I’ve wanted to be a published author since I was a child so it’s probably not surprising that I’ve been fussy about stationery since an early age. I must be a creature of habit as I settled on Papermate as my favourite brand when I was still at Primary School. For as long as I can remember, it’s been a medium tipped black Paper Mate Flair for me. Swoosh! It just flies across the paper, brilliant for when I’m in the creative zone.
However, since the publication of my debut picture book, Bonkers About Beetroot, my pen loyalty has collapsed. Any pen will do as long as the ink is beetroot coloured! I know that might seem a bit BONKERS and I certainly never saw it coming but I’m rather enjoying the change. Earlier in the year, when I was on holiday, I came across a well-stocked, lovely, old stationers in Skipton. On impulse I asked if they had any ink pens with beetroot coloured ink. A purple Pilot ink pen was produced and it’s become one of my favourites for when I am signing books.
If you were to cast an eye over my writing desk, apart from at least three beetroot coloured pens, you’d also quickly spot a row of notebooks. I can’t resist brightly coloured or patterned A5 sized notebooks. I particularly like dots or big spots! It does not matter what brand they are just as long as the pages are lined. When a new story is emerging, I fill the pages with notes. As these notes get incorporated into a story, I put a line through the page. Once the notebook is finished, I can’t actually bring myself to part with it as it has become like an old friend. The pile of used notebooks is growing quite large these days!
Aside from pens and notebooks, you’ll also find the good old yellow Post It note on my desk. This is my perfect plotting tool. Once I have figured out who the characters are in a story, I jot down any ideas on Post Its. I have a large plotting board with blank picture book spreads marked out on it. In the initial stages of a story, I can move the Post Its around while I try to figure out what the story is really about and what is the best order for the spreads. I used them loads when I was developing Bonkers About Beetroot.
It’s hard to believe that my debut picture book was only published in October. Ever since then, I’ve been rushing around reading Bonkers About Beetroot in bookshops and making zebra hobby horses with kids. Bonkers is a very quirky story about an out of control beetroot, a determined zebra and a pessimistic penguin with a rather surprising twist at the end. The kids seem to love it! It’s been wonderful seeing their amazing responses to it. Knowing that I have made someone laugh is brilliant.
There is only one possible word I can use to describe 2017: BONKERS! Not only was my debut picture book published, but also ten educational readers. It’s such a challenge to make an early or reluctant reader funny or get an interesting plot twist in and still stick within the allowed words for that particular phonics level. It’s like solving a puzzle; very satisfying.
I’m also enjoying writing middle grade stories for 2Simple (a school resources website) for their Serial Mash series.
Currently, I’m concentrating on developing some junior fiction (7-9) ideas as well as another picture book. I’m a keen vegetable grower so don’t be surprised if more mutant vegetables feature in future stories!
Anyone who wants to find out a little more about me should visit my Amazon author page. I do have a website and twitter handle but I am still getting used to the idea of doing anything with them!
Get in touch by email: cathjoneswriter(AT)gmail.com