For the last couple of years I’ve been embroiled in something a little different to what I’m usually known for. I’ve been writing, as co-author to Viv Lambert, on an English Language Teaching course that we developed with the publisher. Now it hasn’t actually been published yet, so I can’t say much about it at this stage, other than that it’s for primary aged children. But I can tell you about Viv!
Viv Lambert is an ELT author extraordinaire and consultant, and long time friend of mine. She and I met, too many years ago, when we both worked at Dorling Kindersley (as editor and designer) on a project which was DK’s first real venture into ELT. As a global course the content aimed to be accommodating to all cultures. Viv introduced herself to me, swiftly followed with the question, ‘Do the Chinese eat jelly?’ Then we had a slightly weird discussion about grass jelly, agar and jelly moulds … and the rest, as they say, is history. One day, when re-writing the story of The Tortoise and the Hare together, there was obviously some collaborative chemistry going on and Viv announced, ‘We should write a book’. She’s been announcing it to me every year since and, though we’ve worked together many times in different capacities, this is our first true co-authoring venture.
It was a fantastic experience to collaborate with Viv in this way, and one for which I’m very grateful. I learned a lot and gave a lot. We had moments of hilarity, joy, frustration, intensity and staring into space.
My takeaways: Viv taught me about conditionals via the scenario of a prince arriving and the likelihood of marrying him (not very likely considering I’m already married!), the correct use of used to and use to, and how to use WTF via the medium of Skype. She also taught me to be courageous in trying something new.
Through this project I realised that I love language and writing as much as I love design and illustration. On hearing that I’d been associating with the editorial team, a design manager accused me of going over to the dark side. Be assured I am still a designer, and I adhere to the mantra … only for good, never for evil!