Saturday 27 August 2016

Isle of Wight Virtual Mini Book Festival - Introducing Jules Marriner

Hello again. I hope you're having a great weekend whatever you're up to and I also hope that you're enjoying meeting the authors that have stopped by so far today.

My next author this afternoon is a bit different as not only is she an author, she's an illustrator as well. It's a first for The Hippo as I've never had the pleasure of having a children's author here on my blog, so it's my pleasure to introduce you to the lady herself, Jules Marriner.

Jules is chief tea drinker, dog scruffier and story thinker-upperer in her house. She has a degree in Book Illustration and Graphic Design, has worked as a Sprout Smoothie maker in Sydney and enjoys making inedible cakes for her teenage children. Jules’ seventh book was published in July 2016; Nature Calls is her first nature spotting guide, with the usual lovely illustrations and daft ideas you’d expect from one of her books.

Photo courtesy of Jules Marriner

Yes you did read that right in her bio, "a Sprout Smoothie maker"! Feel free to ask questions about that in the comments later.

                                                  My Publishing Journey

How many people can say they’ve had an epiphany moment? I knew from an early age that I had to do something in the Arts, but I had no idea what. I left school and went to Epsom School of Art, studying Fashion Design, then wandered into Graphic Design to complete an HND. It was there that I met someone who changed my life.

I had decided to take the MacMillan Children’s book project, and in doing so met my tutor for the assignment, children’s author/illustrator Simon James. I fell headlong in love with picture books. He showed me how to make my first dummy copy for Vincent and the Vampires, a story about a vegetarian Vampire Bat who hated the sight of blood.  This involved writing the story, illustrating each page in pencil and completing some of the colour roughs so I had the idea presented as a book.

Then another tale appeared and another; at long last I had a focus for all my 'unorthodox' story ideas.
I studied a further two years for a degree in Illustration, concentrating on books and left University to live in London where I visited publishers on a daily basis, in the hope that I could find the right one for my quirky book ideas. Orion Children’s Books were initially very excited about Vincent and took my dummy and colour roughs to further meetings and even to the Frankfurt Book Fair. But eventually, the news came back that although they loved the book, they felt it would be hard to sell to the 1995 American market as ‘they didn’t like Vampires’. Seriously, they said that. I joke I was too ahead of my time. What can you do but laugh?

A year in London just about finished me off (in many ways!) so I moved to the Isle of Wight to be nearer my family. I met my husband and we had two boys and in between nappy changes and school routines, I managed to keep writing and illustrating and had a bookshelf full of cracking good ideas. In the time, publishing had changed dramatically and by the time I was ready to go back to full time work, the wonderful world of Indie Publishing had emerged. 

I chose to go down the Indie route because it gave me infinitely more freedom than working with someone else. I enjoy being able to choose my own pace, make decisions about the stories and design of the books and the face to face discussions I have with the people who actually read my books. However, I'd never rule anything out as there are days when I wish I had help with marketing and promotion. When I was at Uni, I imagined I’d be thinking up crazy ideas and painting all day, but it turns out there’s a lot of writing press releases and working out ways to get my books ‘out there’.

Vincent was published in January 2012, shortly followed by Royal Fleas, where the Queen’s Corgis have an itchy problem solved by a clever little girl. My seventh book is due out later this month and is my first foray into non-fiction. Nature Calls is a nature spotting guide that not only tells you what birds and animals look like, but how they sound too.

I shall never forget the advice that Simon gave me. He said “Always keep your unique sense of humour” and throughout my publishing career so far, I have striven to do just that.

                                                         *   *   *   * 

Vincent’s Vampire Bat syblings are disgusting! They expect him to drink blood like them. But Vincent is a Vegetarian Vampire Bat and he hates the sight of blood. One day he gets fed up of their teasing and decides to move out. Follow Vincent’s adventure to find a new home and find out why he thinks his chips are up! This funny children's picture book can be enjoyed for ages 3-8 years.

Vincent and the Vampires sounds like a really fun read for children but I don't have any, so if anyone reading this wants a babysitter for a few hours give me a shout. I'd be happy to look after some children purely so that I'd have the perfect excuse to read Vincent's story!

Royal Fleas

What would you do if your dog had fleas? Worse still, what would you do if your dog had fleas AND YOU WERE THE QUEEN!! Find out how a normal little girl has a brilliant idea and helps out in a canine crisis! This is a fun story for children aged 3-8 years with lots of colour pictures and humorous text.

If you'd like to find out more about Jules, her children's books or her illustrations you can use the links below:


I'd like to thank Jules for stopping by and visting today and for taking the time to write a guest post. It's been fun having you here!


  1. Thanks for sharing your story! I love vampires and having seen these books locally think they are FAB :)

    1. They do look great don't they Vanessa? Thanks for stopping by and I'm looking forward to 'seeing' you here tomorrow 😉

  2. What a cracking photo.... she looks like a whole lot of fun.

    Great to have a children's author promoted too.

  3. Jules is a friend of mine. She is a cracking lady, full of fun and laughter, just crazy! I've bought all her books for presents for the children in our family and I'm really looking forward to the Nature book, I've had a sneak preview of some of the drawings and they are just beautiful.

    1. Thanks for taking the time tom stop by and leave a comment. Jules certainly is a talented lady and I'm so glad that she could make some time to appear here today.