As a child, whenever one of my teeth fell out (or was yanked out, more likely), I always looked forward to a note from the tooth mouse. He left money for my older sister and me, usually 20 cents, 50 cents or if we were really lucky, a whole R1 coin, shaped like a bright silver moon, which was quite a princely sum for a six-year-old back then. I remember wondering why he called himself “Alfonso” and what an odd-sounding name that was. Needless to say, the name stuck and years later I decided it was the perfect subject for an early-chapter reading book.
My initial idea was for my father to illustrate the book (now available on Amazon), given that he was the inspiration behind it. Even though he is quite a gifted artist, time constraints and work pressures meant that he wasn’t able to help me, which is when my mother tactfully suggested I approach Wendy Paterson, a former teacher colleague of hers who is now a full-time illustrator. (Their chance meeting at a shopping centre was definitely a divinely-led coincidence!) Wendy is marvellous and really caught the spirit of the book, working on despite a family tragedy and doing an amazing job at bringing Alfonso and Pete to life.
E-publishing is an adventure for me – I love the fact that it’s so quick to get your book published, although I do long for the day when my books will be available as hard copies which parents can enjoy with their children while cuddling on the couch. There is something so intimate about reading to your children and sharing the joy of fantasy realms with them. But what is great about publishing on Amazon is that you can buy a lot of books at great prices, which is ideal when you’re travelling or if your child is a voracious reader. So I suppose there are advantages to both traditional printing and e-publishing.
I’m hoping there will be more e-books appearing in the months ahead. Already I am planning to publish a magical pony chapter book set in Lesotho which is called Moonshine. And perhaps if Alfonso does well, there will be a sequel or two. We’ll have to wait and see. Watch this space!