Matthew Evans, author of 'Lucy's Loo-Loo La-La land' talks about his process and how he started writing for children.
Let’s start with some introductions, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Of course, I am 38 and have been married for 10 years, we have a daughter, 5, and a son, 2. I work in Technical pre sales at a large IT vendor and my role is pan EMEA. Away from the office I enjoy sports, I am keen runner and in the last few years have completed a 100km and a 50km ultra marathon, I am planning on my third later this year. As a family we enjoy travel both in and outside the UK, it’s good to experience different cultures but also experience those things on your doorstep.
How did you get into writing for children?
Unintentionally if I’m being honest. In August of 2011 we lost our first son following a premature birth. Since then I have entered a number of running races and undertaken challenges to help raise money for a number of charities, Tommys Baby and Daisys Dream to name a couple. To date I think I have raised in the region of £5,500 but there is always that desire to do more and that’s where the idea of a book came in.
What process do you follow when writing?
I have only written the one book so I am not sure how much of a process I followed. I started with the overall storyline and then worked on it page by page, read time and time again and tweaked the words and story until I was happy. I then had my wife read it and then applied a few last edits. If I am honest I don’t think anyone if ever completely happy, if I could make a couple of edits today I think I would.
What gives you inspiration and who are your influences?
My kids. The whole story started out as written down things that my daughter had said to me, so the book is very much through the eyes of a child. As an example, we were on holiday a couple of years ago and visited a town just outside of Pool, I recall the town square was paved with these shiny white tiles and my daughter turned and said “look at the ice” and started skating around on it, that’s when the loose story started to form, it was lovely to see something normal and day to day to an adult mean something completely different to a child. Over the next 12 months I made notes and formed a we ideas around what else would happen. After our son was born I could see these little partners in crime, hence why the story is based on a little girl called Lucy and her brother, Jack.
What problems did you find when releasing your book?
I first published it as an ebook. On reflection this wasn’t particularly problematic but when you’re new to the process it is nice to get a guiding hand, I seem to recall I send you a few emails looking for advice. The formatting of the ebook was a little challenging, again if it’s all new to you. In the end I used a company called ‘Ebook Partnership’ as they were reasonably priced and provided an excellent service.
However, I found I didn’t get much traction with my ebook and that’s when I stumbled across Amazon Create Space. Create Space is a company owned by Amazon that allows you to self-publish as paperback. Again this wasn’t hugely challenging but when you are new to the options and settings it requires a little research. After a few attempts at formatting I decided to use a company called ‘Sleeping Cat Books’. They provided an excellent service and were great value.
What was the best part about releasing your book?
Seeing it live on Amazon and then showing it to my kids for the first time.
What was your favourite childhood book?
I enjoyed many of the traditional Ladybird books, such as the Magic Porridge Pot and the Enormous Turnip. I also have a copy of a book called ‘Podgy and I’ which was released around 1925 by Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd, given the state of my copy it could well be an original. I read this to my children who think it’s quite fun that I am reading them a story that I had at their age.
Who are your favourite designers and/or brands?
The books we get now are very much decided on by the kids, we have quite a few books by Nick Sharratt which we enjoy, as well as a few by Julia Donaldson such as The Gruffalo and Room on a Broom.
Do you prefer ebooks or physical books? Why?
How much does your book cost?
£1.99 for the eBook and £5.99 for the paperback, 25% of all royalties are being donated to Tommy's (http://www.tommys.org/)
Where can we find your book / where it is for sale?
Is there anything else you want to add?