Way back in 1998 or so, I was writing a large historical novel about pirates. I'd done hours and hours of research and I was halfway through what would eventually be 120,000 words. I needed a break. So I decided to put the novel aside and write something completely different. Maybe fairies or animals or something ... What came out was a story called The Littlest Pirate. Originally I thought it was a picture book, but Penguin accepted it and published it as an Aussie Nibble (after I added some more words).
Three more stories about the Littlest Pirate have followed - The Littlest Pirate and the Hammerheads, The Littlest Pirate in a Pickle, and now The Littlest Pirate and the Treasure Map (out next year). All are chapter books in the Aussie Nibbles series. Along the way, the books have gone to the UK (published there by Happy Cat Books) and a couple to the US (Running Press). Then one was picked up by a Spanish publisher, and another by a Serbian publisher. The little guy was sailing far and wide!
Now, ironically, The Littlest Pirate has just been published here in Australia as - you guessed it - a picture book (cover above). The editor and I trimmed and tidied, and the illustrator, Tom Jellett, created Nicholas Nosh's story in full colour. It looks fantastic! Dare I say - it's on sale now, perfect for Christmas gifts. $19.95.
The one thing I have learned from Nicholas's voyages around the world is this - you just never know where a book might go, or what might happen to it. Next time you want to sign a contract for your new (or first) book without carefully considering the terms or getting advice, think again. Like I said, you just never know...