Sunday, 8 February 2015

Princess Daisy Book Launch and Children's Event...

To celebrate the publication of Princess Daisy & the Dragon & the Nincompoop Knights last Thursday, we held a book launch party at Pickled Pepper Books.

Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End, North London

We put up bespoke bunting, balloons, and baskets of goody bags along with an exhibition of original artwork and prints from the book.

Goody bags full of badges, bookmarks, lollipops and stickers

The Princess Daisy exhibition featuring original artwork and prints

Medieval bunting!

The evening was a great success and it was lovely to see friends, family, work colleagues and fellow authors and illustrators all having a lovely time.  

Kate Wilson and myself mid speeches

My wonderful niece Hannah who I based the character Princess Daisy on was on hand to help me sign the books:

Hannah on spelling duty!

Then two days later on Saturday morning it was time for the premier children's event for Princess Daisy!

It was another shop full!  This time filled with lots of children keen to hear the story and to join in with some dragon drawing and crown/tiara making which they really got stuck into:

Settling in ready for storytelling and dragon drawing

Some Shifty McGifty fans travelled afar too to hear the first book reading and to meet the beautiful, especially hand-made baby dragon!

Big Shifty & Sam fan Amelia, now a big Dragon fan!

Sienna and Monet making a Dragon sandwich!

A wonderful supporter of my work, Jo Byatt

A big thank you to Pickled Pepper Books and all the parents and children who came along on Saturday.

It's been a wonderful start for the book and I have had lots of tweets and photos of Princess Daisy on book store shelves from independent shops to WHSmith and Waterstones:

Two happy customers in WHSmith

Waterstones in Doncaster

I think my favourite tweet has to be from a lady who's 3 year old was inspired by the story to make their own Playmobil Princess Daisy character riding on her cow - how fab !:

It's so lovely to see that the book has inspired readers already and has captured the imaginations of children around the UK.

I will be updating the blog soon with some exciting activity sheets so keep a look out for more Princess Daisy, the Dragon and those Nincompoop Knights very soon!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The Birth of a Baby Dragon!

Today is a big day for me as my first self-penned picture book and a very personal project 'Princess Daisy and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights' is published today.

I'd like to take this opportunity to describe how the book came to fruition from a little idea to a big, bold, pink picture book!

I absolutely love all things fairy tale and have always dreamed of creating my own fairy tale world one day. So it was a real thrill when Kate from Nosy Crow called me a couple of years ago to say that she liked my idea for a little fairy tale story that I had emailed to her.

From a little idea originally entitled 'The Knitted Knight' inspired by the image of a knight wearing knitted armour which was in turn inspired by a slot on Anneka Rice's Radio 2 show called 'Knight in Shiny Pyjamas' (don't ask – inspiration comes in all forms!) we have created a lovely, funny fairy tale that I hope will inspire and entertain new generations of fairy tale lovers.

The very first sketch of the 'Knitted Knight.'

Developing the story, tweaking the plot details and designing fresh, appealing characters took quite a long time but the past couple of years has been really fun sketching, writing, meeting and collaborating with the Nosy Crow team.  Princess Daisy's editor Louise has really helped me to get the best from my initial idea and guided me with my first written text and designer Steph has been very generous with her gold foil and helped make the book look really special.

Initial layout ideas from my sketchbook.
Nincompoop Knight character development

The book has changed quite a lot from its inception with various ideas for endings (one involving the Dragon wearing a 'onesie' which didn't make the final cut!) and originally the story was in prose, but we felt that it would be a more fun and entertaining book if we made it a really fun rhyming tale.

Princess Daisy character development

Once the book was finished and sent off to the printers it was time for a glass (bottle) of vino then on to plan a bit of marketing and publicity which is one of my favourite parts of the book publishing process.

I designed a book trailer, bookmarks, badges, bunting, stickers and postcards all ready for the launch this evening.

Watch the book trailer HERE

A still from the book trailer.
A very pink, very spotty goody bag!

Badge making - my new favourite hobby.

I was really excited to be able to create a lovely window display in Pickled Pepper Books, the venue for the books exhibition, launch party and first children's event this Saturday where I will be reading the book with ALL the voices, drawing some dragons and doing some crafty crown-making!

Part of the window display at Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End, London.

The piece de resistance is the real life Baby Dragon which is going to accompany me to all of my school and festival events!  Of course she isn't a REAL dragon, but for the children who I read to, the Baby Dragon will come to life and will be a real highlight for them.  I can't wait to see their faces when I introduce them to this super cute creation! 

Baby Dragon Puppet Design
My lovely mum looking after the Dragon
I would like to thank everyone at Nosy Crow for helping me to create such a fun book, it really has been a wonderfully collaborative effort.  Also thank you to my fantastic family and friends for their ongoing support.

I hope that everyone who reads Princess Daisy will enjoy it and have a good giggle as they read the very silly antics of the Nincompoop Knights!