THE FESTIVE SEASON IS UPON US!
And we’re super excited to introduce our second edition of our new Frugi Time series; Bedtime Stories! We’ll be hosting a range of amazing children’s authors who will be reading their favourite books, perfect for helping get your little ones ready for bedtime. So snuggle up and get cosy in your Frugi PJs, before you head to the land of nod!
For our second Bedtime Story we’ve been joined by writer, illustrator, printmaker and entrepreneur Rachel Bright (you can find Rachel over on Instagram @rachelbrightbooks), reading her book All I Want For Christmas. Enjoy!
DON’T FORGET TO SHARE YOUR LITTLE ONES ENJOYING BEDTIME STORIES WITH US @WELOVEFRUGI USING #FRUGIBEDTIMESTORIES
We chat to Rachel Bright, author and illustrator of All I Want For Christmas
“Hi! I’m Rachel and I’ve been drawing and writing stories ever since I could hold a pencil! Somehow, through the magic mix of passion, purpose and perseverance I now get to draw and write for a living. I still have to pinch myself to check I’m not dreaming sometimes!
I have been an author and illustrator of children’s books for 15 years and now have over 26 published books out there in the world, including The Lion Inside collection (illustrated by Jim Field), The Love Monster collection (illustrated by me) – which has now leapt off the page and onto the screen as an animated series on CBeebies, as well a the new Peter Rabbit Books (illustrated by Nicola Kinnear) and, of course, the book I’m sharing with you: All I want for Christmas (I illustrated this one and had ALOT of fun doing it!). There are 100 penguins on one of the pages!
I love wearing lots of different life hats and when I’m not creating stories, I also run a card and gift collection called ‘The Brightside’ and am in the process of setting up a health retreat here in gorgeous Dorset, where I live on a forest smallholding with my partner, two beautiful young daughters (7 and 3), our ridiculously cute (and tiny) miniature sausage dog puppy (Neo), a ginormous cat, Magic and several chickens.
I describe myself as a plant-powered professional optimist, as I love to look for the light in all situations and I’m passionate about nature (being in it and adding positively to it!). I also run around a lot in nature – including the odd ultramarathon every now and then.”
When did you write your first book and what encouraged you to become an author?
I remember very clearly the moment I knew this was what I wanted to do more than anything. I’d trained in art and design all the way through to my degree (I studied Graphic Design) and I knew I wanted to do something creative but then, one day, I was on the long to train/tube commute to my job in central London…doing the thing I always did to escape the squeeze and crunch of it all…dive into my imagination by drawing and writing . One day, a story for children came flowing out and BAM! That was it…I could see my future ahead of me!
Of course…I had no idea (at the time) how to really make that dream a reality, so I took A LOT of interesting turns along the way (I was to go on to have several interesting jobs in between such as a stint as an air hostess with Virgin Atlantic, TV Extra work (which included being taken hostage by daleks on Dr Who!), running a gardening business and working at an ad agency), but when I signed up for a Master’s Degree in Printmaking in Bristol, somehow everything began to fall into place. I had an exhibition of some of my work in the city and an acquisitions editor at Puffin spotted my work and asked me to get in touch. That led to me pitching my picture book ideas at their offices on The Strand (not sure I’ve ever been more nervous for anything in my life!). Which in turn led to my first book, ‘What Does Daddy Do?’, which was published in summer 2009. You can imagine how much jumping up and down I did that day!
What inspired you to write All I Want For Christmas?
This book has such a special place in my heart because it’s the one I was working on when I became a mother for the first time and my whole world just exploded with love! Now, I had a brand new little person to read my stories to and as I wrote it and illustrated it, I was thinking of her and the magic of all our Christmases together to come.
My favourite things to write about are… Love, kindness and stuff that makes you laugh.
I usually find my inspiration in… every moment. It’s literally everywhere.
The best part of writing a book is… that amazing feeling when you know where the story is going and the words are leading you there. Sometimes you’re playing (or wrestling!) with the words and all of a sudden they fall into step – it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s also pretty cool when you get to hold that idea in your hands as a book.
My favourite thing about books is… they are magical portals into a million other worlds. Especially picture books. There is just something so special about snuggling up with your little one to dive into an adventure together. It’s cosy and exciting all wrapped into one.
Reading is important because… it puts a spark under the fire of imagination. And with imagination literally anything is possible. All great change and invention in the world began with an idea. Reading is like exercising that idea muscle…the more you do it…the more the world opens up before you.
My favourite bedtime story to read to my children is… I can’t possibly pick one! We have literally hundreds…and they are always shifting and changing. But if you really made me…I’d think I’d pick ‘Oh the places you’ll go’ by Dr Suess. It’s a parable of life.
My favourite bedtime story as a child was… Funnily enough I don’t remember picture books, but my favourite story of all time is a young chapter book called ‘The Neverending Story’. Utterly Magical. And now I’m reading it to my daughter!
What advice would you give to aspiring young writers? Don’t wait until you think something’s perfect. Start now. Write everyday. Show as many people as possible and never give up. If you have words in your soul…the world will hear them.
Thank you, Rachel!
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