I’ve been thinking about writing a book for a while. My problem was that I didn’t know what to write about. I felt like the world didn’t need another ‘what to plant when’ book. My shelves are already heaving under the strain of maybe 30 books that say the same thing, over again.
So I decided not to write a gardening book but to write and illustrate a children’s book about gardening – specifically vegetable gardening.
When my world was turned upside down in 2008 and I had Jackson, the focus of my life changed in a way I had not really expected. I now started to see everything with reference to Jackson and future generations. For instance, before Jackson was born I was just growing vegetables because it was my hobby and I liked to do it (nothing wrong in that). Now, I’m doing it so that he will be able to experience the taste of home grown vegetables and be able to recognise the difference between a Carrot and a Parsnip.
I started to wonder how I would help him learn about growing vegetables and decided that a story with himself as the lead character would do the trick. So I wrote Jackson’s Garden. In it he is the head gardener and is very good at sowing and growing and watering his seedlings. Occasionally, he will encounter creatures that inhabit his garden; snails, bees, butterflies, ladybirds and worms. He learns how these help or hinder him in his efforts to grow and in the process how to be kind to them – yes even the snails!
At first I thought I would only print one book for Jackson but then I realised that other people might find it useful too. So I decided to self-publish it (book publishers take too long and might not have taken it anyway). And I started to draw my own website (above). Now, Jackson’s Garden, book 1 is being printed as we speak (eek!). I haven’t seen the finished article yet and I’m very nervous about it. But when it arrives it will be available to buy via the Jackson’s Garden website. It won’t be expensive. I’m not doing it to become a publishing mogul, I’m just looking to cover costs and make enough to print book 2.
Each book will come in a cute little box, packed with straw and tied with garden twine, with either a free packet of seeds…
… or some cool stickers.
Please, let me know what you think. If you think it’s a good idea, whether kids will like it, ideas for stories or how you think I can get the word out about it. Any input is greatly appreciated. Anyway, I hope you like it and as Jackson would say, ‘Yey!’