I love reading my stories in school and last week was a busy one because it was World Book Day, which seems to last all week, with some children dressing up as their favourite characters!
Reading about Grandma’s daft adventures gives me the opportunity to voice the characters humorously and dress up in a messy red wig and colourful hats (that I borrow from my kind husband). One of the highlights is always the quiz at the end of the story and the sea of hands that go up shows me who’s been listening carefully – and who’s been snoozing!
I am often amazed by the thoughtfulness that goes into the Question and Answer session that follows, with young children asking about the writing process: how long it takes me to write a story and how long before a raw manuscript hits the big Amazon sales counter. Where do I get my ideas from and who illustrates the books? Well, I am lucky because I love writing and find my imagination flies away with me. I write with a pen on paper and just let the ideas take shape in my mind before scribbling away. I can write a story in a day or perhaps in three half-day sittings in my kitchen. (If anyone tries to talk to me when I’m writing they don’t get very far!)
Then I go to the computer and type it up. After this comes lots of re-reads and edits, spelling-corrections and perhaps a joke-swap or one added in. I am grateful to Claire, who lays my words out into pages and we both decide together where pictures need to go. My illustrator, Mike, is really clever…when I send him a list of pictures he seems to know exactly what to do to make the scenes come alive and the characters look really funny.
I suppose it takes about four or five months from start to finish, when that first new book plops through my letterbox and I eagerly tear open the brown envelope from Amazon or IngramSpark to see what it looks like for the first time. There may be a few mistakes that Claire and I had missed and then the file has to be corrected, which means another impatient wait for the postman to deliver copy number two! Hopefully this process soon will be completed for my next book, and it will be on sale in May. I’m so excited to see what it looks like and how Mike’s fabulous pictures look. I will let you know when the story is about to go on sale.
I hope you will write a lovely review if you buy the book on Amazon. You can also order my books at your local bookstore and please write to me, too, via the website, to let me know if you enjoy them – I would love to hear from you. You can share your jokes with me if you like…you never know, they might appear in a future Grandma book!