audience. She is a teenager now but still appreciates picture books, but at school she would be teased by other children for choosing to read a picture book when they were reading longer story books with little or no illustrations, which she wasn’t really inspired by in the same way. I also remember that feeling as a child of how wonderful picture books and comics were compared to books full of text. I love them now of course, all books.

Thingamanose is written in rhyme. Is that a writing style you enjoy?

Yeah, I think it comes a bit more naturally to me than prose, but it takes a lot longer to write. I just feel more comfortable with rhyme.

Do you have a favourite children’s book?

My favourite is Dr Seuss. You can probably see that from what I write. I love the Lorax with its environmental message. From childhood, I used to really love the Miffy books, the style and the simplicity.

Have you got any inspiring advice for budding writers or illustrators?

My advice is just to try it. Don’t think, ‘Oh, I’m not a writer…’. You never know until you try! It was when I enjoyed it, trying and trying and keeping at it. It was how I developed my own style and got better and better. With drawing, it’s the same really. Just pick up the pencil and have a go. My grandma was a painter and I used to sit next to her as a little kid. She used to give me old envelopes and a biro and I used to just sit there doodling all the time.

Is there a message in Thingamanose?

The story is just about parents listening to their children and not dismissing what they say. If they’ve got problems or a niggle then listen to them, don’t brush them off. The frustration of people in power just not listening to the small people.

Thank you Lynne Hudson!

Philip Bell would like to thank Lynne Hudson for her time in the interview. If you like the sound of Lynne’s writing and want to see her ilustrations, you can read more about the book, take a peek inside and buy a copy to support the author and publisher here: Thingamanose.

Publishing a Children’s Poetry Book

Cover - Grandma's Roller Skates and Other Silly Poems by David A Ballard ISBN 9781999728304

Beachy Books started publishing children’s books so I knew it wouldn’t be long before I published other people’s books. A song writer and poet, David A Ballard, came to me with his rhyming poems for children and asked if I could help him get it published. His friend Christian Hennessy illustrates the book and has helped promote the book. The pair had one of Waterstone’s most successful book signings earlier in the year and the book is selling well.

The book is called Grandma’s Roller Skates and Other Silly Poems and is available to browse on our website.

Press cutting from IW County Press about the Grandma’s Roller Skates Waterstone’s book signing

Press cutting on launch of Grandma’s Roller Skates

 

Big Repeat Order of Fairyland Fairytales

Last year I created and published a book called Fairyland Fairytales, which was a book commissioned by a lady from a Shanklin tearoom who wanted to compile a book of fairy stories written by children. She wanted the book for sale in her tea room and for all profits from the book to go to a charity of her choice each year.

I’m happy to report that another 100 copies of the book have been ordered for sale this year! This is the third book order now so it’s lovely to see a book completely selling out and being reordered and doubly satisfying when it’s for charity.

Fairyland Fairytales – all written by children!

Fairyland Fairytales Blog Featured Image

Beachy Books is very proud to announce we have just published a big, bright, magical book called Fairyland Fairytales that contains loads of stories about fairies all written by children.

Fairyland Fairytales written by children - Book Cover

The book was commissioned by Pat Whybrow of The Old Thatch Teashop in Shanklin, Isle of Wight. She wanted us to create a book of stories written by children who visit her teashop and fairy garden, with the aim of donating all profits to a charity close to her heart called Children with Cancer UK.

Fairyland Fairytales written by children - Interior Example Pages

The book is one of our most complex in design, with the children’s stories arranged over classic fairy art. The writers ranged from children of only 3 (with some help from their families) to teenagers, and stories of only a few lines to longer fairy tales and poems, so there’s something for everyone.

Fairyland Fairytales is priced at £10 and is ONLY available direct in person from The Old Thatch Teashop in Shanklin, Isle of Wight or can be ordered from their website.

All profits go direct to Children with Cancer UK.

Children with Cancer UK Logo

 

Our Award Winning Jack and Boo Children’s Books

Beachy Books Jack and Boo Books Blog Featured Image

We published our own children’s books!

Children’s books for ages 3-7 or anybody who loves good picture books. Click on the images for more information:

Jack and Boo's Dinosaur Island Link Cover ImageTitle: Jack and Boo’s Dinosaur Island

Publication: 25th October 2013

RRP: £5.99

Age: 3-7 years

Find out more!

Jack and Boo's Snowy Day Link Cover ImageTitle: Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day

Publication: 3rd October 2011

RRP: £5.99

Age: 3-7 years

Find out more!

Jack and Boo's Wild Wood Link Cover Image

Title: Jack and Boo’s Wild Wood

Publication: 1st June 2011

RRP: £5.99

Age: 3-7 years

Find out more!

Jack and Boo's Bucket of Treasures Link Cover Image

Title: Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures

Publication: 24th July 2009

RRP: £5.99

Age: 3-7 years

Find out more!

 

First look at our new children’s book – Jack and Boo’s Dinosaur Island – Beachy Book Trailer

Jack and Boo are back in their BIGGEST adventure yet…first look book-trailer for our children’s book… with voiceover from Peter Serafinowicz and music by a musical genius called Dan O’Neill.

The book will be available to buy at various stockists on Isle of Wight and the mainland and also on with on-line retailers by mid-November 2013! The perfect Christmas gift this Christmas 2013!

Read more information about Jack and Boo’s Dinosaur Island.

Roar!

