Welcome to Debut Diaries – One Year On, where SCBWI-BI members share their highs (hopefully lots of these) and lows (hopefully fewer of these) of the post-publication year. 

This month, Tizzie welcomes Emma Perry, author of I Don’t like books. Never. Ever. The End. and This Book has Alpacas and Bears, to join her for Afternoon Tea. After a whirlwind post-debut year, it’s a chance for Emma to put her feet up and share her insights over a cuppa and some carefully chosen sweet treats, which reflect the mood of the months after debut.  

Emma: WHAT A YEAR?!?!?!?! Seriously, when I imagined what my first year as a published author would look like, I can honestly say I didn’t think for one single nanosecond that it would pan out quite the way it did. Not even an inkling.  


No clue whatsoever. 

February-March 2020 (aka the calm before the storm) – CUPCAKES 

15th February 2020 came around. The skies were heavy, the wind was LOUD. Forecasters were telling us this weekend’s storm would be EVEN WORSE than last week’s.  

“Yikes,” thought Sharon Davey and I. “What a day to have a launch… how unlucky are we?” Oh, how we chuckle at that now, dear reader :-D 
Nevertheless, for the launch of our book – I Don't Like Books. Never. Ever. The End., we managed to adorn the shiny new event space of Waterstones, Bath with pics of Mabel whizzing around on books, delicious cupcakes and lots of willing participants for our book event. We were chuffed to bits with all the smiles and good wishes and dragon-making abilities. 

March saw me dip my toe in the water of school visits, with several school assemblies and workshops. This was one of the things I was most looking forward to. As a teacher, I love being in schools. 

March also saw me running two in-person workshops with WriteMentor – one on Social Media, and the other on Picture Books. Meanwhile, we knew something was up.  

We knew things were about to change.  

We just didn’t quite understand how much.  
Summer (because all of the months started to bluuuurrrrr!) – Grass pies & bow-ties 

I didn’t fall into the banana bread making, but my kids did – I’m very thankful for that. Well done kids, you did good! 

Doors of bookshops were closed, firmly shut. But, if you’ve ever met Alfonso, you won’t be surprised to know that NOTHING was going to stop him and his best mate Colin, from leaping onto the shelves.  

Definitely not. 

This Book Has Alpacas and Bears, created with Rikin Parekh, launched in June 2020, in hardback. And so, we did what any picture-book creators can do for a book launch under these circumstances – we had a blog tour. We tried to make it as fun as possible (and maybe even a little bit silly, in true Alfonso style) with bow-tie-making, glass designing and even an Are you a Colin or Alfonso?’ character quiz… have YOU taken it yet? It’s life-changing stuff. 

But. You know I said the doors of bookshops were firmly shut? That didn’t stop some amazing things happening…

Kenilworth Books declared August to be Alpaca August! Yep! There was a visit from Alonso, cousin of Alfonso, lots of baking and news of a perilous journey.

Bookshops have been amazing. Totally amazing.  

Passionate, knowledgeable and fully deserving of all the cake and support.  
Autumn… winter… and somewhere along the way, a new year too? – GF Custard Creams and a big cup of tea 

Grateful that Mabel and Alfonso (& Colin too) were safely out there, albeit in a different way from what we had imagined, I hunkered down into some new words. Some have proved tricky under the circumstances. I’m writing when I can and not worrying too much when I can’t. Having said that, diving into words and characters that make me chuckle has been a real tonic. 

I got an early sneak peek at one of my 2022 picture books, and that lifted my spirits super high. A wonderful pre-Christmas treat! 

And then I discovered… Zooooooom. 


I CAN still do School Visits!  

I dusted off Alfonso, grabbed my hats and had an absolute blast. With a bit of imagination, virtual school visits can be heaps of fun. No travelling makes these visits cost-effective on both sides – I hope they continue, alongside in-person visits (‘cause I do miss those too!) 

The fabulous Nick and Mel from Rabbithole, Brigg organised a mahoosive virtual visit with Sharon and me – KeyStage1 had story time and drawing, then we chatted to KeyStage2 and 3 about being writers and illustrators. SUCH GREAT questions! 


It’s all about the paperback. Both books have their paperback editions coming out, yippee! To celebrate I Don't Like Books. Never. Ever. The End., Jo at Rocketship Bookshop (do visit! It’s an Aladdin’s cave of books), gave away FIFTY paperback copies to nominated schools who’d done so much for their students during lockdown. 

Colin and Alfonso come out in paperback form in June 2021, and to say they are excited is an understatement. Rikin and I are struggling to contain Alfonso… we can’t wait to get to real life bookshops, in-person/alpaca. Get the grass pies ready! 


Emma Perry is a picture-book author, founder of MyBookCorner and organiser of International Book Giving Day. Her book obsession shows no sign of slowing down. Never. Ever. The end. 

Twitter: @_emmaperry 
Instagram: @emmaperry 

Tizzie Frankish is a regular contributor to Words & Pictures.
Website: Tizzie Frankish
Twitter: @tizzief

Sharon Davey, illustrator of I Don't Like Books. Never. Ever. The End.

Facebook: The Creative Fox

Instagram: @thecreativefox

Rikin Parekh, illustrator of This Book Has Alpacas and Bears
Twitter: @r1k1n
Instagram: @r1k1n_parekh

Picture Credits
Tea logo: Coral Walker
Custard cream: Gluten-Free Alchemist
School photo by permission of school
All other photos courtesy of Emma Perry

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