Where do the Ideas Come From? by James Hewison – Guest Post
Today on the blog we welcome author James Hewison, with his guest post ‘Where do the Ideas Come From?‘, featuring two of his children’s books.
James Hewison is an author and illustrator of children’s books. He has written five books—two middle grade novels and three picture books—all exploring central themes of friendship, worthy struggle, and the pursuit of happiness.
Where do the Ideas Come From?
I am often asked this question. Perhaps it’s the novelist in me, but it seems easier to make up a fictional answer than to give the real one.
I created a machine learning algorithm that calculates the satisfying story journeys from past best-sellers applied to a popular or controversial context. In some way, I wish that were true. But there would be little fun in that.
The truth is that there are ideas for stories everywhere. The best ideas seem to be a combination of smaller themes mashed together in a pot and simmered down to a rich gravy. In fiction, an author gets to make up the recipe. This means some idea-gravy tastes absolutely horrible and, if served, will find its way into the nearest napkin. Most ideas are somewhere on the scale between pleasant and pretty good, but need some work before they deserve a spot on the tasting plate. And then there are those batches of idea gravy that just blow your mind with flavour. The kind that you could eat all on their own like a decadent soup, and lick the bowl clean. The latter make the stories worth publishing.
With that in mind, I thought it would be best to give an answer to this question in context. I have two books coming out in the next few weeks and the ideas came from two very different places. This is where those ideas came from.
Find My Wow
The idea for this book popped into my head towards the end of a lockdown period earlier this year. Like many other people around the world, my family and I were forced into isolation. Unlike others, we had just moved to Thailand so that my wife could teach at an international school which my children could attend (a long held dream of hers). We arrived only a few weeks before lockdown.
As the restrictions eased, we all felt flat and seemed to have misplaced our passions. Our energy and desire for meeting new people and trying new things was hiding somewhere. I know from my work as a pharmacist that this phenomenon can happen to a person at any age and at any time. Kids can struggle just as much as adults. But the best treatment is often to get out there and start doing things, even if you don’t feel like it at first, and often you don’t.
Once I saw this happening to my family and hearing about it from so many other parents and children, the story just poured out of me over the space of two days. Then I decided to make it rhyme and added illustrations (which took much longer). A Primary School Librarian I know through my wife (a teacher) was kind enough to read it to some of her students. She loved it and so did the kids. We think it’s best for ages 6-10.
Having lost his WOW, Blue seeks help from a quirky friend called Fred who will not quit until Blue gets his wow back. Fred whisks Blue away on a rhyming quest to find his wow. Soon, Blue discovers that doing something, even if it seems silly at first, is so much better than doing nothing at all.
If you like Dr Seuss, you won’t want to miss this quirky rhyming adventure. The ebook is only 99 cents for a limited time and you can get it on Amazon here: getbook.at/findwow
Marvin’s Magnificent Moustache
When I was a kid, my father told me a story about a man who could fly using his moustache as wings. That was the extent of his story, and as silly and simple as it seemed, I loved it and it remained a fond memory and a fascinating idea. Last year, my father asked me if I would like to build a story around his idea and I jumped at the chance.
I thought for a long time about it. Around that time, my son was suffering from some unnecessary tension at school caused by less-than-friendly classmates. But all he really needed to do was be his normal self, and so did the other kids, and everyone would be happier. I injected this idea into the story. The tension elements added a bit of drama and humour, gave the story a beginning and helped to form a strong ending. Then I added all the colourful illustrations and now it’s ready to read. This one is also for ages 6-10.
After a crowd laughs at him for tripping over his moustache, a man discovers he can use it to fly but keeps it a secret, only to be thrust into a choice between his secret and the life of a girl he could save.
The release date is 1st August but you can pre-order the ebook—also for only 99 cents—here: getbook.at/amz-marv-mo
You can also get one of my picture ebooks for FREE when you sign up for my newsletter. The book is called Beware the Bear. Sign up and get it here: www.jameshewison.com/signup
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