Welcome to my latest piece which is part of a blog tour to celebrate the publication of My Summer with Grandad, by Tom Tinn-Disbury and published by New Frontier publishing.
Intergenerational relationships represented well in picture books have always been something I’ve enjoyed reading about. My grandparents were very actively involved in my childhood and I hold precious memories of those times.
Tom Tinn-Disbury has written and illustrated a humorous read which touches on many themes. At the heart of the story is a young boy and his grandad who are able to spend time together during the summer. Though grandad has plans of Eric assisting him with fishing, it turns out that it isn’t Eric’s greatest strength. Instead, grandad gives Eric a job of being a Chief Seagull Shoo-er! Through this role, Eric forms a sweet friendship with a baby seagull after it gets injured.
By looking after the seagull, readers witness a caring and attentive side of Eric but of course grandads home isn’t the seagulls natural habitat. The illustration of Eric in tears knowing he has to let the seagull go is so emotive. But perhaps the seagull won’t forget about Eric and they will get a chance to reunite?
Through this book many points could be explored upon such as important relationships, caring for animals and wildlife and enjoying the moment.
The illustrations complete the book brilliantly and the sprinkles of humour throughout are sure to be appreciated.
As part of the blog tour Tom Tinn-Disbury has shared his writing process with us.
Writing process by Tom Tinn-Disbury.
The two things most important parts of the writing process for me is the not-writing and the re-writing.
I usually start with a character sketch or a doodle, then sometimes a title. These components are my starting point. Thats when the not-writing starts. By that I mean I will let those components sit in my head and swirl around. I’ll take the dog for walk, perhaps do the food shop. Tidy up the kitchen. All the while the story is growing and forming in my head and I’m only semi-aware of it.
Once the story is has formed enough in my head I will write it down as quickly as possible so it has a kind-of beginning, middle and an end.
Then the second most important bit starts, the re-writing. Now I have the clay of the story, a shape-less blob of clay that is something, but not a finished thing!
Thats when I shift stuff around, change wording, play around with tense and perspective. I will also draw very rough thumbnails at this stage. This helps with figuring out if you can convey the story through just the artwork, or the words or both.
That all sounds very formal and structured but generally it isn’t. That just seems to be the natural pattern I tend to follow each time I have a story idea.
With “My Summer with Grandad” I always got stuck with the middle section, the relationship part. Where Eric and Beaky are becoming friends. This is arguably the most important part because otherwise the ending doesn’t land in the same way. Then in writing a list of activities they could do together, purely for myself as a list of potential artwork ideas, that’s where Erics “steps” came from.
So I would recommend not-writing then re-writing! Then try not to think too much about the bit in-between!
Do pop over to fellow book bloggers who will be sharing more about this book to te celebrate its release.
Disclaimer: The publisher provided us with a copy of the book. All words and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.