My First Book | Hornbeam Hollow: Hunt for the Halloween Pumpkin
I’ve been illustrating books and greetings cards for my clients for a long time – and I’ve really enjoyed creating illustrations based around the stories written by others, but I’ve always wanted to write and illustrate my own book. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for many years.
Last year, nearly a year ago as I write this, I finally had a quiet day and was able to sit down with my Mac and throw some words down and see where it went. To my surprise, the process of writing my book seemed to flow, and within an hour, I’d written my story. I already had the characters in mind, but the plot and the setting were not planned at all (other than having a Halloween theme).
As I’m dyslexic, I sent my book off to my fantastic editor who did a great job spotting any little errors that I’d made, and before long the manuscript was finalised and ready for me to begin the process of illustrating the pages. I won’t cover the process here as illustrating and designing a book is a long and drawn out (no pun intended) process that can take many months.
In late summer of 2018, I began working on the pictures. I usually work on many roughs before illustrating the final images, but for my book, much like with the story, I went with the flow and illustrated most of them without any planning, and all seemed to go well until I decided to change the trim size of the book, which rendered the illustrations useless as they wouldn’t fit. Obviously, a change in the size of the book is something that is best avoided once illustrating has begun, but I wanted to change the size of the book, so I did, and I began re-illustrating some of the illustrations (not all, thankfully as not every image is full-page).
After months and months of working on the pictures and editing them to make them ‘book ready,’ it was time for the book to go into publication. Thankfully the publication process is nearly complete – in fact, within the next hour I’m picking up my author copies of the ‘second print run’ – yes, you read that correctly, the book is already onto its second printing due to advance sales!
The title of the book is Hornbeam Hollow: Hunt for the Halloween Pumpkin. The book is hopefully going to be part of a series that all focus on a woodland named Hornbeam Hollow. This enchanted woodland is home to many types of critters, some from nature, as well as some more ethereal characters. Each book will be full of adventure, as well as seasonal celebrations, such as Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas!
It’s extremely important to me to be happy with a product that I create. Unlike many modern books, I have taken a different approach to produce my own. It may not be noticeable at first, but the materials used to print the book are of a much higher quality than typically seen. Books printed by Amazon, for example, are generally very thin and quite frankly, not that nice. I’ve also illustrated the book by hand, and there are no digital illustrations, which was important to keep it traditional. I’ve done this because I wanted my book to represent those that I grew up loving, but are not seen very much today.
Hornbeam Hollow: Hunt for the Halloween Pumpkin will be available from all good book shops at an RRP of £6.99 (US $8.99), and online retailers, such as Waterstones, Foyles, and many independent stores and libraries. If you decide to purchase a copy, I’d encourage you to support local bookshops when and where possible, as selling books in this day and age is a struggle for small retailers. Also, if you or your children enjoy the book, please consider leaving an online review as this goes a long way to help me with launching the next books in the series.
If you’d like to become a stockist of the book, then you can find it through the usual book distribution channels, or contact me directly and I will be able to advise you further.