DOUGLAS woman Elayne Lawton has written a series of picture books for children aged between two and six. Her writing journey began when she became a mum.
Elayne worked in corporate HR before taking time off after having her son David, and started writing around her family responsibilities.
Her books teach children about how the weather works, by introducing them to different weather characters and seeing how they interact with each other to create different types of weather.
Elayne’s son, David, is a curious little boy and asks her lots of questions, particularly about the weather. To help answer his questions, Elayne created the land of Weatherville. It is a place that exists above the clouds and is home to characters like Chloe Cloud, Ricky Raindrop and Riley Rainbow.
The many adventures of these characters explain how the weather works in Elayne’s engaging stories.
The first book in the series is called Riley Rainbow And The Colour Catastrophe and was launched this March on World Book Day. Most of the time, Riley Rainbow is a very happy guy, until, one day, he feels unwell and loses his rainbow colours.
Riley Rainbow’s friends, Chloe Cloud and Ricky Raindrop, help him rediscover his colours and the colour catastrophe is averted.
This rhyming story and its colourful characters grew organically over a four-year period.
Every time Elayne’s son asked her questions about where rainbows come from, she spoke to David about the characters who lived in Weatherville.
Elayne says: “The books came from David’s appetite to understand how things worked. He was keen to understand things and would ask for detailed answers to questions.
“I used the characters that I created to explain things to him. So, if he asked me ‘Where does a rainbow come from’, I’d explain the characters that come together to make a rainbow — the sun, the rain, the clouds, and tell a story about how these characters made the rainbow.”
The characters in Elayne’s books were created with David as he was growing up.
“We had a doodle book with all the characters drawn inside. From snowflakes to rainbows to raindrops to sunshine.”
One of the characters in Elayne’s second book, which will be released later in the year, is called after her son.
The book David Drizzle Drop And The Puddle Party was inspired by David’s questions about where rain comes from. The main character, David Drizzle Drop, has been invited to a puddle party and the only way he can get to it is by jumping out of the cloud.
Elayne says: “The book is about the water cycle. It explains the concepts of evaporation, precipitation and condensation via the journey the character, David Drizzle Drop, takes.”
After four years in the making, Elayne made the decision to self-publish her books.
It was important to her that the books did not lose the magic and memories that she and her son had created whilst talking together about the characters they had lovingly created in the make-believe land of Weatherville.
Elayne, a former pupil of St Columba’s GNS in Douglas and Regina Mundi and a graduate of the University of Limerick says: “When it came time for me to think about what I was going to do with these books, I didn’t want the characters to get lost in translation, if the books were published by a publisher. My husband encouraged me to publish them myself. This year, I decided I would give it a go.”
She approached an illustrator called Paula Reel and asked her if she was interested in collaborating on the project.
Both Elayne and Paula worked around their family responsibilities and created the illustrations for Elayne’s books together. The illustrations were inspired by the doodle book that Elayne and her son used to sketch the characters of Weatherville.
Elayne visits schools and reads her stories to young children. Her first book, Riley Rainbow And The Colour Catastrophe, is available in book stores around the country.
Whilst Elayne is keen to promote her books, she says that the best thing about writing them is the legacy she will leave for her son.
She says: “I have lived my life as a child again through David’s eyes.
“As a mum, you do things with your child that you could never have imagined doing, like stopping to chat to a dog, lying on the grass and discussing the shapes of the clouds and what animals they look like.
“For me, whatever happens with these books, the most important thing is that David has them as a legacy, and memories of the fun times we had together when he was a small child.”
Elayne’s books are beautifully illustrated and young children will fall in love with the bright characters and rhyming stories.
Elayne’s first book is available for purchase in the following bookstores in Cork: Vibes and Scribes, Midleton Books, Bandon Books Plus, Bantry Bookshop, Coughlan’s Bookshop, Clonakilty, Easons in Mallow, Fermoy Books, Skibbereen Bookshop, Kinsale Bookshop and Simon Prim’s Bookshop, Kinsale.
The book is also available to order via Elayne’s Facebook page — go to https://www.facebook.com/pg/Wonderfullyweatherybooks/shop/?rt=19
Elayne’s next two books, David Drizzle Drop And The Puddle Party, and Chloe Cloud And The Friendly Fog, will be released later on this year.