New baby (aged 4-8)

In the midst of putting out my YA novel Silent Symmetry and editing the manuscript of my contemporary novel The New Sense, I’ve also been planning a third ebook release: The Christmas Bat, an illustrated children’s book for 4-8 year-olds (and their mothers who typically buy these books). The title character is a bat called Barry who isn’t into Halloween like his brothers and sisters because he doesn’t like scaring people. So he decides to get involved with Santa and make kids happy at Christmastime. But then things start to go wrong…

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They can be cute. Honest!

I wrote The Christmas Bat about 5 years ago for my little boy Sacha, and even though he’s now a much bigger boy, he still loves the story. So much so that he thinks other kids would like it too. Now that I’ve figured out how to self-publish ebooks, publishing this one shouldn’t be a huge effort. Except that it needs pictures. And my drawing ability isn’t much better than the 4-8 year-olds that the book is intended for.

To cross this hurdle I had a meeting yesterday with a young illustrator called Tatiana who is not only extremely talented, but also has a style that is influenced by the Soviet cartoons she watched in her native Ukraine as a child. This is great because the illustrations for a children’s book ideally should be as memorable, engaging and fun as possible. They need to reflect the feel of the story, but also capture and bring its characters to life. Tatiana’s essentially foreign esthetic will help make The Christmas Bat stand out from the crowd.

Judging by the preliminary sketches I saw yesterday, Tatiana will be more than capable of giving Barry and the other characters in The Christmas Bat their own personalities. I’m really excited to see what she does next. It’s one thing to picture what the characters you have created on the page look and act like, but quite another to see them take shape from someone else’s imagination.  Our goal is to make The Christmas Bat available for Kindle Fire, iPad and other colour devices in time for the 2013 Holiday Season. And the best thing about the project is that it’s great fun!

Oh, and have you ever wondered how Santa delivers presents to houses that don’t have chimneys for him to climb down? Read The Christmas Bat when it’s published and you’ll find out the surprising answer!

Photo credit: onkel_wart (thomas lieser) / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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