8.4.11

Cobbling it together





When I was much younger and thought the publishing world would fall at my feet on my graduation day, (1993) I dreamed of important brainstorming meetings, full of ideas whizzing around, ending with a nice lunch at *some little place*. It has taken eighteen long years for it to happen but I am happy to report that the reality is even better than the dream. Planning the world of Puddletown with Templar meant a few visits to the offices, where a few hours would be spent thrashing out the storylines and the basic design of every layer of each spread.



When I arrive at the Templar premises, I'm usually taken to this nice meeting room and offered coffee; much needed as to get here has meant getting up at 6am, to catch the early commuter bus to a train station, finally arriving at about 10.30. My eyes are like slits by now. This particular meeting was to deliver the felt toys for 'Mrs Mouse's Cupcakes' and to go through the next book. To celebrate, cupcakes had been bought in.



I get first pick, choosing the lemon one. This is a cover proposal for the next book, made up by Janie, the designer. Just a dummy. So many mock ups have been made as the formats have gradually evolved. The post-it note is querying the exact shade of blue for the outer frame, such is the level of detail invested in the production. Notice her thick pile of notes beneath.




The big moment, the unveiling of the toys! Although I have emailed jpegs of them to Janie, (who makes my work look beautiful in the books) neither she nor Hannah, the editor, on the right, have seen the real things. I am so lucky to be working with these ladies, who are on the same wave length as I am, which means that planning my books has been such fun. It's almost as if they've been to Puddletown themselves...





Janie, like myself, hates having her photo taken. Hannah has a gorgeous smile! She is the clever hand behind the stories; once we've made ourselves slightly sick on cupcakes, we spend a couple of hours going through the next story, 'Peggy's Lost Pennies'. Hannah takes my ideas, they are thrown into the pot and thrashed out almost word for word (do we use *grinning* or *beaming*? I decide beaming, more in tune with the character). Later she writes up the final story, far better than I could. Janie too puts in ideas for how the storyline develops, so by the end we have all stirred the pot, like three benign witches.






You would not believe how much work goes into producing a simple five page story book. By lunchtime, after an intense morning, with much scribbling, note taking and discussion, we have basically sorted out 'Peggy's Lost Pennies' and are ready for lunch. At *some little place*, just as I used to dream of. Lots of gossip and chat, because although Janie and Hannah are work colleagues, we all get on very well. And, because it is my big day out, I am treated to ice cream. Days like this are very special indeed.



A plea for help
I believe that the Puddletown books were offered in an Easter giveaway in a magazine called the Sunday Post Extra - I think I've missed the boat in finding a copy, so if anyone has the page (45) and is willing to send it to me, I'd willingly swap it for a pack of postcards like these.

24 comments:

janet said...

Oh Gretel,
It does my heart good to see you living your dream. You have worked so very hard and we are all so proud of you.

Great to see the inner workings of a literary meeting...I had no idea ' cupcakes and ice cream' was a part of that process ;->

Enjoy it all and take it in slowly

your friend,
Janet xox

PS....wil any of the story characters ever be for sale????????

Jessie said...

It sounds as though you're working with some lovely people! Great way to start the day with fairy cakes! ;)xx

Gerry Snape said...

how great to see you getting this success. It's a real blessing.You deserve all this now after so much slog and hard work.

jfidz said...

Enjoy it Gretel, you've more than earned it.

Soozcat said...

There are few things better than seeing a dream through to completion -- unless it's doing so with people who are wonderfully simpatico. I'm so thrilled for you, Gretel!

And tell Hannah she's got company in the whole not-being-photographed boat. :)

frayedattheedge said...

Where can I get a job involving eating cupcakes and icecream?
Trying to track down a Sunday Post for you (Stuart is online looking for one as I'm typing this!)

Claire said...

Hey Gretel, how exciting to see your name on the mockup for the new book. This is such an wonderful journey. I'm so glad the experience is even more enjoyable than the dream and that you have great people like Janie and Hannah to guide you through it.

There are cupcakes and icecream involved, it just keeps getting better and better.

I'll share a secret with you, For ooh, close to 30 years I have wanted to write and have published a children's book. To walk into a book store and see it sitting on the shelf and to think that people would spend their hard earned money on a copy.

Anyway, the story isn't written, knowing me it never will be, but I have enjoyed the dream, so thanks for sharing your dream with us all, it's been so much fun to read all about it.

Have a great weekend,

Claire :}

tut-tut said...

Looks like a cosy and cohesive team you've got there; great! looking forward to seeing a copy around here.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Finally dream and life coincide.

amanda banham said...

ice cream too Gretel! So glad you are living the dream in the sunshine! Sounds so much fun, I love the part when you say that you feel as if they have been to puddletown. I want to go too!!

Bee said...

I don't think this experience is the norm, but I feel so happy for you that you've fallen in with like-minded co-conspirators.

rossichka said...

A very interesting story in pictures and words about the process of creating the idea for your book! I like the atmosphere not only of the place where you met and worked, but also that one between the three of you - exchanging ideas and having fun! Mmmm, what a delicious glass of ice cream - I think you fully deserve it!:)

Cathy Holtom said...

Interesting to see behind the scenes and it's great to hear about someone living their dreams, well done!
(I would have chosen the choccie cake though)

Lrc said...

It's fabulous to see creativity in action--the team work and ice cream and cupcakes...I agree you deserve it for the love and sweat that goes into creation!

Frances Tyrrell said...

What a perfect experience, I'm so glad for you. How satisfying it is to experience that compatible meeting of creative minds.
Here's to more from Puddletown!

BumbleVee said...

What fun!! Enjoy every moment and every morsel Gretel....you deserve it all.

Vintage Jane said...

So, so pleased for you. Over the months you have made me laugh and cry. My little boy loves to read your blog with me and it has even inspired me to start my own! vintage-jane.blogspot.com

Hannah Moore said...

Hi Gretel, I just discovered your blog and I have to say, I think you are my hero. I am dreaming of doing exactly what you are doing. Writing/illustrating children's books, gardening, creating, having cats;) I am a new needle felter and I enjoy it so much. I love your creations!

Yarrow said...

What a wonderful story and how great for you to be enjoying the process. I couldn't be happier for you, you deserve this so much.x

Lrc said...

Thanks so much for your message about my grandma Elizabeth Berridge! She was a wonderful force in my life and her writing was excellent...I'm glad you were interested enough to look her up!

Pearl said...

I am so very happy for you. You deserve even so much more. You have my best wishes.
Love the cupcakes.
Sending you big hugs,

Armide said...

Hello Gretel,

I have just discovered your blog and I love it! Actually,I spent the whole afternoon peering over your previous posts until my eyes got sore! I love your felted animals, and your gardening, and your cats, and your beautiful pictures and, oh well, about everything about your blog! Congratulations on your new book!

Jeri Landers said...

Puddletown Books,Oh how wonderful! I would love to find these in the US I am a huge collector of marvelous things, have put off far too long purchasing one of your charming little folk. Congratulations on your success!

June said...

Gretal, I am so glad to read of this positive experience with Publishing. You have worked hard to make it happen. I wish you every continued success.