It has been published by Jelly Bean Books, part of Candy Jar Books, Cardiff (£7.99), available from email@example.com or from Pier Road Coffee and Art, Littlehampton or online at Folksy.com/shops/christinechambersauthorandillustrator
“The idea of writing as a whole has been a dream for some years now. The idea that a child would read my story, engage in its content and enjoy the experience is very humbling. To be able to inspire the imagination and creativity of a child is magical and I wanted to be able to do that in some small way. The idea behind this book was about a few things. I wanted to encourage children not to give up. Even when things don’t go to plan. My experience with my own son has shown me that unless something is instant they tend to give up quickly. I’m not sure if it’s always been that way. I do wonder in this world of being able to have everything straight away that it has made children and society in general more impatient. I don’t want to cause offence and I’m not saying everyone’s the same but it’s just an observation. I also wanted to show about friendship and letting others help you. How rewarding it can be to work together. My focus was also for Red Fox to have more than one best friend. Everyone is different and you can be friends with many people. Children get so upset when their best friend isn’t speaking to them. At school I was bullied and had few friends so I know how hard that can be. On the plus side I absolutely adore animals in all shapes and forms. I knew the book had to be all animals. At first I had thought about friends from the woods such as a badger or rabbit. I then remembered a photo I saw once of three women holding three types of foxes. It was so stunning, and the diversity in the fox species could relate to human diversity too. The Foxes were Red, Arctic and Silver, and so they became my characters. There are so many types of fox so I did distract myself for a while looking at others, but finally stuck with the original three. Foxes also often get bad press. I feel very strongly on the side of animals when people say they’re, for example, invading their garden. I’m of the opinion that humans actually invaded their homes and so if they want to make a nest on my roof or a den at the end of my garden, that’s absolutely fine.
“Once I was focused on the story it took about five months to write, with several revisions and re-writes. I then sent it out to approximately 30 publishers. It’s tough waiting for a reply as some will never come back to you and some take months to reply. In the meantime I started working on drawings for the story. I debated whether or not to illustrate the book as I knew it would be a lot of work. Time passed by and later in the year I had an email from Jelly Bean Books in Cardiff. The book is aimed at three to seven-year-olds but I have found that children in year three (age eight to nine) have been very interested and enjoyed the story too. I think it appeals to many ages as we can all relate to the story. The children love the suspenseful storyline and can also repeat the rhyme that occurs throughout. The story at the end, gives a warm fuzzy feeling of happiness.”