Dogs are one of my favorite subject matters in children’s books, so, today, I’m excited to introduce British author Lynn Emslie and her books. Her illustrated series about two puppy brothers, Jasper and Milo, include many adventurous firsts as the two leave the litter, find a new home, and ultimately settle into ‘puppy hood’.
Emslie’s Jasper and Milo series is comprised of three books: Jasper and Milo’s New Home, Jasper and Milo’s Walk in the Park, and Jasper and Milo’s Great Adventure. The illustrations, by Elenei Rae Pulido, are absolutely adorable.
Q. Hello Lynn, Can you tell us about your background and how you started writing children’s books?
A. Sure, I’d love to, Shana. Thanks! I have always enjoyed writing. As a young person, I wrote many poems and had several published. At school, I studied English Literature at Advanced level and passed an additional Creative Writing option but as I entered the world of work and started to develop my career, the only writing I produced was work-related. This writing focused on report synopses, project briefings and reports. As my career progressed, I wrote and co-wrote papers which were published in various journals and I produced/oversaw the writing of many guidance/policy documents. I also edited and proof-read documents for colleagues across a range of subjects. In recent years, I have written or co-written briefings for Government Ministers and formal responses to Parliamentary questions as well as national reports and articles for UK and international publications.
The writing of the Jasper and Milo books came as a complete surprise both to myself and to all who know me. It was not planned or intended. I always thought I would, one day, write something but, when we adopted two older dogs, in an emergency situation, one weekend, I had reason to set words on paper and tell the story I did not know. It was my way of accepting the new dogs and an attempt to understand their lives to-date and the issues they had potentially faced.
The words flowed quickly and soon I began to appreciate that Jasper and Milo could explore issues and feelings which others may benefit from. Keeping a simple story but one that can elicit empathy and a greater understanding seemed to be the approach I needed.
I have now developed the characters of Jasper and Milo and have three published books in the series. Using the books, I am now developing something I have called First Reading (Copyright Lynn Emslie 2018) to encourage reading where reading is not a regular event. This is aimed at both the child and the reader.
Many people have questioned how I moved from a style of writing that demands succinct and accurate use of language into a simple story for children. Well, actually, these skills are transferable. I needed to convey a story in a few simple words so that not only the young reader can understand and create their own imaginative mental images, but the illustrator is able to interpret it too! Luckily, so far this has not been an issue for me. Following a career spanning health, social care and criminal justice, I now work independently as a non-executive director, chair, senior advisor/consultant and trustee. Jasper and Milo are part of my work portfolio. I live in Somerset, England with my husband and dogs.
Q. Thanks for being here today, Lynn and sharing your books with us. All the best to you and your series!
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~Rosco’s Reading Room