How did A Teddy Bear Tale begin?

January 11, 2012 Update  No comments

It all began with one little Teddy Bear…

When I was at the book signing  for the first Teddy Bear Tale Book – Unconditional at Ukazoo books, one of the questions I was asked was what inspired the story and how did it end up as an illustrated tale; as I told the tale of the story I realized that although the production blog follows the Kickstarter part of its creation I never told the origins of Tristan the Teddy Bear.

The story began early 2011 as small paragraph that came in my head after looking at one of Jean’s abandoned Teddy Bears on a shelf. The little fella was dusty, leaning to one side and had long been ignored; however the amber eyes still sparkled and there was still a smile on his face.  This first paragraph is below.

Sitting on the shelf is a Teddy Bear, no different than any other Teddy Bear you would find in the store, or in the arms of their child, or, like this bear, left abandoned on a shelf somewhere. Here they all sit, without protest or compliant, and wait. Watching their child sleep at night, for the Teddy Bear has a secret, they vigilantly stand watch to protect children from the Monsters under the Bed.

As with many things, life stuff got in the way and I didn’t return to this paragraph until our writing group started their Impossible Things Anthology.  Even then I submitted a story about a Steampunk Pilot’s last flight. I then returned to the tale of this little Teddy Bear because the Anthology had room for a second story, and from there the tale of Tristan really began. The short paragraph was expanded and became part of the story of a Teddy Bear’s love for his child that grew up playing with him, turned into an epic fight for his child’s innocence on the last night before this child packs him off into the attic. I was heavily influenced by the work of Roald Dahl with his fantastical grotesqueness comical delightful descriptions of the bad guys and went over the top with the Monsters, and the story became a total joy to write. At the time the story was just called Unconditional.

I finished the story in late September and submitted it for the Anthology. I figured I would release the story as a solo eBook once the edits came back and the Anthology was released for a couple of months. Then something very interesting happened, Dan Nokes an indie artist I knew from the Comic book convention circuit started to run a Quick Sketch challenge were he challenged you to submit a description and he would draw it. So I challenged him to draw an illustration of a Teddy Bear defending his child from the Monsters under the bed.

Tristan the Teddy Bear, art by Dan Nokes

Tristan the Teddy Bear, art by Dan Nokes

And what an image it was, it summed up everything about the story in one illustration and it got me thinking. Should this story be an illustrated tale? I asked Dan for quote to see how much, he sent it to me and I knew although I couldn’t afford it I would kick myself if I didn’t give this a go.  So I turned to Kickstarter to find my funding and as Dan told me, he sent the quote that night, and when he woke up in the morning he saw a Kickstarter project with his sketch attached to it and almost at my funding goal.

To describe the story within a line, I changed the name from Unconditional, to A Teddy Bear Tale it summed up the story perfectly. After that everything else just fell into place, Dan worked through a series of sketches for Tristan, the Bogeyman and the Monsters pretty much hitting the look on their head each time and at the end of October we hit 200% funding! Again I want to take this moment to thank everyone who believed in this project to fund it!

Tristan the Teddy Bear battles the Monsters under the Bed, art by Dan Nokes

Tristan the Teddy Bear battles the Monsters under the Bed, art by Dan Nokes

Dan busied himself through November getting the color illustrations done, repeatedly knocking the ball out of the park with a series of beautiful ink washed pieces of art.  I worked the book layout as I got the art and as Dan wrapped up his end. I completed the production end and the book was published by December 10th 2011, from inception to completion it was a five month time line, but taking out the life stuff the entire production time including writing to finished product was about 2 months. The entire story was a magical adventure and although the tale is the end of Tristan’s time with his child, it is just the beginning his real adventures. I hope you stay with us as we explore Tristan’s world and discover all the wonder (and Monsters) waiting for him.