Written by Riku Fryderyk
“My inspiration to write The Witching Hour was ‘The BFG’ by Roald Dahl. The first chapter is called ‘The Witching Hour’ and it’s about the time when Sophie is wide awake in the middle of the night and feeling very scared, as she knows that it is the witching hour. I read this chapter (and watched the movie as well, which gave me some extra inspiration) and realised that by writing a book about the witching hour in a more positive way, I would be able to change young readers’ minds and their perception about it. It would also help their fears be defeated and for them to realise that there really is nothing to be afraid of.”
A Passion For Writing
Riku’s journey from idea to book was a long and twisted adventure with many surprises, joy and happiness. Here, the young author retells his amazing story of the publication of his book.
“I wrote The Witching Hour when I was eight years old, I always loved writing stories but this time it was different. This time, my mum decided that this was THE ONE. The one that we had both been waiting for many years to be typed out on my keyboard. She said that this was a perfect story to be published and that it was fantastic. We scoured the internet to find a publisher, but not just a publisher, my mum had decided it would be a traditional publisher, the challenge was we needed one that published books regardless of age. And this is how we bumped onto Pegasus Publishers.
We submitted my ready manuscript, and waited and waited and waited… If you didn’t know before, Pegasus only chooses 10% out of hundreds of manuscripts sent to them each month, so when after a couple of months they wrote to me to offer a book deal I was over the moon. I was in that 10 percent they choose. It was a dream come true. I remember that day my mum came to pick me up from school, she was hopping like a kangaroo towards me at the end of the school day to tell me the good news. My teacher was overjoyed when she heard and wished me all the best as me and my mum made our way home. I signed the contract with Pegasus that day. My first official signature. It was perfect. And then, it all began.”
Signing A Contract With Pegasus
1.5 years ago, Riku was offered a contract by Pegasus Elliot MackenziePublishers, which was a big event in his life considering he was only nine years old when signed it. The book was eventually published on 30th Sept this year.
“We started the publication by discussing a format and a layout of the book. It wasn’t easy, as my ideas happened to be completely different to what the publisher was prepared to offer. Me and mum jotted our ideas down into the thousands of emails that we sent to Kevin, our publication manager. He was very patient with us and diplomatically explained why some of our ideas were rather unrealistic.
After long negotiations and considerate amount of frustration we eventually agreed to disagree and we put our trust in what my publisher suggested. Then we went onto thinking of and planning illustrations. One by one, the pictures came to life, bursting with colour as we worked countless hours with our wonderful and very talented illustrator to transform all of the words I had written into pictures. It took a long time, but now, looking at it, I think to myself ‘It was all worth it’.
The editorial part was a fairly straightforward process, however as we started seeing the illustrations coming out, I changed some parts of it. We dragged the text through the misty skies into beautiful, white, fluffy clouds, with the colour of the illustration splashing like paint onto the page. We made every page with text have its own character instead of the same plain white pages that we started with. I loved the result, put a stamp of my approval on it, and then the publication part began… but that’s a story for another article to write”
The Witching Hour
In The Witching Hour Riku wants to help children who are afraid of the dark, however the book might be serving a much greater purpose in helping parents opening important discussions with their children. We tend to assume because children are little therefore they do not understand what’s going on around them.
What we forget, is that children absorb it all, they may not talk about it, they just observe what happens in the adults’ world around them and make their own interpretations of it and give their own meanings to it. Children need so much more these days to be able to see the light in the darkness. And Riku’s book is offering to them just that.
A Proud Mum
Riku’s Mum says “What’s very special about Riku’s book is that it beautifully, in a simple way addresses a problem that many parents are troubled by, how to manage children’s fears of the dark. What makes it different from all the books previously written that addressed the subject, is that The Witching Hour was written for children, by a child who has himself overcome such fears. I believe that such a young author can inspire not only children, but also motivate parents to nature children’s reading and writing skills. I believe the book can attract young readers’ attention and I trust that the more it’s heard of, the more it will be welcome by local communities, bookshops and libraries.
We are very grateful for the opportunity Pegasus Publisher created for Riku. So are we to all the mainstream and independent bookshops that have already agreed to display The Witching Hour on their shelves.”
The book is available for purchase online directly from the publisher as well as from Waterstones, Foyles, WHS and some of the stores in London.
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