A guest blog by Jean Blakey.
A mountain of people have asked me about the meaning behind my children’s book Cluck Cluck Duck and a smattering have given me their interpretation of the book. I love that! I love that people are trying to read something into my cheeky little story about a duck who has lost his quack. If you are wondering what I’m talking about then read on.
I am Jean Blakey, a friend of Iain Mansfield and creator of the children’s story Cluck Cluck Duck. This story was written a good 10 years before it was self published and I hadn’t expected the plethora of questions from curious purchasers. You see as I am self published I pop up at stalls around the country (so keep an eye out for me in your town) and this exposes me to on the spot interviewing about my work. I’ve never really answered those questions though as I’m often tackling the izettle, bagging up or counting out the correct change. Now is the time for answers!
What inspired or motivated you to write this story? Or What made you write this story?
This question makes me chuckle. It sounds like my arm has been twisted. The reality is that I’ve always written little stories, mainly to entertain myself or my family and sometimes to enter school competitions. Cluck Cluck Duck is my first printed work to sell. The motivation was always there. This spark was cultured during my teacher training where I gained my first real audience for my stories, for educational purposes of course. I hoped that Cluck Cluck Duck would encapsulate the blend of entertainment and education to help encourage children to read for FUN! This was realised recently when I received some feedback from a fair I attended. A young child, who was disinterested in books and never reached the end of a story had to wait until the end of Cluck Cluck Duck to make sure things worked out well again. This news still thrills me. That’s hopefully one young mind becoming interested in literacy. Nailed it!
Does the story have any spiritual or significant meaning? What is the truth behind the cluck?
I think all pieces of imagination can mean something different to the reader than what the author planned to communicate. Until now I have held back from explaining in the hope that the reader would uncover it for themselves. I hoped the book would communicate the need for supporting friends, acceptance and connection with others; the need to work together and try to make things better for each other, even though we can sometimes get it wrong it is important to keep trying. Also that the answer might come from the most surprising of places, the last place you would look. It’s also a story about never giving up and when you see someone giving up to help them get back on their feet.
The meaning behind the story reflects its own personal journey as it almost didn’t get published. As I’ve said before this story was written approximately 10 years ago but I couldn’t find an illustrator to complete the book. I tried family, friends, colleagues and tried searching for affordable professional artists but everything fell through. Finally, and rather unexpectedly, I found the talented Jonathan Nash by searching for his namesake online. Once the illustrations were completed things really took off. Now there are a new set of challenges!
Are you married to the illustrator?
No. I’ve never actually met Jonathan, our partnership is entirely virtual held together with strong respect and trust. The wonders of social media!
I am married to the wonderful Paul Blakey MBE who couldn’t resist tweaking my story a little to include another cluck. More about Paul can be found on his website – www.cninetwork.org.
Where can I buy the book?
One of my favourite questions, usually asked online. You can buy the book from my website www.cluckcluckduck.uk, Waterstones online only, Amazon Kindle, Harveys of Halifax, Book Worm at the Piece Hall Halifax, Sheridan’s Tea Rooms Halifax, Printout Printers Halifax, King’s Centre Halifax, Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum and The London Canal Museum. The book is £6.99 in shops and on the stalls I attend but if ordering online I do ask for postage and packaging costs.
If this blog has interested you then do contact me through the Cluck Cluck Duck Facebook or through the website contact form.