Following the publication of her latest children’s book, author and illustrator Ann Onymouse shares five things she’d like her readers to know.

The Boy Who Imagined and Found He Could Draw

The Boy Who Imagined and Found He Could Draw

After my first husband died, in his late seventies suffering from dementia, I felt really low and depressed; but I joined a writing group, as creative hobbies had always appealed to me. It was at one of the monthly meetings, a member talked about a novel he’d written for ‘NaNoWriMo:– Fifty Thousand Words in November’! I was so intrigued, the local library downloaded his book and I borrowed it! Diverted by the challenge, I wrote the first fifty thousand words of Roseita, Hamish and the Beast the following November (and received my certificate). It was in some ways, a lift at a time when I badly needed it.

I should explain that I was born overseas, in a relatively poor country, with different values and expectations. Perhaps this is why Roseita has, what may seem to be an unexpected ending… Like Roseita, I have also travelled aroung the world to Australia, New Zealand and Canada – waitressing in Sydney and Auckland; doing office work in Toronto. In all I’ve visited about 18 countries (though some only briefly) – and now I live in Somerset!

As I’d never stayed to take my A-levels when I was at school, I went back to studying on my return from Canada; and qualified as a teacher. I have to admit I always found the children’s creative writing and artwork of particular interest – even those who were not at all academic, could surprise one with their paintings! Perhaps this was partly what inspired The BOY Who IMAGINED… and Found He could DRAW!

About four years ago, I was very fortunate in meeting Fred. He has a very different background to me, in some way – having left school at 14 to work as a warehouse assistant. He stayed with the same firm and became a foreman. After we married, he very soon found he had an interest in creative writing – no, I didn’t have to badger him into it! The Conjuror’s Mouse was our first book together – also my first attempt at illustration! I have to say, it was great fun to do! Fred enjoys writing short humorous stories; Quick and Quirky was thought up and written by Fred, edited and illustrated by me!

As mentioned earlier, I have a particular interest in the fact that a child may be backward even, and yet able to draw surprisingly well. What after all is the criterion – except that we know what we, personally, like or others persuade us is goo, or we are educated into thinking is good… When my first husband was suffering from dementia, unable to do much, he drew a picture on his bedside table – a surprisingly interesting one – which I believe reveals that it’s possible to express oneself in drawing, singing too, even if the academic side is apparently non-existent. That is the theme behind our latest book, The BOY Who IMAGINED… and Found He could DRAW! Vapi discovers he has a strong point in drawing – and the old man with dementia finds he can still draw!

The BOY Who IMAGINED… and Found He could DRAW! is out now.