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July 9, 2016 / peoplesbookprize

tamara rattigan⌈ Vote Now ⌋

In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016 we caught up with author Tamara Rattigan to talk about her children’s book

Everybody’s Special

Tamara Rattigan is a successful graphic designer and illustrator who lives in the coastal town of Margate Kent, with her husband and three children. Her debut book “Everybody’s Special” aims to encourage children to celebrate their individuality and uniqueness. Inspired by her young son; who had been diagnosed with Autism (ASD), Tamara wanted a way to explain to him that it is okay to be different as that is what makes everybody special and unique. From a young age, Tamara was always passionate about writing and illustrating, spending much of her childhood creating new characters and thinking up ideas for stories. She is currently writing and illustrating new material for her forthcoming range of children’s books which Burst Universe will be releasing later this year.

everybodys special waterstonesWhen did you start writing?

From as far back as I can remember I wanted to be an author and create books! As a child, I was always writing and creating new fun characters which continued throughout my teens before my dream of becoming a children’s author petered out on account of my fear of having my work and ideas rejected because I was young. After having my two eldest children in my early twenties, my husband Calvin encouraged me to pursue my dream and I became more focused on making a career from my work. Writing books for younger children can be tough because every book needs to be written in a style which appeals to both the child and the parent (who from my own experience will be reading it over and over again!)

As an Author, what influences you the most?

One of my earliest influences in wanting to become a writer was my father Tom, who is also a published author, poet and songwriter. From a young age I was in awe of his writing and the fantastic worlds that he would create within his stories and I felt inspired to create my own! My three children Kiah, Poppy and Otis have also been a massive influence and are my biggest critiques! I will always run my latest creation past them to get their opinions as I know they will give me an honest answer! My youngest son Otis tells me how proud he feels when my book is read out in class, which only inspire me to continue creating more books for children to enjoy!

Where did the idea for this book come from?


Everybody’s Special originally started out as a short story for my eldest son, who had been diagnosed with Autism (ASD) at the age of 7. He was made to feel that he was in some way ‘different’ from the rest of his peers and I wanted to find a way to explain to him that although in many ways people are all the same, we are also very different and how that difference made us unique and special individuals. I love writing material that children can directly relate to and discuss amongst themselves, which has a positive message that I hope will influence younger generations for many years to come.  The biggest challenge with my work is making sure that everything rhymes and as an author/illustrator it’s also finding enough hours in the day to illustrate my work!

tamara rattigan bookThe People’s Book Prize nominees are voted for by the readers, how important are your readers to you?

The fact that the people’s Book Prize is voted for by the readers, makes this nomination that much more special and significant to me because it shows me that my work has made an impact on those I write for. Readers are crucial for any author and for me, one of the most rewarding aspects of being a published author is visiting the schools and nurseries, seeing the reaction and hearing the feedback from the children; who have been influenced by my work, and the parents. The People’s Book Prize is unique, giving the reader an opportunity to have their voices heard and is an insight for the writers in how their work is valued by their audience.

We like to think there’s a voice for everyone in Publishing – what is your opinion?

The children’s picture book industry is a particularly difficult market to break into and like most aspiring authors, my debut book had been rejected on several occasions. I felt that there was a great deal of reluctance within the publishing industry to allow new authors the opportunity to showcase their work. Fortunately, there are a lot more accessible platforms for new authors nowadays compared with 10 years ago and it is certainly much easier to reach a wider audience of readers with the introduction of the internet!

tamara rattigan 1What book influenced you most as a writer and what are you reading at the moment?

As a child I loved reading books by Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter, the latter being a great inspiration to me as a young child growing up and I was captivated by her series of little books as well as the fact she had both wrote and illustrated them herself, which was exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up! My favourite book, however was a little Lady Book version of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, Thumbelina, which by the age of 4, I could recite to my parent’s word for word and starting at any page without looking at the pages! I still have the book and have read it to my own children!  With three young children I get to read a lot of wonderful children’s books and I am currently reading the “Dirty Bertie” series with my 7-year-old son, who simply loves them and can’t stop giggling all the way through!

What can we expect from you in the future? What are you writing at the moment?

I would love to see the “Everybody’s Special and the accompanying series of books adapted for television and perhaps theatre, alongside a range of children’s plush toys of the books characters. I am currently busy writing and illustrating lots of new material for my forthcoming picture book series ‘Everybody’s Books’ which follow on from ‘Everybody’s Special’ and which will be a range of quirky, colourful children’s books giving out positive messages with the aim to teach and inspire children. The next title in the series is ‘Everybody’s Values’ a fun rhyming book helping to promote our fundamental core values, in a simple and child-friendly way. I am also working on another picture book, which is due for release early next year and called ‘The Nunites’ a bunch of cute bedtime characters who go off on wonderful adventures in the land of dreams.  I am so grateful to everybody who has voted for my book ‘Everybody’s Special’ and for all the lovely words of support.

Find Tamara at:

Facebook: Everybodys-Special

 Twitter: @tamararattigan

home pageThe People’s Book Prize is the unique literary competition that is judged by the nation and open to all UK publishing companies.

You Be the Judge: The People’s Book Prize – “The home for new and undiscovered works.”

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