Hi, I’m J C Perry, I work from my home office in Oldham. Writing and illustrating children’s books doesn’t feel like work – it’s something I love doing.

As a child I was always doodling and writing my own stories. I’d fold a few sheets of paper and staple them down the middle, trying to make my stories look as much like a real book as possible.

After gaining a BA Hons degree in Art, Design and Creative Writing from St. Martin’s College (part of Lancaster Univeristy), I left uni full of skills, but doubting whether I could instantly earn money for my rent by painting and writing. I decided to get a ‘proper job’ and became a graphic designer in Leeds for a year. I then went back to University, this time in Bradford, to study a Master’s Degree in EIMC (Electronic Imaging and Media Communications, specialising in Computer Animation & Special Effects – yeah, it’s a mouthful). I gained a distinction, and I was offered a job as an animator at a company in Ashton-under-Lyne where I met my lovely husband, also an animator.

After 10 years, we lost our jobs in 2009 towards the end of the credit crunch / financial crisis and my husband and I decided to work for ourselves. That was 14 years ago, and we’re still animating.

Working on my 6th picture book ‘I Am a Shell’. Photo by Alan Hamer.

I never lost the nagging urge to write and illustrate my own children’s books, and so I wrote my first book for our daughter (Wish Upon a Shooting Star), and my second book (Tom’s Zombie Fright) for our son. Tom’s Zombie Fright won a silver medal in the 2020 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

Since then, I haven’t stopped; my fourth book Ready Steady SAIL! has just been announced as a winner in 2 categories in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, and I’m currently working on my seventh book, all about a princess who happens to be a spoilt brat.

I’m sometimes asked to illustrate books for other people, such as The Ice-Cream Sundae Guide to Autism by Debby Elley and Tori Houghton (published by Jessica Kingsley), which became an Amazon best-seller.

I prefer to illustrate on my iPad Pro these days. The ‘undo’ button means I can take risks with my artwork, and I think artwork improves if you can take risks. Being able to paint on layers means I can edit the illustration more easily too.

They say if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life – and it’s true!