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August 2007, Interview for Kino News in Japan

Question: How did we get the idea for the Rainbow Weaver…

As an art exercise, instead of doing a painting, a tutor recommended I tried drawing an illustration in ink.  For fun, I drew three sprites climbing through a tree to fairyland.  That night, my seven year old daughter couldn’t sleep, and my husband was away.  So she crawled into my bed.  We often play a game to get to sleep, where I prompt Tippi to make up fairy stories.  Desperate to doze, I asked her to come up with a storyline based on my illustration, and sleepily my daughter started spinning an amazing tale. She came up with the wonderful idea of a goblin being chased by the fairies because he had stolen a magical cloak….   I asked her, “What was the most magical thing it could be made from?” And she replied, “the thread of a rainbow”.  When I asked what powers it had, Tippi replied when he wears it, it sucks the colour from whatever it passed leaving a world of ghostly grey.  As we wove the story along, and ended it with a great moral twist, I couldn’t sleep for excitement.  Next day, I started working on a set of illustrations to tell the tale - and later crafted the words, with creative input from Tippi.

What did you do before being a published author?

Many crazy things!  Although I studied advertising at college, I got a job in the circus as a cowgirl spinning a rope, which gave me an Equity union card and lead to a career in acting during my twenties.  In my thirties, I mainly worked as a radio and press journalist and as a freelance advertising copywriter.  Now in my forties, happily married and leaving the rat race behind, I’ve turned to painting and photography – and creatively, I have never been happier.  As for my daughter, she’s a cute little freak!  Never with her nose out of a book, she wrote her first article for a magazine at 7 years old, and through competitions, has already had three poems and a short story published.  She also adores illustrating too – and does great cartoons.

Favourite authors?

Mine… corny I know, but truthfully, I most admire JK Rowling for the detail of her incredible fantasy world.  My favourite book remains Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. At the moment, Tippi adores Lemony Snicket, the series of Unfortunate Events, and  Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaugrean. But also, surprisingly for her age, Shakespeare. A year ago, I caught her reading under the bed covers, but on demanding that she hand over the book, I was speechless to see she was secretly reading my old school copy of Macbeth.  She explained, “I love the rhythm’ even though I don’t always understand the words” and has since read and seen about six Shakespearean plays, determined to understand them.

When did you start painting, and where can we see your art?

The art side is so exciting at the moment – It’s all so weird.  I only started professionally two years ago, when I painted a picture for my kitchen wall because I couldn’t find anything to match the décor!   Amazingly, visitors wanted to know who the artist was, and commissions followed.  Then a whirl of agents, then exhibitions. It’s been a wonderful, unexpected ‘late in life’ change of career direction which I’m so grateful for. Currently, I’m doing lots of private commissions with an unusual interior design edge - echoing interesting features and objects in the room into my paintings.  www.russellartist.com   But, I suspect as a result of the forthcoming book,  I’m now getting a lot of requests for illustrations.  Working from photographs sent in, I’ve had all sorts of commissions  - from pet cats and people’s houses, to fun pictures of their children redrawn as fairies.

Question: What next in publishing?

I’ve already done some work on the second Tillie’s Tales of the Rainbow Realm and Tippi has been asked to write and illustrate a series of books completely on own.  But right now, I’m struggling to meet a Christmas deadline, as I’ve also been commissioned to write a grown-up novel called Fat Chance – due out next summer.

 

Sky TV

See the interview with Lyndsay and Tippi on Sky Television

 

Big Thumbs Up from Waterstones...

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Waterstones, Nick Black

Bookseller review

Nick Black, WATERSTONE'S RICHMOND

4 out of 5

"A fantastic title intended to bridge the gap between picture books and chapter books. With an innovative use of font and beautiful sketch-style illustrations this one is ideal for reading out loud. When an evil hobgoblin starts draining the colour from our world, young Tillie must travel to a land of sprites and magic to stop him. A great read from a mother and daughter team."

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