As is our little household tradition, we print up our own Christmas cards every year on a tiny, hand-operated letterpress. We usually try and let our experiences of the past year direct what the design is, and after the second year of pandemic-life, we almost didn’t get our cards made in time for the season, because we couldn’t think of anything exciting that happened in our house in 2021.
Then we spotted the elephant (or should it be cat?) in the room: Of course something totally awesome happened this year – I had my first children’s picture book published! So we went pretty simple with the design, and I drew up Asta driving another absurd vehicle, but in a Christmas stylee. It’s one of my favourite seasonal accoutrements, the yule log!
If you haven’t checked it out already, have a look at Alley Cat Rally – perhaps someone small might enjoy finding it under their tree!
Alley Cat Rally is now broadly available in all English-speaking territories in the WORLD! This Tuesday, 6th July, marked its publication in USA and Canada, and it was also published at some point in the past month in Australia and New Zealand too, so along with its April release here in the UK, that covers it all pretty well.
I’ve still got no idea how well it is doing, but I have been entered into what for me is a crazy new world, of the odd complement on social media. It’s been a few months of lovely surprises, videos from parent-friends, and generally nice people, which is incredibly gratifying.
I have made a couple more ACR-related videos in the past couple of months too.
Flying Eye managed to connect me with doing a window-painting job at a local bookshop to me, in Tring, which is just a little further out in the Chiltern Hills from where I live. I ended up doing it on a miserably rainy day, but with a bit of help, I put all the alley cats up in the window. It turned out pretty good!
I also made a video I titled ‘How did this happen?’, talking through the conception and making-of the book.
Here’s to people actually buying a thing I made, and to me dreaming up Asta and the alley cats’ next adventure!
The release of my book is creeping closer! It’s less than a month before Alley Cat Rally is published in the UK, and over the past few weeks I have been nervously trying to think of things I can do to promote the book myself.
I’ve started by making a mini-site that gives a good overview of the book, the characters, and the places you can preorder it, alongside some other fun graphics and odds-and-ends.
That’s table stakes though, so I’ve done a couple more interesting projects that I’ve also made videos about.
The first mini-project is the ballad of the little washer. I’ve had this on my shelves for years, but a desire to open it up and add some ballast to it became a mission to connect it to the internet, programming it so it will spin whenever anyone visits the short link I set up to preorder the book:
The second project is a bit less technical, but only slightly: I made a plush version of Asta, the star of the book. She wears a great pair of goggles in Alley Cat Rally, so I had to figure out how to make them, and ended up rigging up my own vacuum-forming setup, on a home kitchen scale:
I am pleased with both of these projects, and also with the videos themselves! I think I am slowly getting more natural at using my voice, which I’m hoping will come in handy as I try to join my publisher in promoting the book!
I can’t wait to write more about this in the coming months, but I’m really excited to announce that I made a real, honest-to-goodness book, and it is being published internationally this spring!
‘Alley Cat Rally’ is a children’s picture book about a cat who makes a racing car out of her washing machine, and makes some friends in the process. It’s being published by Flying Eye books, and is available to pre-order now: Preorder link for the UK (releases April 2021), Preorder link for USA (releases July 2021).
If anyone has been dedicated enough to follow the depths of my work, you may have seen some earlier iterations of this in their various forms, and that might give an idea of how long this has been in the process (many years!). I’m really looking forward to receiving my own finished copies of this, and for seeing it on sale in real shops too!
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