“I felt inspired to write Jazz Dog after seeing Tom Hardy read “Odd Dog Out” by Rob Biddulph on CBeebies Bedtime stories. I remember dreaming of having my own book read on there one day…
Having grown up behind the wall in former East Berlin, I felt great sadness at Donald Trump wanting to build a wall between the US and Mexico, and the UK wanting to pursue Brexit. This inspired the book’s wider themes of inclusion, intercultural communication and that together we can achieve the greatest results.
Also, like the little dog in the story, I have also always followed my heart and pursued dreams that others thought were crazy. I truly believe if we all do what we love, we spread happiness, inspire and bring people together, contributing to a better world in one way or another.
Initially, the story had no music theme. The dog basically just didn’t like the harsh sound of barking and decided to learn how to meow instead. It was the idea of my wonderful editor Pete Marley at OUP Childrens to maybe incorporate Rock and Jazz. I loved the idea straight away and was amazed at how little I actually had to adjust the story to make it work. I’m doubly grateful he made that brilliant suggestion because the musical theme allowed for much more interesting illustrations.
The actual dog character was inspired by our Golden Retriever, Harry. In fact, he is the reason I initially wanted to become an author illustrator, so I’d be able to capture his cheekiness.”