My first children’s book is complete: Captain Caleb!
As some of you may be aware, since my friend James Camp decided to become an author I have been fulfilling my lifelong ambition to write a novel. This is of fantasy, of swords and shields and is something I have had in my head for a long time. You can find what of it I have done on wattpad. However, the year before last my nephew was born and I thought I might take up the challenge of writing and illustrating a book for him. I started over a year ago myself and as a lover of pirates I thought I would go down that route. I’m not a very good drawer (infant I can barely draw!) so decided to use a program I was very familiar with, Flash. Being a teacher I had taught countless pupils how to morph shapes to make basic cartoon characters and then animate them. I only needed one stage of this so thought it can’t be that hard. Let me tell you, writing a children’s book is easy, very very easy. I used my knowledge of other books to put together a simple story with sound effects and actions. Illustrating a book, however, is hard, very very hard. I started drawing the odd picture, or more precisely parts of pictures, when I could get some free time. Being in a hectic job this time was few and far between. My wife, and I suppose myself, thought I was never going to get it finished. I wanted it for his first birthday although I know it might be better if he was a little older. This however was approaching fast, so I though it will be Christmas soon after so I’ll aim for then. It wasn’t getting done very fast at all. However I got inspiration for the very source of the story. My little nephew had grown into a lover of books, he would bring them to you and make you read them and do the actions. More than this he seemed to love me reading him books, every time we went to see him he would bring me a book and we would have some more fun being silly with it. This focused me and I got on with it. But things started to wane again, the book had been written over a year ago but of the ten illustrations I had only completed about 6. The next motivation came when I got off my bum and found myself a printer, they gave me a deadline date if I wanted it to be printed before Christmas. Somehow I hit it, including a weekend where my Sister-in-law, Brother-in-law and nephew came to stay, I managed to slyly complete a little more whilst they were asleep! The next snag was the printing itself. I knew colours might be darker but they appeared as if someone had turned the lights out. The printers were excellent though and sent through different copies in different colours. I was set, so on the day before I had to send it to get there for Christmas I managed to pick up the books (I had three, one for him now, one for when he is older (a clean copy) and one for me (to prove I actually did it!)). I felt so proud when I got those copies, I wanted to show everyone but knew I had done wonders to actually keep the project under wraps. I did give a few people a sneak peek and they loved it. Two people even said they had wanted to write a children’s story and seemed genuinely like they would start, as if I was their muse or something. I am even happier to say that my nephew loves it and has wanted it to be read to him on multiple occasions, maybe when I next visit that will be the book he picks up.
I think what it does show is that you can do some amazing things when you put your mind to it, although a deadline and the inspiration of a little boy is what I really needed. The fact that I just went to a printers and they sorted it for me shows how easy it actually is to get material published. Ok so it is not actually published, but they would do that if I gave them some more money. I’d even get a unique ISBN number and everything, but that was not the purpose of the book! I hope that this achievement will focus me in my other little projects and although I will never get famous from it I will have at least made someone happy and proved something to myself. I suppose I should have mention the book title already, it is Captain Caleb and the Tickle Monster. I purposely put the Tickle Monster bit in so I could write more if I wanted to (or if he wanted more!). Basically it is about a pirate captain who finds where some treasure is so he and his crew go to investigate, they find a scary monster instead. In the end the monster
just tickles them and everyone is happy. After telling you the plot I guess there is only really one way to finish off this post, with a few illustrations from the book…