Anne Vickers, the author of Animals of The Ark released her book in January 2020. We wanted to catch up with the new author and see how life had been treating her since she was published.
Did you always dream of becoming an author?
I never believed I could become an author but it is all very exciting! I used to write rhymes about my favourite animals when I was a very small girl but that faded out as I got older.
What was your first job?
I joined the famous Lucy Clayton Modelling Agency in Oxford Street when I was 19 and that was my life for the next several years until I got married and moved to Sussex, where my son Peter was born. With two dogs and a wayward Siamese cat, there was not much thought about writing, though I began to enjoy making up rhymes again to amuse Peter and his young friends. I also decided to get behind the camera instead of in front of it, so I studied photography and set up a small portrait studio.
How did you come about writing your book? Was that your intention or did you start writing for fun?
Writing was all just for fun and I was making up rhymes to amuse Peter and his friends and cousins, and encouraging them to have fun drawing animal pictures to go with the stories.
What was your life like before you became an author?
With Peter off to boarding school, I moved back to London where I took a degree with the Open University and opened a fashion photography studio in Wigmore Street in the West End.
Later, I retired to the lovely old city of Chichester where I live with my pet poodle, Kira, and am lucky enough to have members of my family nearby.
Did you face any struggles before becoming an author? If so, how did you overcome them?
The writing was not a struggle – it was all good fun. The problem was in finding an illustrator who could bring Noah and my quirky animals to life. I thought that would be the easy bit. That was my big mistake! None of the suggested pictures made me laugh. So I gave up. Everything went in the bottom drawer and that’s where it stayed for several years.
Then last year I was having a turn-out when up popped Noah and he seemed to suggest I should give it another go. And that’s when I began another search for an illustrator and found Phil Hailstone. We were immediately on the same wavelength and he came up with some fabulous illustrations. This gave me the courage to approach my wonderful publisher, Pegasus, who helped and encouraged me through all the long publishing process.
Now that you are a published author, how has your life changed, if at all?
My Animals of the Ark was written to amuse children and I just hope the word will spread and that families with children will enjoy my book and have fun with the adventures of Noah, and how he managed to get all the animals on board his hastily-constructed Ark, despite having his lunch interrupted by a pair of lively kangaroos. I admit to taking a few liberties with the original, but I believe each generation can take a new look at what is undoubtedly the greatest animal story ever told.
Can you please describe a typical day in your life now?
In retirement I live with my beloved toy poodle, Kira, with members of my family nearby. We have lovely walks on the South Downs and he comes with me to France, where we have a small holiday home by the sea in Corsica.
What is your most memorable moment of your life as an author?
My best moment as an author was when Pegasus told me they were accepting my book for publishing. My other best moment was seeing Phil’s first two pictures. One was of a small boy hiding in the tree from a pair of hungry lions (page 32) and the other was of two dopey donkeys, as one munched on the grass as the other eyed-up a delicious and much-preferred cake (page 16). Phil then went on to create thirty great illustrations.
In a few words, how would you review your experience with Pegasus Publishers?
Amazing! They have been a fantastic team and for someone totally ignorant of the publishing world I owe them a big thank-you for all their help and support.
Why did you choose Pegasus Publishers?
Well! I didn’t know where to start. So I went on the internet and they seemed to be the best and most welcoming! How right I was! My best thanks to all the team.
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