When I published the first Burly & Grum book 'Beyond the Forest' in May last year I did so because, quite simply, I wanted to learn the process of publishing. I'd barely even heard of kindles so grappling with formatting, editing, social media, creating a website, etc was an immense learning curve for me.
It was also addictive and a few months later I published the second Burly & Grum book and then the third. That was it, I thought, I have my trilogy - three books available in ebook and in print, something to be proud of.
But far from being the end of my journey, it was only the beginning.
Somewhere along the line I discovered that I'm simply incapable of sitting back and waiting for the books to be discovered. Sometimes, yes, I'm limited in what I can do because I work full time and don't have a great deal of money (master of the understatement me...) but I have an incredibly strong sense of purpose in making the Burly and Grum books as successful as possible. This is for two good reasons; firstly, I owe so many people who have helped me along the way - first and most importantly, Rob Jones the artist who, luckily (or scarily depending on your perspective...) is on the same wavelength as me, and has brought my characters to life, but there's also Stuart Wakefield, Richard Farr, Stephen Alexander, the staff and supporters of the charity Born Free - each one has helped me without asking for anything in return. Burly and Grum has to be successful so that I can repay them with more than my most sincere and humble thanks.
The second reason is the simple fact that I love Burly and Grum, Max, Grum's brothers, Daffodil, Mike and the Great Forest and the quirky world they live in. I'm a bit of a lost cause when it comes down to it and the truth is I'll probably be creating their/my own world for a long, long time to come.Earlier this week I spoke to Pat Scullion. Last year Pat gave up a well paid, secure job in IT in order to start a degree in Digital Media. He's got great imagination, great humour and I'm delighted to say that he's still a big kid at heart - he's the perfect person to help me improve the Burly and Grum website. Talking to him made me realise just how much I still want to do. I want children to step through a door and discover the wonderful Burly and Grum world, to walk in the Great Forest, explore the Secret City, to have a look around Burly's cave and slide down Mike's shiny red slide - don't worry, they won't have to eat crispy fried earwigs... or maybe they should...? I want a website that is interactive, fun and exciting, that has bells and whistles and a lot more besides, and with Pat's skill and imagination I'm sure all that won't be a problem (no pressure there Pat!)
But there's more! Yes, Pat also does voiceovers and is going to help me create audio books. How cool is that?! Quite how he's going to squeeze in his degree I don't know,but the thing is, once you start thinking and being creative, you just have to keep going!
So, when you create a whole new world how do you know when to stop? The answer is - I don't have a clue, I'm not even sure it's possible to stop because the reality is that I think I've barely begun to create my Burly and Grum world. It's just as well really that I was born with a certain doggedness about me and along the way discovered some pretty incredible and talented friends (who, at some point in the future, I will pay back!) to join me on my journey. Exciting, isn't it?!