How would you describe your debut picture book, The Star in the Forest?
The Star in the Forest is the story of two sisters, Maisie and Pip, who venture into a nearby forest one night to find the source of a mysterious light that has fallen from the sky. On one level itis an adventure story that takes the reader alongside the sisters as they navigate their way through the dark woodlands and encounter nocturnal creatures on their way to finding the fallen star. But really at the heart of the story, is the sister’s relationship and how together they learn together to mindfully notice the wonder in the ordinary and extraordinary around them.
Where did your inspiration for The Star in the Forest come from?
The main inspiration for The Star in the Forest was Pollok Park, a beautiful country park in Glasgow that is nearby my studio. I have spent countless hours walking in the park which is full of much of the wildlife found in the book, and one night when I was walking through the park at dusk, I started to imagine two little sisters exploring through the trails. When I began writing the story, I also came across the amazing meteorite collection in the National Museum of Scotland (apparently approx. 20,000 meteors fall across the earth every year!) which also quickly fed into the shaping of the story.
After studying Fine Art and English Literature as an undergraduate, what made you want to become a children’s book illustrator?
I think really it was quite simply my love of story that drew me to making children’s books. In particular I love the way children’s books allow me to create stories through both words and images in one integrated place. When I was first beginning to create my own stories I also came across exciting children’s book makers, such as Beatrice Alemagna, Jon Klassen, Tove Jansson and Kitty Crowther, all of who greatly inspired me and allowed me to see how beautiful and innovative children’s books could be.