We are delighted to introduce thirteen-year-old, first-time author to Just Write For Kids; Pippa Dowling. Her debut picture book, Just Like Molly, is a sensitive yet powerful story of adapting to change in the face of loneliness, and having the confidence to make friends, particularly in a new environment. Pippa has written this book with heart and soul, blended with a touch of heartbreak and splash of playfulness. Scene-appropriate muted, and vivid watercolour illustrations by Sunshine reflect these aspects beautifully, making this book an all-rounded, delicious package of goodness. Welcome to the blog, Pippa! 🍦 😋
Congratulations on the publication of your first book, Just Like Molly! Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
Thank you! I think my main inspiration for this book came from my younger siblings’ cartoons. From the beginning I knew what type of art style I wanted the characters to be in, and that definitely came just from seeing children’s tv shows and children’s books. I never had an imaginary friend, so the inspiration didn’t come from that area.
What do you hope readers will gain from reading this book?
I hope readers will read this book and learn that they are not alone, and that there is always a friend out there for everyone. This is also a story of change, it would be great for people to learn to be open to change and moving on.
What is your favourite part?
I think my favourite part of the book is when the character Zoe is introduced. You can really begin to see through the art work that the main character has grown as a person and really started to break out of her shell. I also really like the art style where Molly can’t be found. I think the black and white really works well.
You are only thirteen years old and can call yourself a published author. Incredible! Tell us a bit about your journey. How were you discovered?
When I first wrote this story, I was 10, and it was a school project the class was doing. We had to write a children’s story. After I finished it I brought the story home to my mum and she was amazed. We tried a few places to get it published, but it was always too hard, either the cost was too much or I was underage. We nearly ended up deciding to just make it into an online self-made book, but after a little more research, we came across Empowering Resources. Really enjoy working with them.
Did you feel the publishing process was a supportive one? Were there any challenges you learned from along the way?
I loved working on the publication of my book. Both Jeremy and Naomi (my publishers) were really helpful and understanding. Working with my illustrator Sunshine was amazing too. I think the only challenge so far has been accepting how great my book really is, but apart from that, it has been really good.
Did you have much collaborative time with your illustrator, Sunshine? What was that like? What do you like about her work?
I loved working with Sunshine on the illustrations. It was definitely my favourite part of the process. We did all of the work over email, yet it felt like we were with her most of the time. I absolutely love the art in my book. I think the soft watercolours mixed with the vibrant palette really looks amazing.
What has the feedback / audience response been like so far?
The feedback on my book has been really good. Everyone is so supportive and have helped me through everything. My school has a copy of my book in the library and I have people daily coming up to me and telling me how good it is. It makes me really happy to see that people enjoy my book.
Have you always enjoyed writing? What books / authors have inspired you most?
Since I was very little I have enjoyed reading and writing. As a very small child I always had a book in my hand. Even now my favourite school subject is English and I read daily. Again, reading children’s books to my younger sisters inspired me to write the story I have, and given me my inspiration for the art style I aimed for when discussing it with my illustrator.
What advice would you give to young aspiring writers just like yourself?
I think the best advice you can give to someone who wants to become a writer and get a book published is to read. Reading helps so much with all of your English skills and it really pays off. Also make sure you never doubt yourself, it will only stop you and bring you down.
Thank you so much.
Pippa Dowling has a wonderful, creative imagination and loves using it to create fantastic role-playing games with her sisters. ‘Just Like Molly’ is Pippa’s first book, written at the age of ten, and published by Empowering Resources.