Today on the blog I have a special guest post with the author Bonnie Bridgman to celebrate the release of her debut picture book, ‘Catch That Cough,’ illustrated by Louise Forshaw. This lively and engaging picture book is a wonderful way to talk to children about the importance of learning to catch their coughs because if they don’t all sort of problems could happen as Maisie soon finds out! When Maisie’s fails to heed her Mum’s warning and ‘catch her cough,’ it escapes out of the window and starts to create havoc, spoiling all her plans. Annoyed, she’s determined to catch her cough and put things right. But once a cough has escaped it can be incredibly difficult to get it back again and we watch her frustration as the cough keeps outwitting her. Louise’s joyful and hilarious illustrations brings Bonnie’s story to life wonderfully. After reading it with seven different classes at school this week, I can confirm that it is highly entertaining and is a real fun story to share. Although it did seem to cause an outbreak of coughing afterwards, I’m not convinced they were genuine coughs though! Definitely a book that needs to be in every school library!
Bonnie Bridgman – Journey to Publication
I am very excited to be on Jo’s blog today. This is a writing goal right here! Jo was one of the first people I followed on Twitter and she has been an inspiration ever since. Thank you so much Jo for having me!
One thing I’ve learnt in this whole writing malarkey, and something I need to be reminded of continuously, is that you should celebrate every writing achievement along the way. It could be finishing that first draft (which is actually a MASSIVE achievement), second draft, third (you get the gist), receiving the first rejection, getting back up, coming up with an idea, the first full manuscript request and finally that first ever so elusive….yes.
My debut Picture Book came out this September with the lovely Louise Forshaw. I managed to get my ‘yes’ from Tiny Tree Children’s Books as an un-agented writer. I saw a post from Lou Treleaven detailing which publishers were accepting unsolicited manuscripts. So I submitted to Tiny Tree and then came … The Wait.
Every writer is familiar with The Wait and the feelings that go along with it. As soon as you press send, you become an emotional wreck. Ping! An email! It must be The Email! Nope. It’s an email telling me about some clothes I can’t afford. Ping! Could it be? Nope. It’s an email I just sent myself reminding me to pick up milk. Ping! Etc… it’s a long old wait until finally you get the email you’ve been waiting for and it’s a…..rejection. Sigh.
Except this time it wasn’t. Tiny Tree liked the story. They wanted the story. My story. My words! I shrieked! Then I called my husband. No answer. I called my mum, no answer. Why was no one answering their phones???!!! Finally I got through and there was a lot of high pitched shrieking that only dogs could hear.
Fast forward two years and hey presto! I’m holding a book in my hands with my name on it. A real life actual book. I’m signing my own name in it. With a Sharpie!
Events are a whole new world. Reading my words to children and having them join in is a dream come true. To see their reactions to Louise’s fantastic illustrations is brilliant. I can’t resist pointing out some of the details that she’s put in, they gasp and giggle particularly at the Cough’s bottom! It feels incredible (when children join in, not the Cough’s bum!).
One thing that has taken me by surprise is the amount of support I’ve received. And how generous everyone is with their time. I’ve been so touched by the comments, reviews and support at events.
I’m so lucky to have Tiny Tree as my publisher, they’ve taken great care of me and I now have the incredibly talented and extremely lovely Helen Boyle of Pickled Ink as my agent who’s been wonderful.
It’s been a tricky road for me. I’ve documented the pain I’ve experienced over the past nine years on my own blog. There were times that I wondered how I was going to pick myself up and walk out the door. But I did. Writing has been my lifeline. The light in the darkest of tunnels. And whilst I know there will be lots more ups and downs along the way, I have a team on my side, words in my head, my book in my hand and pride in my heart. I’m a writer.
Thank you to Bonnie for this really insightful guest post. ‘Catch That Cough,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.