Maddy and I are not the only co-authors who have published a book in lockdown. Today I’m hosting Nigel Lungemuss-Ward who wrote “Freddie’s Impossible Dream” with his son Robbie.
When I asked him about the book this is what he said,
Robbie’s favourite hobby is drawing, every spare moment he gets, he has a pencil in his hand. One day, I asked him what he wanted to be when he was older. He said an animator and an illustrator. When I asked him why he had to wait until he was older, he exclaimed, “I can’t be an illustrator yet, I am only eight years-old!”
So, I made a deal with Robbie and said, “I will write a picture book, and you can illustrate it. Then, we will try to get it published.” Now, Robbie is a published illustrator at the age of nine and I wouldn’t have wanted to be on this journey with anyone else.
The book is about my own journey and how I joined the band I am in. The band are called The Rogue Shanty Buoys and the website is: www.shanties.co.uk We sing sea shanty songs and we have performed at many different festivals and events over the last 2 years, well before lockdown.
The whole story is autobiographical. I called the story “Freddie’s Impossible Dream” because the night before I went to the festival, and first saw The Rogue Shanty Buoys perform, I watched the recent film Bohemian Rhapsody, which is all about Freddie Mercury. The film inspired me so much that when I saw Stephen (The lead singer of the band) on the beach I decided to be brave and ask about joining the band. Maybe, if I hadn’t watched the film I wouldn’t be in the band and the book wouldn’t exist.
The process of writing was quite simple as it is my story. I wrote it down in a notebook initially with some basic notes about what I imagined would work well on the page. I also showed Robbie some pictures that I took of the First Light Festival, as he did not attend this event. Secondly, I wrote the story in a sketch pad, placing the text where I wanted it on the page. Robbie then got to work on drawing the images.
To start with, Robbie and I conflicted with what the pages should look like. Initially, he was a little slow and resistant to my ideas. His vision and mine didn’t align. However, I realised that I was killing his creativity for the project. So, I made the decision to let him complete the first draft before I saw any of the images. I am so glad that I made that decision and he really took off with the project and I think he did an outstanding job with them. The crab character in the story (Crabby) is Robbie’s creation completely. I did not have the crab in the story at all originally. Our publisher asked us to draw a back cover, as we had not done so. After completing it, I said to Robbie that it is a little bare and we need to add something else in. This is when he drew the crab. Then he decided we should add Crabby in other parts of the story too. He decided Crabby liked ice-cream and that he should skydive. It was joy to watch him being creative like this. I feel that Crabby will really be a huge hit with the children that read our book.
We went with a local publisher, who is also an author, because I know that Gracie is a wonderfully kind and generous person. I wanted Robbie to be exposed to the process as part of his development and I just knew that Gracie was the right person for us. She has been great, and I have just loved working with her to make the book and Robbie and my dreams become a reality.
For my day job, I’m an educator and I do this in two different areas: Firstly, I’m primary school teacher (Year 4) and secondly, I’m a football coach. I coach two different teams and I work for The Jamie Godbold Football Academy.
The proudest moment of my teacher career came this year when I won The Early Career Teacher Award in the Egmont Reading for Pleasure Awards. I won this award for my work on promoting the benefits of reading for pleasure for children. The truth is I adore reading and I have seen first-hand the issues that children can have if they are not able to read. A child that cannot read struggles to access even the simplest lesson. It breaks my heart to see this because for me reading is a pleasure and it is my aim to show that to every child I meet.
Thank you Nigel for your post and congratulations to you and Robbie on “Freddie’s Impossible Dream”. I feel that you, like me with Maddy have shown that children can achieve their dreams, if they are prepared to put in the work. That’s one of the best lessons we can teach them.
If you want to know more about Nigel and his book, you can find him at:
Facebook – Mr Lungenmuss-Ward
Instagram – That Book Guy
Youtube – That Book Guy
Twitter – nigel_86
At the moment the book is only available on the following link: https://www.graciewright.com/product-page/freddie-s-impossible-dream
It will be on Amazon later.
PS There’s still time to buy Robbie’s and Maddy’s books for Christmas.