We’re delighted to welcome back our good friend, author Kelly Louise Jarris, to share her wonderfully creative journey with her newest picture book, The Postman’s My Mate. Kelly’s stories, including Imagine Our Special Place and Cheese On Toast, consistently come from the heart and at the same time spread joy, fun and thoughtfulness that resonate with readers in many ways. It is with pleasure to learn more about this latest title that celebrates outback living, where limited resources certainly do not equate to endless possibilities and unlimited imagination.

Thanks so much for this charming story, Kelly, and for your vivacious illustrations, Natalie! 🙂

About the Author

Kelly Louise Jarris is the author of several picture books. Her first book, Wonderful Wishes, is a rhyming bedtime story that encourages child-parent discussions about sleep and dreams. Her title, Imagine Our Special Place, is an invaluable resource for parents in discussing issues around palliative care with children.

Kelly’s other books include Cheese On Toast and Seasons of You, with her most recent, The Postman’s My Mate. Kelly writes from her experiences with her own kids and from the heart.

Find Kelly Louise Jarris at her website: Kelly Louise Jarris Books and on Facebook and Instagram.

About the Illustrator

Natalie Herington is based on Bunjalung country in Northern NSW Australia. She has a background in graphic design and a passion for creativity, and is an Australian environment artist.

Natalie lives immersed in nature with her little family in a sustainable tiny house on wheels. There is never a dull moment there at Forest Farm, with countless wildlife encounters and a growing menagerie of rescued pets, their daily interactions provide her with endless inspiration.

Natalie Herington can be found at her website: Natalie Herington Bird Valley Illustration and Design | Australian watercolour illustrator and on Facebook and Instagram.

The Postman’s My Mate is available for purchase at KLJ Books and through online and independent bookstores.

Congratulations, Kelly and Natalie, on the release of your newest, imaginative picture book, The Postman’s My Mate! This is a book about a young resourceful child using his imagination in the best ways possible from the postman’s special delivery!

Kelly, where did the inspiration for this book come from?

We are a fairly creative family, back when our boys were younger I always made sure to have a craft box around full of pom-poms, glitter, glue and recycled paper.

I would spend those cold rainy days with our kids thinking up fun things to make. That’s where the idea for The Postman’s My Mate came from.

What’s your favourite thing about arts and crafts, and how do you engage your own and others’ imaginations?

My favourite thing about arts and crafts is how relaxing and therapeutic it can be. I also love seeing the joy and pride on children’s faces when they share what they’ve created.

During my author visits, I often incorporate a small activity tailored to the age group I’m working with at the time. This helps engage their imaginations and makes the experience even more memorable for them.

What do you hope readers will gain from this book, and do you have a favourite part?

I hope children will learn to think outside the box, literally. Imagination is a crucial part of creativity, and the book reflects both of these elements.

My favourite part is the page that features all of Charlie’s thoughts on the detail of the hat. Natalie did a fantastic job of making that page interesting and vibrant.

Your illustrator, Natalie Herington, brings such joy, energy and wondrous possibilities to every page! Please tell us about your collaboration, and what you love most about her work.

Originally, I wanted an illustrator who could really showcase our vast Australian flora and fauna. After sifting through countless portfolios, I decided to reach out to the kid lit community for help. It was here I found Natalie’s gorgeous watercolour paintings.

I’m a big believer in letting creatives do what they do best, and giving her creative freedom definitely made for a better book. During our first Zoom call, I could see she really cared for nature and the environment. She also made it clear how much she loved the manuscript and couldn’t wait to get started, I knew that kind of detail and passion would shine through her work, and it certainly did.

What are your best writing and/or self-publishing tips for aspiring writers?

I think it’s vital to hire professionals, especially if you are going down the self-publishing route. You are literally competing with traditional publishers who have all the experts on hand, so it’s absolutely necessary to get the proper help when creating your book to give it the best chance of being picked up by bookstores. There are thousands of books out there; you need yours to stand out for all the right reasons, not the wrong ones.

Natalie, can you share a bit about your illustration process and what you enjoyed most about this project?

When Kelly described the story to me, I instantly began to see the illustrations, and I built on these ideas by going for walks and observing what was around me. As the story is set in sheep country, I had to do a little research but was able to take a lot of inspiration from my own surroundings. For example, the postman’s car is our beat-up work ute for our farm.

I used locally handmade watercolour paints by RUCO, as these have different textures. Some are grainy, which were perfect for capturing the dusty outback feel.

I loved that Kelly first sent me the manuscript without illustration notes so I could develop my own ideas before hearing hers. This actually cemented the fact we would work well together as we were then able to bounce ideas around and see what worked best. Kelly was very open to ideas and was so creative. It was really fun to build on her words with another storyline shown in pictures of Charlie’s emu friend feeling lonely.

Anything else you’d like to share about yourself or the celebration of your engaging picture book, The Postman’s My Mate?

The book will be available on the website to purchase www.kljbooks.com and at any good bookstore.

Thanks so much, Kelly and Natalie, for sharing the inspiration and joy behind your heartwarming story! 🙂

Join in this imaginative adventure with Kelly Louise Jarris and Natalie Herington and their creative and hands-on picture book, The Postman’s My Mate, delivering the gift of joy to readers across the blogosphere!

#authorinterview #illustratorinterview #thepostmansmymate #imagination #sustainability #picturebooks #justkidslit

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: