Nugget – the Black Wombat!
I confess that I am in love.
Always have been really…
Because they have gentle expressions, hairy, fat bodies and they walk in such an awkward way.
The idea of writing a short story about them was, like nearly everything about my writing life, sheer serendipity.
My hubbie is a farmer and only a week before the creation of Nugget’s character, he saw a very dark one, ambling across the Creek Paddock. A couple of days later, he saw the same dark one with a lighter coloured one. And in that same week, the miniature book press in the USA, with whom I occasionally collaborate, asked if I could write a story about wombats.
It was that simple.
And thus Nugget was born.
Bopress Miniature Books (USA) then created a bespoke book for the serious miniature collector – complete with Nugget’s map tucked inside a (marsupial) pouch at the back of the little book.
It sold brilliantly – culminating in a super review in The Microbibliophile, America’s answer to the NY Times Book Review – only for miniature books.
“A great little book for a grandfather to share with a grandchild as a bedtime storybook, read by the light beam of a flashlight, in an otherwise dark bedroom. We have all the great elements here: the farm animals, the wisdom of the owl, the geography of the journey, the map, the relationship of two strangers brought together to solve a problem, and the miniature book which will fit in grandfather’s pocket as a surprise for the night. This book will work equally well for grandmothers, for sure!”
The idea for a standard sized, illustrated childrens’ book came much later when I saw Dave Slaney’s illustrations for SJA Turney’s Crocodile Legion.
Dave was keen to give it a go and the first image of Nugget that arrived had me laughing with delight. It was exactly what I wanted children to see – something that would make them laugh and give them joy!
A potential stumbling block for Dave and I though, was that he is in the UK and I am in Australia. When he was awake and working and wanted swift decisions, I was in the southern hemisphere in the land of Nod, but somehow, we managed to cross paths and make mutual decisions.
But then, Heaven help us, we decided to publish it first as an e-book. Let me say upfront, neither of us are techno-heads and this was a new venture for us both. Dave of course has been illustrating for ages and I have been writing books for grown-ups, but submitting a fully illustrated book for children to Kindle was like swimming in a pool of sharks!
The first file we tried to load was completely corrupted – even now we don’t why, but thanks to the efforts of Techno-Man (superhero of the day: SJA Turney) we were able to uncorrupt said files (or whatever it is you do) and load it.
Amazon are happy with it and today is LAUNCH DAY!
We will watch the sales with interest. It requires parents and grandparents to take a big step sideways and go down the e-road with their little ones.
The print book however is as traditional as one could hope for. It was easy to handle and in a few short days will be in the tender care of Ingram-Spark. By mid to late November, it will be released across the globe.
So watch for the poster.
After that, given that Nugget is the poster boy for all wombats, we hope he will crack the Chinese stuffed-toy market…
And that he will be seen by Pixar and turned into a wombat adventure movie.
Dave and I dream big, you see!
Want to see the cuddly chubbly Nugget?
Meanwhile, I now dive back into the twelfth century and groom Guillaume ready for publication in November – a book for grownups who love intrigue, history and pure drama! The complete antithesis of a cuddlesome wombat story!
Its a lovely book, it will be great for little ones, and grown up little ones 😉
Thank you so much, Libby. Wait till you see the print version! It is gorgeous…
How adorable! What a fun book. Great to combine your love of miniature books with your love of your unique wildlife. A creative and fun project!
Thank you, Anne. It has been an interesting journey – my footsteps as a writer. If you had asked me 8-10 years ago, whether I would be writing across 4 genres, I would have said, ‘What? You jest, surely!’ But I just love that word serendipity. 😉