Hi! And thank you for asking us to join you on this blog. So here we are: the mother/daughter team behind the Wendy Quill books – working EXTREMELY hard. Mina May is slaving away on her iPad whilst I am doing VERY IMPORTANT writerly work:
You see, because Mina May is only eleven, people are always asking us: ‘What was it like doing a book together? Was it really hard?’ I’m tempted to say: ‘Oh yes, of course. What with all the deadlines and having to produce pictures for a professional designer’:
And having to submit manuscripts to an editor who is ever-so strict . . .
But then I realise that I have to stop pretending.
Because the truth is, we’re having an absolute blast. Our designer and editor at OUP are AMAZING. And Mina May and I LOVE creating Wendy Quill together – she’s a little bit of both of us, I think. We’ve got the same sense of humour – so are giggling all over the place and having a bit of a ball.
This is how it works:
Mina May: ‘Were you really a crocodile’s bottom, Mum? You know, in actual real life?’
Me: ‘Erm. Well. Sort of, yes. It was for my school play: Peter Pan and Wendy. My head wasn’t big enough to fit under the front bit, so I had to go at the back.’
Mina May: ‘Oh no!’ giggling ‘But why weren’t you picked to be “Wendy”?’
Me: ‘I have absolutely no idea. I mean, I should have been Wendy. I am a real Wendy. I even look like a Wendy. And the girl they picked had straight black hair, which everyone knows is completely wrong for Wendy in Peter Pan and . . . ’
Mina May: ‘Aw, never mind Mum. I bet you were a great crocodile’s bottom.’ Starts drawing on iPad ‘How about this?’
Me: ‘Oh my giddy Aunt! That’s unbelievable!!!! That is just what it was like!’
Or, to take another example . . .
Mina May: ‘So what do “The Girly Gang” actually look like Mum? Have you written that chapter yet?’
Me: ‘No. Not quite yet. But basically, they all have their ears pierced and wear pointy shoes. It’s part of their “Girly Gang” Rules. Oh. And they’re really scared of rats.’
Mina May: ‘So kind of like this?’
Me: squeal ‘Ahhhh! Exactly like that! You’ve done it again! Perfect.’
Then we send it to our designer, the brilliant Professor Karen Stewart – and she puts the images all cleverly on the page. And then my editor, the lovely Jasmine Richards (with the gymnastic abilities, editorial brilliance and completely ‘natural arch’), reads my Wendy Quill chapters and tells me if I’m ‘cooking on gas.’
If I am ‘cooking on gas’ (and being Wendy Quillish to the core), we all get very excited and eat lots of cake! And then we get even more excited when we see the final product, tadaaaa:
And then we say, ‘Can we do another one? Please?’
So no. It’s not hard. It’s a DREAM. And we don’t really want it to stop.
Here’s a little ‘Behind the Scenes’ video so that you can see us in action. We hope you giggle over Wendy Quill is a Crocodile’s Bottom just as much as we giggled over making it.
Wendy Quill is a Crocodile’s Bottom is out now. Also available as an eBook – in full colour!