Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. This is my first blog post for 2017!
For the past few years I’ve participated in the SCBWI advent calendar each December: every day an advent picture appears by a SCBWI illustrator, and then we writers craft a caption or poem that can be tweeted. It’s become part of my Christmas tradition.
For example on the 1st December, we had this beauty!
And I came up with this poem:
She didn’t mind the snowflakes,
She didn’t feel the cold:
She longed to have a chance to catch
a brand new friend to hold.
Last year I was completely blown away by one of the illustrations, and I discovered that the artist was Demelsa Haughton. The more of her pictures I discovered, the more I loved her style and imagination. So I’ve been following her ever since…willing someone to commission her for a picture book.
Anyway, it was my birthday on Saturday. Truthfully, I can’t say I was that ecstatic at becoming another year older. And sadly at four o’clock in the morning my husband’s much loved grandmother passed away. So it was a bit of a strange morning.
But despite the sad news, my husband kept badgering me to open my “main present”. I thought it would be better to wait until later in the day after he’d just received sad news, but he was most insistent. The kids had even dragged themselves away from their devices to witness the proceedings. Strangely, all the kids had managed to keep this present a secret, which is highly unusual for this house! So I thought I’d better comply, and opened the present.
Straight away I realised that it was by Demelsa Haughton (my husband had bought two others for me for Christmas). My immediate reaction was: Oh wow, I’ve not seen this one before…interesting. Then my eyes fell on the girl in the picture. My three year old was sitting next to me, so I turned to her, and said, “Ha! That looks a bit like Mummy…and you too!”
My eyes focussed on the apples on the tree, and then the one that was dangling off the tree, half eaten by the stalk. That threw me. I thought how weird: it’s just like my apple picture book (the one I’ve been working on for years and years!) By this point the kids were giggling, and my husband pointed out that he’d contacted Demelsa and asked her to make a picture for me.
Stunned was not the word!
My husband pointed out the level of detail-that he’d been working on in cahoots with Demelsa:
If you see the stack of books I’m standing on, all the titles relate to family members. The larger trees either side in the foreground are my parents.The glowing stars represent my three sisters. And the four trees near the hill represent my four children. Can you see the treble clef like swirls in the main tree? That’s to represent my love of listening to music. And in the house on the hill, I’m in the window working hard on a future bestseller 😉 Even the dress I’m wearing is my favourite colour! What I especially love is the change of the colour of the sky to show time passing. How clever is that?
I cannot believe the level of thought and detail that has gone into this wonderful piece, especially as Demelsa was working on it over the Christmas period.
So I’d like to thank my husband and children for coming up with such an original and thoughtful gift that I will treasure forever. You’ve surpassed yourselves! And moreover, I thank Demelsa from the bottom of my heart for producing such a magnificent piece. I absolutely love it. It’s special on so many levels: I can’t believe my favourite illustrator made a special something for little old me! The reaction from my friends and family on facebook was all extremely positive.
Thankyou Demelsa. I hope 2017 is your year to shine, I really do 🙂
If you’re on twitter, do look her up @demelsahaughton or find her on facebook!
Happy 2017 everyone 🙂
Pippa 11th January 2017