today’s big news… four new books with philip reeve!

PHEW! I can FINALLY tell people now! I’m going to make chapter books for the first time! And I get to make them with one of my best friends, Philip Reeve! I made this picture to celebrate today’s news:

I had to wait until the article came out in The Bookseller today, and fab writer Lucy Coats just tweeted me this photo of her copy at the Bologna Book Fair, so… Yay!

Click here for a larger version, e-mailed in by The Bookseller’s Ashley Baugh

Our head of publicity at Oxford University Press, Elaine McQuade, asked Philip and me to write a bit about what it’s like working together. A bit of it made it into the article, but here are the extended versions, if you’d like to read them:

Philip explained how our collaboration started:
‘I found mermaid-turned-illustrator Sarah McIntyre in a tidepool; somehow she’d washed up in Devon. She had to rummage through a pile of clams before she could find her salt-covered specs and peer up at me. I thought she might sing some siren song and lure me to my doom, but all she wanted was chocolate biscuits. So I gave her some from my rucksack, and we sat on the beach while she told me about the outlandish places she’d visited.

‘It quickly became obvious that we should write a book together, so I set to work, and Sarah chipped in with new ideas or little drawings whenever I wasn’t sure which way the story should go. Needless to say, our first story together turned out to have a sea theme, but I hope there will be many more to follow. Making books with McIntyre is one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done! (Except she does tend to eat all the chocolate biscuits.)’

I wrote:
‘In one of Philip Reeve’s last books, he conjured up Merlin, the Arthurian storyteller who created the most famous British legends. Well, can you imagine getting to work WITH Merlin? Philip knows how to spin amazing yarns, but he’s no solemn mystic on the hill… well, he sort of is, he lives on misty Dartmoor, and he summons up his suits from another era. Okay, he is a mystic on a hill. But he is SUCH good fun! One of us will say something a bit stupid, then the other will say, ‘But, could you imagine if…’, and the other will pick up on it and turn it into something quite bizarre, but very funny.

Seawigs came about because we both love dressing up, a bit over the top, and I’d just designed some mad alien wigs for an exhibition called Monsterville. Philip wanted to write a sea voyage story, and I was in the middle of making a silly monkey illustration for the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group (CWIG). Philip pronounced the acronym ‘kwig’, but I said ‘sea-wig’, and suddenly we started thinking, what if islands could wear wigs? What if they got a bit competitive about it? Let’s throw in a near-sighted mermaid. Some sea monkeys, too, just for a laugh! And the rest is Seawigs. We hope you enjoy it!’

Go read Philip’s take on the big announcement over on his blog!

Until then, you can read The Fleece Station studio’s History of Wig-Wearing, and here are some Monsterville wig previews… more dressing up to come!

If you follow my blog, you’ll have already seen this video we made awhile back, but here’s a little insight into the World of Reeve.

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