Mozzie and Midgie (published by Working Title Press) is the first picture book text I have ever written - provided you don't count one that I wrote under a different name, and that I will reveal to you one day. Oh yes, do keep following this blog if you want to learn something of the cut-throat world of publishing.
Sandy Okalyi, a Queensland artist, did a series of pictures involving the adventures of two spoonbills. Here's one of the best ones. And it doesn't even appear in the book. (You see how lucky you are to read this blog?)
I liked the pictures a lot, especially those two spoonbills, that reminded me of silent comic Buster Keaton.
But there wasn't really a story to go with them. Publisher Jane Covernton asked me to write a text. Jane is the one who decided to publish my title, Sister Madge's Book of Nuns, 25 years ago. This was an insane act that has earned Jane my undying devotion.
I did six drafts of a story about the spoonbills - Mozzie and Midgie - before Jane and Sandy were happy. To me it seemed unfair that the spoonbills lived in one of the most colourful environments on earth, and yet they were black and white. This is what triggered the story. The spoonbills try to find ways of making themselves more colourful and glamorous.
But nothing seems to work.
In the end, they ...
... well, you'll have to see the book. It was fun to do. Sandy Okalyi is a newcomer to children's books, and a great talent. She deserves to win a lot of awards. Please make sure she does.