Derry Illustrator Launches Digital Kids Book

Illustrator Trisha Deery's Miss Rosie Red goes interactive

Ireland's first interactive children's book, Let Me See What I Will Be, by Derry writer and illustrator Trisha Deery, is set to revolutionise how young readers experience fiction.

The book is published by Derry-based publishing house, Dog Ears, and tells the story of Miss Rosie Red, a red-headed toddler with a cute baby brother and a friendly pet cat named Coope. Eager readers will also be able to join in with Rosie's adventures through a state of the art App for the iPhone or iPad.

Deery, who studied for her degree in Illustration at University College, Falmouth, launched the book in her native city earlier this year, and is looking forward to a relaunch in Belfast later this month.

'When I was at College we were told of the hot spots to target to find work, and Ireland, as a whole – never mind Derry – was not even mentioned. But why wouldn't it happen in Derry? There is just so much talent here. There is no reason we can't lead the way.'

Deery's quirky drawing style have helped her establish a fanbase in her native city, but she admits that it was the marketing strategy and support of the team at Dog Ears that has helped raise her profile. The forward thinking publishing team have worked tirelessly over the last two years to ensure that Let Me See What I Will Be?, their first title, becomes a success.

Deery formed a relationship with Dogs Ears after they held a mentoring programme in Derry, inviting wannabe illustrators and authors to take part. According to the Dog Ears team, while the programme was loaded with talent, Deery emerged as 'the shining star' of the scheme, and was selected to be the first author marketed by the company.

'I work very closely with the girls at Dog Ears,' Deery says. 'It is very much a team effort. We bounce ideas off each other. And they keep me right in terms of what language I can use, and what illustrations we can use. They are a brilliant sounding board and I know they are behind me 100%.'

The first print run of Let Me See What Will I Be? is close to selling out. Deery said receiving fan mail from satisfied readers and their parents 'has been the best bit. To know that the Rosie is making it into people's homes and that their children are taking to her.'

The accompanying iPad app allows readers to interact with their new favourite character. It is voiced by an unnamed but very cute three year old Derry girl, and comes complete with stomping dinosaurs, flying fairies and twirly whirly crisp eating astronauts. The interface is as gorgeous as the book itself, and easy to navigate for young children.

'We're not looking to replace traditional books,' Deery argues. 'In fact, the name of the company is based on the premise that Dog Ears want people to thumb through their books until they are dog-eared and well loved, but we can't ignore that children want more and more from their characters these day.

'Even young children are surprisingly computer literate. They want their characters to be all singing and dancing. If they fall for a character, they want to see her on the computer, or on the TV. They want the whole package.'

Already the fledgling publishing house is in talks with production companies regarding the rights to Deery's illustrations. The success of the book has also prompted an influx of interest in her custom prints, and Deery has never been busier.

'No, I could never have imagined things would take off the way they have. I've had a big increase in people who like my style of drawings wanting prints for their children, which is brilliant.'

The launch of the app also garnered Deery national television exposure, when the morning magazine programme Daybreak visited her home to talk about the book. 'It's all very surreal,' she says.

Deery will launch Let Me See What Will I Be in Waterstones, Fountain Street, Belfast on Saturday, August 20 at 1pm. The iPhone and iPad app will be available, at the cost of £1.79, from the same date.