I read and research an enormous amount to see what issues are happening globally – environmental and social issues in the case of my children’s book series.
I take notes of all the ones that are becoming more and more prominent each year and the wildlife that is associated with them, or animals that live in the parts of the world most affected by them. I try to identify an endangered species wherever possible and identify that species’ very specific traits and abilities.
I then create a picture in my head of the animal main character, their appearance and personality traits and the place in which they live.
I write a description of them and I look online to find a picture that conjures up the kind of image I have in my head of the main character. This helps the illustrator when she starts work. It also ensures I can visualise the protagonist as I’m writing every page of the story.
I always include a detailed description of the illustration I have in mind for each page of the story. This forms the brief for the illustrator once she gets to work.
Sometimes whilst I’m completely immersing myself in creating the main character, the story plot takes shape almost magically, by itself. Other times, the process is a little more clinical….