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I Saw Lamby Kissing Santa Claus!

TAUK Publishing not only had the pleasure of helping Jude Lennon publish her Lamby and Flossie’s Christmas Collection this month, we also had a great time at her book signing at Write Blend in Liverpool.  We had a chat with Jude about her latest children’s book.

Have you always had a physical launch for your books?

Yes (although two had to be online, but I still had some kind of interaction with the audience).

Reading one of her stories to a captive audience.

What are the benefits of having a physical launch?

You can celebrate the book with friends and family. You can speak directly to your readers and sign their books with a little message. Plus, you can give people the chance to ask questions, which most people love to do. Most importantly, you can see the children’s faces as you read—joyful!

Do you follow the same format for your children’s and adult books?

Generally speaking, yes, although there are more fluffy mascots at the children’s launches. However, it does depend on where I do them. If I do more than one launch in several places, I adapt as not everyone hosts the events like Bob at Write Blend. For the adult launches, Bob does a Q & A session, which works well for me and other authors too.

Tell us about the dress that you wore at the event.

I always like to have an outfit to match the theme of the book – I’ve dressed in everything from gym gear for Floga with Flossie to a pirate costume for Pirate Lamby and his Woolly Crew. For my adult launches, I try to get an outfit which reflects the cover either by colour or a theme.

Lamby and Flossie’s Christmas Collection is your seventh book. Are you surprised by how long it took to publish a Christmas book?

It’s the seventh Lamby book (23rd book in total). I’ve written Christmas-themed stories around Lamby and the Woolly Crew for years, but they were always for social media accounts. I loved the idea of a Christmas book, but I always had too many other stories asking to be published first. Plus, a Christmas book has a smaller selling window throughout the year. For some reason, this just seemed the right time.

 

TAUK author Andy Kenwright and his children having their book signed.You had to change one of your stories. Tell us what happened.

Yes, that was an exciting challenge. I’d sent my stories off to my BETA readers and my illustrator when a chat with fellow author Dave McCluskey flagged up the fact that Rudolph, his name, image, mention of him etc., is under copyright! This meant I needed express permission to include him in my story. This lead to a hasty re-write, and actually, I love the story as a result. It’s now totally unique to Lamby instead of using a generic theme. For everything, a reason!

You are part of the TAUK Publishing team and offer mentoring services. Do you find authors are challenged by the same things with children’s books?

The danger is to think that writing for children is easy. It’s a real responsibility as you are writing for future readers and writers and potential future authors and illustrators. Plus, if you are writing picture books with a limited word count, you need to make every word matter. You can’t just waffle on or the book will have finished and nothing will have happened. The thing to remember is whether you write for children or adults, some things remain key. Good characters, good plot, good writing.

Jude with Sue Miller

What did you read growing up?

I always had my nose in a book and still do. Once I was beyond Meg and Mog and Topsy and Tim, I read a lot of Enid Blyton. These are not always a popular choice now, but the adventures of the Famous Five were absolutely part of my childhood. I wanted to be George. I also loved the What Katy Did books, and I was hooked on Sweet Valley High in my early teenage years. Ironically, romance (key to Sweet Valley High) isn’t a genre I particularly read now.

What’s your biggest groan when you read other people’s work?

Poor editing, cliches, long monotonous passages that don’t lead anywhere and characters I don’t care about.

When you are not writing, what else do you do?

I’m a busy bee! I run a paid membership club for writers who want to make more time for their writing, stop procrastinating and get the words on paper. It’s called Pick Up Your Pen and has been running for two years. Over that time, we’ve had a range of excellent guest speakers, including literary agents, editors, and bookshop owners, who have all given wonderful advice to the group. Three members have published books (or even two) in that time.

I also run a Facebook group called Extra Slice of Lennon, which is a book, culture, theatre, music and art appreciation group. We have a monthly online book club and also run a Jolabokaflod (Book Flood) each year members who wish to take part, send a Secret Santa book to another member to be opened on Christmas Eve.

When I’m not doing that, I’m in schools with Little Lamb Tales delivering storytelling sessions, author talks, creative writing workshops and more.

I also run a CIC called Split Persepectivz with fellow author Natalie Reeves Billing. We create literacy boxes full of creativity, fun, books and activities under the name Builder Book. Our latest is the Builder Book Boat of Hope Box, linked to Bernie Hollywood OBE’s mental health for children campaign.

Santa gave the Builder Book Boat of Hope Box to each child.

What’s next for Jude Lennon?

Good question! Lots of people have asked about a follow-up to Kintsugi, and I have to be honest, I never thought there would be one. For me, it was always complete, but maybe I’ll look at that. My next challenge is co-writing a Builder Book Eurovision-themed story with Natalie Reeves Billing. I’m also looking forward to the next writing day in the Whirligig Woods in May 2023 and, of course, the next TAUK Publishing writing retreat.

If you would like to contact Jude about any of the services she offers, please use the links below:

Pick Up Your Pen website https://littlelambpublishing.co.uk/product/pick-up-your-pen-membership/

School Visits https://littlelambpublishing.co.uk/author-visits-in-schools/

Builder Book https://www.splitperspectivz.com/

Extra Slice https://www.facebook.com/groups/713735199127896

 

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