I don't often get to meet up with my illustrator, Lauren Beard. She lives in Manchester, I live in London; and the process of making a book together is often more separated than people imagine.
But I love seeing her when I can. We have the same sense of humour (so important when working together) and we both love the fairy tale world of Kittie Lacey that we've created.
So, when we were asked to do some events together at Seven Stories in Newcastle, we jumped at the chance.
We've never done an event as a twosome for The Fairytale Hairdresser before so we really wanted to get it right and plan something that would include both text and illustration.
We decided to travel up to Newcastle together so I picked up Lauren in Sheffield at a ridiculously early hour and we had a great time in the car plotting and planning the events as well as talking through the next Fairytale Hairdresser books.
The story-telling space at Seven Stories is truly wonderful! It's up in the attic and there are books hanging from the ceiling as well as an enormous wooden chair to sit in. I loved reading the stories and seeing how much the children liked the books.
Lauren and I wanted to mix up the story and illustration and to pull out themes from the book to illustrate and discuss with the children. One of the themes we chose was emotion. In The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty, the seven fairies are at first upset, then worried, then cross then happy. We asked the children to make the faces to reflect each feeling and Lauren drew the emotions in cartoon style.
We did some crazy hairstyles
and at the end I showed my writing books and Lauren showed her wonderful sketchbooks, and together we told the children how we make a Fairytale Hairdresser story.
It was so good to do an event with someone else. Occasionally events can feel a bit lonely and it was fantastic to have Lauren there! I also think it added so much for the children to meet both creators of the book and learn about both sides of the process.
I think they had a good time - afterwards there was certainly a long signing queue...