Today, I am hosting Harri Romney who talks about her brillliant books and how she came to write. Take it away Romni!
I’d always had the ambition to write one book since I was little, which never seemed to fade. I was called Peter Pan and refused to grow up, while remaining excited about the same things that children are enthusiastic about. When my brother in law passed away unexpectedly (he was fairly young), I decided I was going to achieve personal goals, which included writing just the one book.
After finishing my first story, my head was buzzing with more ideas and titles. It was interfering with my sleeping and life generally; I had to start keeping a notepad nearby at all times. That first story became part of the first series, and so on…
I tend to find how I work best in the first instance, is when daft titles leap into my head – the storylines will eventually follow. I write about experiences that children and myself get excited about, such as celebrations, fairy tales, mythical characters, snowy scenery and so on… anything which inspires me to write.
It just happens too, that I really do adore narrative verse, so I choose to write most of my stories in this format. I have to be honest in admitting that I have a quirky sense of humour, therefore like my work to remain random with a bit of an edge to it (aiming where possible, to achieve a grin from the adults who perhaps have to read these books in the first place). Within my books, ‘fluff’ is banned as much as possible.
You may expect to find fluff, when one of my main characters is inappropriately called ‘Fairy’, but he is in fact a gruff flying boar, but with pretty wings. My favourite creations, will always be the characters such as Lord Tarquinius Snout or Wicked Witch Gregoria Rose, which have immense mischievous spirit (or aren’t what you expect). This philosophy helps me personally too, because I have to illustrate my own work. If I’m not interested in what I’m writing, then I will find it much harder to concentrate on illustrating the entire book afterwards. Examples of my illustrative work can be found on the link http://www.harriromney.com/gallery-4/ .
I dislike technology, so prefer to use traditional pencils and paint pens rather than Wacom technology, but afterwards, it’s the technology that enhances colours and removes any smudging, before publishing. However, because picture books (especially those written in rhyming verse by unknown authors), are very expensive to produce, they’re often too risky for publishers to take a risk on, so I’ve rarely sent manuscripts off to agents – If I have attempted to, then I’ve received a “Thanks… but no thanks.” reply back in return. For this reason, I became an indie author and first published on Kindle instead.
I have since learnt in reality, that picture books which are only available in eBook, don’t seem to be too popular among parents for numerous reasons. Paperback or hardback books remain the preferred presentation for children’s picture books. Hence earlier this year, I decided to publish my stories in paperback, using a micropublisher and the print on demand facility. ‘Clunky Monkey’, ‘A Dog called Dog’ and more recently ‘Lord Tarquinius Snout and the Vacuum of Doom’ are available to purchase online in paperback, through most main retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc. In conclusion, I have continued to publish some eBooks too, such as ‘Wicked witch Gregoria Rose books: Her Nosey Nose’ and ‘The Rich Witch’, while not forgetting ‘Beware, Beware, There’s a Shadow Out There’, which is coming out in October. Further details regarding my present publications can also be found on www.harriromney.com.