A few years ago Jenny O’Connor, Editorial Director at Redan Publishing (whose titles include the best-selling Peppa Pig) started writing a strip story for the company’s popular Sparkle World called The Goblin Princess – and now the strip has become a book, illustrated by Kate Willis-Crowley, published by Faber.
The Goblin Princess is set in a goblin world where things are very different to ours.
“The goblin world is completely upside down,” Jenny, who I’ve known since her days at Marvel UK, tells me. “Children are told off for having tidy rooms. Goblins go to hairmessers, and window dirtiers are employed to throw eggs at the windows. You get the idea!
“Matty, the Goblin Princess, is totally different from most goblins. She likes her room to be tidy, doesn’t like eating slugs and has been seen – oh horror – combing her hair!”
The Goblin Princess strip, which has run in Sparkle World since 2012, was originally drawn by Anthony Williams and is now drawn by Nigel Dobbyn. First coloured by John Burns, Nigel now colours it too.
“I write most of the scripts, along with Etta Saunders and Redan editor, Lindsey Bannister,” Jenny says.
Given the ongoing success of Sparkle World, and the strip’s fun concept, it’s no surprise the strip caught the attention of others in the publishing world.
About a year after publication, Faber showed an interest in it, and now the first The Goblin Princess has been released as a book – with a second out in February 2017. They’ve also launched a tie-in web site for the character and her world at www.thegoblinprincess.com.
Faber opted for book illustrator Kate Willis-Crowley to draw the art for the new spin-off books, and she’s done a beautiful job.
In the first book, Matty has a problem. Her new pet baby dragon, Smoky, is far too good and her parents are threatening to send him away. But Smoky is her best friend – can she find a way to make him naughty enough to keep? She just might need the Forest Fairies’ help…
“The book obviously offers more space for character and Goblin World development (villains, fairies and dragons abound) so it’s been enormously satisfying,” Jenny explains. “and the experience of working with Faber editors has been incredible – I had a lot to learn!”
• The Goblin Princess by Jenny O’Connor, illustrated by Kate Willis-Crowley is on sale now from all good book shops
• Official Goblin Princess web site: www.thegoblinprincess.com
• Redan Publishing is at www.redan.co.uk