Happy Hump Day and welcome to our stop of the blog of The Tale of the Whale, written by Karen Swann, illustrated by Padmacandra and published by Scallywag Press.
A typical day…
Someone asked me recently about my typical day as an author, and honest to goodness there really isn’t one! I’m not very disciplined as a writer – I have a busy family life and I write as and when I have time and my brain takes me there! Often, it’s the quiet times, such as the middle of the night or when I first wake up in the morning, that the ideas that are swimming around in my head get to come to the front and clamour to be heard. I have notebooks everywhere (especially by my bed) and I’m afraid I jot things down in a very haphazard way. Ideas for books are scattered through both my current work and a gazillion notebooks. I note things down straight away when they come to me – sometimes a rhyming couplet or a title or a random character, but I have to get the idea down there and then. It would be good to be organised enough to keep them all in one place, but I also know that if the ideas dry up, I just need to have a flick through some old notebooks, and I’ll find some really random stuff (which I’ll probably not be able to make head nor tail of!)
I do have a desk, an old Victorian scrub top table, where I like to write, with a big old larder cupboard beside it that holds my ever-growing collection of picture books. It’s really important to read widely, especially in the area you wish to write, and I do have to confess to a slight picture book addiction. I have an assortment of ‘things’ on the windowsill next to me, little bits that I’ve collected that appear in my stories. I love to get inspiration visually. I can get lost down a rabbit hole looking at Pinterest and illustrators work online – a great place to get ideas for characters or worlds. Currently though, I’m sharing the house again with my family, as they work from home, a puppy and a building site next door! Not the quiet I long for!
Ultimately though, when I do get the time or a quiet spot to write, I like to write about things that are important to me or I feel a strong connection to. The Tale of the Whale is about the environment and about caring for our world and the way we live within it, something I feel strongly about. I also have quite a musical brain and stories often come to me with an element of musicality to them. I chose a waltzing rhythm for The Tale of the Whale to reflect the patterns of waves of the ocean. That was how the whale gave it to me at a time when I had some quiet to listen. And you don’t not listen to a humpback whale!
The Tale of the Whale by Karen Swann,
illustrated by Padmacandra (right)is out now in hardback (£12.99, Scallywag Press)