Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Musing on rejection and reviews

Searching through my studio for a picture today I found rejection letters from publishers for Tell Me a Dragon. One said "nice, but too whimsical for the current market". One said, " I like the idea of doing a dragon book with you, but this lacks any sense of narrative drive. The words serve only as a vehicle for what will be stunning images." So, how lovely to find this review, of the same book. Thanks are due to Frances Lincoln Ltd for having faith in both my writing and my painting and being very patient while I worked on The Snow Leopard and then Tell Me a Dragon.

Sometimes when I sit in my studio in my small cottage by the sea I wonder at how far my books travel. There are dragon books in Denmark, France, Sweden, Spain and America. 
And still a small dragon tugs at my thoughts, pulls at my hair. He wants his book now, his story. 
It is quiet. Dark outside and cold. Inside the house is warmed by the wood fire. I am painting  a fox and my hands smell of wood smoke.

I have had the chair where I sit to work for almost 30 years now. Before it became mine it was the barber's chair in Broadway in the Cotswolds. It has traveled with me, from the corner of a bedroom to the corner of a sitting room in Bath. It has been in a caravan in the garden that would rock when the wind blew, so much that I couldn't paint. And then it has moved around the house. Over the years the paint has rubbed off the arms and they have become smoothed and polished by touch.
Today I took delivery of a new chair. Not one to paint in, but one to sit and think and read in.


  1. your new chair looks so cosy and inviting, enjoy.

  2. What amazes me is how well the chair looks with the fox painting. I went into the shop to get a red velvet chair. I have red on the walls, a red rug. I came out having bought this one which is 'teal'. I also have a day bed that is in boxes. No spare room so when I have guests to stay I will sleep in my studio. Trouble is I get up really early and quite often feel like a short nap in the afternoons. Now I fear I will be rather too comfy, cozy and will dream away many an afternoon.
    Never had a chair like this before. Only bought it because certain feline fourlegs are NOT allowed in my studio, unless there are exceptional circumstances, or as they would say, unless I want to exploit them to promote a new book, or a painting.

  3. I love your new chair, Jac! And any glimpse of your studio is wonderful! It always looks so magical and enchanting..... It sounds like better news for Max, too - I do hope so, and all our paws are crossed here for his recovery; special cats indeed!

  4. Sorry, Maurice! Please accept my apologies - I am a little over-excited as your mums picture came back from the framers today, and is now above our fireplace.....I have never had such a thing of beauty, ever x

  5. Your books are certainly enjoyed in the U.S. I bought a bright, shiny new copy of Little Bear for my 2 yr old nephew in Sacramento, California for Christmas. Of course I read it before I wrwapped it and I hope he loves it as much as I did - I know his mother will!

  6. Tell Me A Dragon came to me in northern Ontario, in Canada because the pictues enchanted me and because I have friends whose lives are guarded by dragons. But my son came from London, England and saw it and said he wanted to read it to his young pupils; he is a teacher where the children are very young and new to UK and have had some frightening things happen in their lives and Chris thought the dragons might help them.