UPDATE (8 AUG) Only One Of Me

Donate here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/onlyoneofme

What a wonderful whirlwind #OnlyOneOfMe is turning out to be! Yesterday (Tuesday 7 August) was a day for starting balls rolling. A lot of balls. BIG balls. All rolling at the same time.

Thank heaven for Jane and Roger, my mum and dad, who spent the last two days at my house looking after my kids while I’ve been practically chained to my laptop and mobile co-ordinating the project. It’s been intense but it’s all coming together – hooray!

First thing on Tuesday we had a three-way Skype call to introduce our illustrators to one another and to Lisa.

Lisa and her gorgeous girls, Ava-Lily and Saffia came round to my house (she lives a couple of streets away from me in Frome, Somerset). Meanwhile, Tim joined us from his holiday in Italy (sorry, Tim!) and Catalina managed to find someone to look after her own eighteen month old daughter so she could squeeze in our chat before attacking two looming deadlines.

Before Lisa joined us we discussed a lot of the technicalities: the pros and cons of human over animal characters, layout considerations (when and if to use double page spreads or whether single pages and vignettes would be better suited), use of white space, typefaces or hand lettering – the list goes on.

Each and every pen stroke in a picture book represents a thousand decisions, deliberations and choices. For #OnlyOneOfMe, we have to make as many of those choices up front in very little time with the confidence to commit to them.

Catalina and Tim need to have all their work finished and delivered by August 30th. Artwork will be delivered to our printing partner, CPI Antony Rowe of Melksham on September 7th. #OnlyOneOfMe will be published by Graffeg on September 21st. Yes, I do mean 2018.

I hear a collective *clunk* as the jaws of publishing folk everywhere hit desks. We can do this! Thankfully we are able to call on the expertise of our charity partners WHY We Hear You to ensure our decisions tie in with best practise in cancer counselling. (More on that anon!)

When Lisa and Saffia joined us (Ava Lily went to play with my kids, supervised by legends Jane and Roger), we talked about Lisa’s wishes and dreams for her book. How does she see the books looking? What little quirks of her family life can Catalina and Tim draw upon to bring the reality of family life to the scenes? All the while, baby Saff demolished a choc chip brioche and a croissant. Would you look at the adorable curl on top of her head?!

Once our call was over I inhaled a cup of tea and made contact with the small but perfectly formed team at WHY We Hear You. I needed to update them on our progress and get another big ball rolling – the #OnlyOneOfMe Launch Party needs planning! Again, Lisa’s wishes for this are key and we’re lucky to have WHY’s resident fundraising and event planner on board to pull together a blinder of a bash. We’re going to have copies of the book at the party so guests can buy and donate them directly to charity.

We still need all the help we can get to make all of this happen! How can you help? So many ways!


Donate! Funding currently stands at 75%. Every donation basically gives us some float and budget to pull all of this together. Thank you for your donations! Every single penny will go directly to making this happen and if we end up with any spare, they’ll go to printing and distributing additional copies.

Spread the word! Share links to the fundraiser (cut and paste this text: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/onlyoneofme) and to this blog, talk about the project – and talk about what is underlying it. We need to be open and brave about death; it’s part of life. It’s not easy, it’s not fun – but if Lisa can do it, so can we.

Hold an auction! Perhaps you can raise funds to donate by selling or offering something special? Many thanks to Steven Lenton, Paula Bowles, David Roberts, Sophy Henn, James Brown and Anne Booth who are already on this or planning it! Apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone – BUSY BRAIN.

Send encouragement! Please cheer Catalina and Tim along as they head into what is sure to be a very intense few weeks. They deserve all the love and applause they can get.

I also want to thank my agent, the wonderful James Catchpole who has not only been pulling strings behind the scenes to get this project running but has also been shadowing everything I’m doing so that I can hand over some of this next week while I’m in Canada. (Timing! I’ve had a holiday planned for a year, and it has to coincide with the BIGGEST ROLLING BALLS OF MY LIFE).

Loads more happened yesterday too, but this post is already long enough and you’re now on top of the main things.

Next steps

Catalina and Tim are working on their ideas and roughs ahead of meeting in person next Tuesday at Walker Books in London. It’s easier for them to get to than Cardiff, where our publisher Graffeg are based and Walker have very kindly offered them work space, lunch and any guidance they need on layouts. AMAZING!

– Lisa is at Bath RUH for a lengthy chemo session today, she’s glad to have a launch party and a book to help plan to distract her from the tedium and pain. (We’re all thinking of you, Lisa!) She’s also talking to Hello! Magazine about the project – sssh!

I’m meeting with WHY We Hear You to make sure we squeeze every bit of advice and guidance out of them before starting the real work.

Graffeg and CPI Antony Rowe are in talks to make sure everything runs smoothly, all the while pulling together press releases and marketing plans.

I’ll be continuing to rattle the bucket and drum up more donations. Forgive me for sounding like a broken record!

James Catchpole will be underpinning all of this like the total legend he is.

– Loads of other stuff too. I’ll shut up now.