There's a little bit of my parents in the story's Mr & Mrs Crisp. Both couples love traveling and are fairly fearless. Here are the front endpapers of Oliver and the Seawigs, showing some of their adventures before the story begins.
I tried to give the parcel a Seawig-ish wrap job, and protect it with some old book covers, but it did come out looking slightly odd.
In the meantime, there have been about a billion and one things I've needed to do in the run up to the book launch. Like translating the 'Style your own Seawig' activity sheets into Dutch! A Dutch lady visiting my studio cracked up at the word 'knutsel'; she says it's a lovely word we don't have in English, all about crafting and hand-making and cosiness. And Saskia Kalter at our Dutch publisher, Veltman Uitgevers, told me that 'Zeepruik' is 'Seawig' and 'Watch out for Sea Monkeys!' is 'Pas op voor de zee-aapjes!'. Cool!
So excited that the Netherlands will soon be getting Olivier en de Dwaaleilanden! You can follow Veltman Uitgevers on Twitter as @VeltmanJeugd and @VeltmanUitg, and our fab Dutch translator Sandra Hessels at @creativedifrnce.
Ha ha, Chris Riddell has said about our book: Een verfrissend, prachtig verteld verhaal over nautische haarkunsten, zoutwaterzoogdieren en sarcastisch zeewier – dit is mijn soort boek!
You still have time to make your own Seawig if you're coming along to next Wednesday's launch party for Oliver and the Seawigs. And I'm also going to have a brand-new thing sitting on my head... which has something to do with the mysterious, twitching parcel that arrived yesterday.
And one more thing, here's a lovely mermaid drawing for my own birthday from a little friend. I love it! Emily Donut-Head, awesome.