The Little Joyce collection follows a young girl through different biomes, encountering the animals that live there on the way. Mylo’s Monsters is a colourful story about monsters who show us not to judge other people on their appearances. Both collections are great for children of all ages and perfect for bedtime or family story time.
I can tell by reading Little Joyce that the story is very heartfelt and holds a special meaning for you; what inspired you to write these books?
The idea for these books came around at a difficult time last October when my grandmother passed, and two of my other grandparents also passed within a week of each other – it put into perspective that time is precious. The first book I wrote from the series was Little Joyce Rainforest Friends because when I was a child, my grandmother told me a similar story about an elephant, but I changed it to a little girl to honour her and her memory.
After writing the first book, I had an idea to look at the curriculum with my girlfriend (who’s also a teacher) and create an educational tool that uses the grammar and rhyme common for this age group to learn at school.
Have you always been interested in writing and storytelling, or is this a passion you found later in your life?
I have always had a passion for writing. I entered several short story competitions in the past, and I even won a school story competition; as a reward, they placed my story in the school magazine at the time. So it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed; I’ve had some fantastic English teachers who always encouraged me, my love for writing and storytelling has always been there.
In fact, my father just directed the horror film The Mount. I had the chance to edit the movie, and again the storytelling element was gratifying. I really enjoy exploring storytelling in different mediums, and this just happened to be the perfect way of immortalising and honouring my grandmother’s love for reading.
Did you plan Little Joyce to be a series of novels, or did you just plan to write Rainforest Friends?
With this project, it was just going to be the one book. It was something that I wanted to do for my grandmother, but once I completed it, I found I really relished the whole process and decided to create the other four books.
After the Little Joyce project, I took a little break but had a eureka moment, and Mylo’s Monsters just came naturally, so I was able to create the book quite quickly. That’s something I try to carry through all my projects. I won’t work on them until I feel like it comes easily and naturally to me.
Did you find any obstacles when writing the Little Joyce series, and can you tell us about them?
After writing Little Joyce Rainforest Friends, and I took her to different places, I didn’t want to repeat the same language. So one of the main struggles was keeping engagement, changing up the wording slightly and maintaining the use of rhyme in my story without it becoming monotonous. This can also be a challenge when you’re trying to adapt rhyme to a particular animal.
Who did the illustrations in the books?
I also illustrated these books, which was one of the toughest challenges – finding a simple but aesthetically pleasing style to the reader. There were several drafts but eventually, I settled on this style because there was something innocent and friendly about it.
I wanted to make sure that Joyce was always in the foreground while the background was subtle. The focus is Joyce and the animals without any other distractions in the story.
Talking about illustration – where did that passion start?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been drawing, doodling or sketching. As a child, I always took art classes and loved to draw. Later on, in my life at university, I did my degree in Computer Animation, so a lot of that was focused on being creative with illustration and drawing.
All of Aidan’s books are available on Amazon. If you are Gibraltar-based, you can also access them at the John Mackintosh Hall Library or get them for a discounted price and free delivery from his website: www.aidancharlesserra.com.