Thank you for asking me along, Big Book Little Book!
For this stop on my blog tour I want to share my five very best moments in making my latest book, Dylan the Doctor. 1. The best moment was doing the sketch that started it all.
When my youngest son was born we bought a stripy sausage dog toy for one of his older brothers to give him as a present. This sowed the seed of an idea for a stripy dog character and I did this sketch. I thought there was something special about him.
That was 8 years ago. These things take time! 2. Another special moment was when we found his name.
Naming a character is tricky, it either comes straight away or it’s a struggle. Dylan was a struggle. It took months of searching, going through lists of names, boring all my friends stupid as I tested them out and rejected their ideas. It was harder than naming my three boys. In fact I ended up with the name I’ve given two of my children. Admittedly it was the second name of my oldest, we had to use it again by the time we got to our third, the one who was given the sausage dog. 3. I had an idea of what I wanted Dylan’s character to be like from the sketch but I had to think of what sort of world he would live in.
Originally I wrote a story for him in which he had a pet boy, here’s a sketch from it.
But that all changed when I took the story to my wonderful editor, Alison Green of Alison Green Books. She suggested that Dylan could be the star in a series of adventures- not just the one book.
For this he would need a gang!
Again it took a lot of searching and sketching to find his best friends. It was another special moment when I felt I had found them all. Here they are: Purple Puss, Jolly Otter and Titchy Chick. Oh, and there’s Dotty Bug as well who is there on every page to encourage everyone to join in.
4. I think one of the best moments in making a picture book is when I’m sent the first copy and I hold it in my hands.
What was once just an idea that became a sketch now becomes a real object with a life of its own. It will sit patiently on a library or bookshop shelf waiting its turn to be shared.
5. And sometimes it takes on a life beyond the book.
I had a very talented friend of mine, Mia Underwood make me a felt toy of Dylan. Here is Dylan in three dimensions:
It was a very special moment to see him come to life. And even more so to hear soon afterwards that Brown Bag, the animation company who made Octonauts, wanted to make a series of Dylan animations.
My youngest son, Dylan, is nine now. Sometimes it takes a while for an idea to grow and develop. You have to be patient and persevere- just make sure you enjoy the special moments along the way! Guest post by Guy Parker Rees
Dylan the Doctor was published on the 4th of August by Scholastic Press.