Meet my character – Alfie

Yuck Said The Yak COVER for AlexAlice Hemming, fellow Maverick author and writer of Bibble and the Bubbles, invited me to take part in a character blog tour. Here’s a little bit about Alfie, the lead character in my forthcoming picture book, Yuck said the Yak.

1. What’s your character’s name? Are they a fictional or historical person?

My character is a little boy called Alfie. He’s fictional but is named after my nephew.

2. When and where is the story set?

The story is set in the present day at Alfie’s house.

3. What should we know about him/her?

Alfie is imaginative, friendly and loves cooking.

4. What is their main conflict? What messes up their life?

One day a yak comes to stay. But he’s a very rude yak and doesn’t like anything that Alfie offers him.

5. What is their personal goal?

Alfie wants to find out what the yak likes to eat.

Alfie Yuck said the Yak6. What is the book’s working title? Can we read more about it?

The book’s title is Yuck said the Yak.

7. When will it be published?

It will be published on the 28th of September 2014.

Now over to fellow Maverick author, Steve Howson, who will be publishing his answers next Monday.

Welcome to the Writing Process: An Author/Illustrator Blog Tour

Fellow Scattered Author (and illustrator), Teresa Flavin, invited me to share a bit about my writing and illustrating process as part of the ‘Welcome to the Writing Process: An Author/Illustrator Blog Tour’. Check out Teresa’s blog here!

What am I currently working on?

I am finishing the final edits on my next picture book, PIRATES DON’T DRIVE DIGGERS. It’s a rhyming picture book, so it’s taken a lot of work to get it shipshape. I have had to rewrite my paper at least a dozen times.

I’m also working on a novel for 9-12s involving talking cats, pizzas and water witches.

Finally, I’m getting ready for the release of my first picture book, YUCK SAID THE YAK, in September.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A tricky question! My picture books tend to be wacky and funny (I hope!). I like to write about unusual characters, so you are much more likely to find a yak or a porcupine in my books than a bunny or a bear.

Why do I write what I write?

I love children’s books and always have, but I only started writing picture books after learning about them on a writing for children class at City Lit (before that I’d always thought you needed to be able to illustrate as well as write). I have two young sons and I love reading with them and seeing them enjoy stories.

How does my writing and illustrating process work?

It often starts with an idea or a title just popping into my head. I love wordplay and rhymes. I also like to think about the sorts of things that pre-school children can identify with, so I often get ideas from my own children or others when I take my sons to toddler group. I keep a notebook just for picture book ideas and make sure I write EVERYTHING down so I don’t forget anything. Once I’ve decided which idea I’m going to work on, I do a big brainstorm before planning out a dummy of my story. When I’ve finished the first draft, I usually run it past my critique group and rework it a couple of times before it goes out to my editor.

Once the text is all finished, my lovely publisher Maverick and I decide on an illustrator. For YUCK SAID THE YAK, I teamed up with the fantastically talented Emma Levey, who somehow managed to illustrate my yak exactly as I had imagined him.