The Book of Bedtime Stories

“These are brilliant stories which remind us that there is real talent, invention and creativity amongst readers and contributors to Mumsnet and Gransnet. I really enjoyed reading and selecting these funny, clever stories.” ~ Michael Rosen

bedtime at the lighthouse circle 2I’m a published children’s author! Whoop! You know, “properly”, “traditionally”, “proper” (and any other terms people refer to)  published author. Mumsnet and Gransnet – The Book of Bedtime Stories published by Walker Children’s Books is now out for sale (3rd October 2013) and what a gorgeous hardback book it is, filled with 10 winning children’s stories (including mine – me being the only bloke-man-dad to win!?) whittled down by walker/mumsnet/gransnet to 20, then former children’s laureate Michael Rosen, chose the final 10 published stories, which are all beautifully illustrated by 10 commissioned debut illustrators! And to think, the competition all started here.

“The 10 winning stories are a real treat to read, and we’re confident that The Mumsnet Book of Bedtime Stories will be enjoyed by grandparents, parents and children for years to come.” ~ Justine Roberts, Mumsnet co-founder

I received my author copy from Walker Books yesterday and I proudly read it on the train on the way up to London for the launch party, holding it up in the hope that all the other commuters would notice. Sadly they were all too busy watching films on i-p-a-d-s. You cannot beat a real book and this book is the perfect size, not too big to hold up, laying in bed next to a child, and not so heavy it will bruise if you drop it on your head when you nod off after hours of reading—not that any of the stories are dull! The 10 stories are all gripping and fun and atmospheric and touch on many aspects of childhood that I hope a parent and child will identify with. I hope the book will become a modern classic and be on every child’s Christmas list!

The Book of Bedtime Stories cover

And to the stories, of which there are 10, mine called “Bedtime at the Lighthouse”, a story based on a time my children couldn’t sleep during an exciting stay over with their grandma (nana) at her home under the real lighthouse at Portland Bill. More on the story here. Bedtime at the Lighthouse is illustrated by the incredibly talented (I met her at the party and she’s brill) Joanne Young (thanks to her for the use of her image above) and I think her images add so much brooding atmosphere, scene setting and texture to my story, so much so, you’ll feel you could be under the lighthouse, watching a boat, rising and falling in the swell of the sea, as a rescue helicopter swoops overhead, chased by the passing light from the lighthouse…

All the writers and stories are:

  • Polly the Jumping Cow by Jools Abrams-Humphries
  • Bedtime at the Lighthouse by Philip Bell
  • Time for Bed by Michelle Eckhaus
  • The Night Thief and the Moon by Katherine Latham
  • A Parcel for Theo by Claire McCauley
  • Princess Imogen’s Independent Day by Christine O’Neill
  • The Dancing Bear by Suzy Robinson
  • The Sheriff of Rusty Nail by Sophie Wills
  • Celeste Who Sang to the Stars by Kate Wilson
  • Allie to the Rescue by Helen Yendall

I met all the writers, and most of the illustrators, who contributed to The Book of Bedtime Stories last night and we dashed about excitedly getting each other to sign our copies – perhaps one day they will be worth something? No! Never! They’re priceless! It was also inspiring to meet top people at Walker and Mumsnet and Gransnet and I’d like to thank them all (and Michael Rosen) for the opportunity and for choosing my story. I hope this is the start of a new phase in my writing career. Well, I can hope can’t I?

I hope you enjoy Bedtime at the Lighthouse and all the other stories in The Book of Bedtime Stories, being read soon, in a bed near you. x

“A story shared at bedtime prepares a child for life. So, cuddle up with this book and get reading.” ~ Michael Rosen

Children’s Winter Snow Book – Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day

Jack and Boo's Snowy Day Copyright 2009-2012 Philip Bell and Eleanor Bell

Our winter snow children’s book called Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day follows the adventures of two children, Jack and Boo, as they explore outside on a snowy day, playing, imagining and spotting how wildlife survives the winter. Snowball fights, snowmen, snow angels and more! Also includes wildlife spotter and snowy day children’s activities. Suitable for ages 2-7 and sure to inspire a child to want to play and learn in nature.

But don’t take our word for it. Take a peek inside our book then check out these reviews of Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day:

Nice new review from Pippa and her little pre-school boy who loved Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day.

Blogger Mrs C read Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day to little Miss C and then a few days later it really snowed! Read her lovely review here.

Lovely review from a dad and daughter ReadItDaddy.

Some warming winter reviews on Amazon from a readers.

The Bookseller’s We Love This Book quite literally LOVED our book.

We have a list of stockists that include bookshops and the big on-line retailers, but if you want to support an indie bookshop that does pay it’s tax in the UK and for every book ordered a tree is planted check out the brilliantly independent Beetroot Books.

If you live on Isle of Wight you can buy it in person at the following locations:

Fab indie bookshop – Babushka Books – 3 Carter Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 7HR. Tel: 01983 864114

The big bookshop who support local authors – Waterstones Newport – 118 High Street, Newport, Isle Of Wight, PO30 1TP. Tel:  01983 527927

Lovely walk to it and great scones! – National Trust – The Needles Old Battery – West High Down, Alum Bay, PO39 0JH. Tel: 01983 754772

The kids can go in a boat in the museum – The Classic Boat Museum – Albany Road, East Cowes, Isle of Wight PO32 6AA. Tel: 01983 290006

All made on the Island – Made On The Isle of Wight – Bullen Mead, Bullen Road, Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 1QE. Tel: 01983 564949

Fab food, cafe and books – Briddlesford Lodge Farm Shop – Briddlesford Road, Wootton, Isle of Wight, PO33 4RY. Tel: 01983 884650

If you do have a problem getting Jack and Boo’s Snowy Day then please contact us direct as we always have signed stock we can send!

Merry Shopping from Jack and Boo!