20 October 2013

A Story About a Story About a Squirrel called Alfie and Brighton Pavilion Gardens

Of all the blog posts that would be difficult to write, this is right up there, out of my comfort zone and totally making me squirm inside. Why? Because I'm writing my own story, about my own book, written for own niece and illustrated by own aunt.  So there you see, it's easy to promote what other people are up to - not so easy when it comes to your own back yard, or Pavilion Gardens in this instance.
Brighton Pavilion Gardens

It all started with a commission from my brother for a book for his 3 year old daughter Olivia.  From there I just had to come up with an idea and it didn't take me long to decide on a story about squirrels for the content. During daily walks through St James' Park in London and Brighton Pavilion Gardens I loved watching the busy-ness of squirrels - approaching people for nuts, jumping through trees and generally scurrying around.  

Alfie the Squirrel
It was at this point at a family meal a chance conversation led to my aunt offering to produce some watercolour illustrations for me.  So, with that, I had the commission, a hero, an artist and now all I needed was a story.

Then one day in October, while walking through Brighton Pavilion Gardens I noticed that the grass had gone.  Well, I thought, what would Alfie make of this (because he now had a name).

So, I took some photos, to accompany the story and started to write the tale for Alfie, I mean Olivia.  The story completed, I received some watercolour illustrations from my aunt Joy, which were fantastic and I was delighted.

Further good fortune meant that by chance I happened to be walking through the Pavilion gardens at the very time the men on the quad tractor came to lay a new lawn, giving me the perfect opportunity to take more photos.

Finally, I needed to work out how to put it all together and a friend at Brighton Writers recommended Blurb to me.  I found out I could design the layout myself and publish online.

After a few proto-types, one that has already gone to Olivia for preview.






As well as a fantastic review by the cutie-pie Georgina in Cardiff, the final draft is here.























So here it is, a story written with love for my niece Olivia, with a dedication to my three beloveds, Olivia, Max and India and with much gratitude to my aunt Joy.  Check it out below or click here for the iPad version, Alfie the Squirrel.  I hope you like it.