Blainslie writer’s new adventure

Borders author Alan Windram who's children's picture book will be launched at this year's Borders Book Festival
Borders author Alan Windram who's children's picture book will be launched at this year's Borders Book Festival

He’s already well known as an actor and singer-songwriter, but Blainslie-based Alan Windram has now turned his pen to writing for children.

Mac and Bob, The Unexpected Visitor, is his first foray into children’s literature and will be launched at next month’s Borders Book Festival.

Aimed at three to seven-year-olds, the colourful picture book, illustrated by Dave Sutton, tells the story of Mac the farmer and his dog, and best friend, Bob.

Windram created Mac about five years ago, when he was asked to join Sticky Kids’ Theatre, the live show based around Sticky Kids’ popular children’s music and movement CDs, which are used in schools around the country.

The shows proved a hit with young audiences, with Windram as Mac, and his stage partner Anne Butler (Molly Muddle) now regularly touring schools, festivals and theatres.

“Playing Mac on stage for so many years, it was a natural progression to do a book based on his escapades,” Windram told The Southern. “I’d been playing music to accompany readings given by children’s author Vivian French, and she suggested my wife Susan and I set up our own company to self-publish, which meant we could get the books out quickly to readers.”

It took Windram about 18 months from the initial idea to the finished book, in what he says, for him, was an exciting journey of discovery.

“I wanted Mac to have elements of me when I am on stage, so the kids can identify the two characters as the same, which is why in the book he wears what I wear on stage – the dungarees, rainbow wellies, etc. I’d also always imagined him with a side-kick, and Bob seemed the perfect partner – like Calvin and Hobbes, or Wallace and Gromit.”

Windram says it was important to him as a singer/songwriter that music played an integral part in the project and that’s why the book comes with a CD of catchy pop songs.

“Hopefully, children and families will enjoy the story and songs as much as I enjoyed creating them,” he said.

And French agreed to read the story for the audio book, which is also included in the CD. The book will be the first of five Mac and Bob stories and is published by Little Door Books.

Mac and Edinburgh illustrator Dave Sutton stage an event on Festival Saturday, in the Lochcarron Marquee at 12.15pm, including storytelling, pictures, songs and plenty of audience participation... watch out for the flying carrots! There will be abook-signing session following the show.