Local Writer Ash Mellross Developing Debut Children's Book
By Jamie Apps
Growing up Ash Mellross was always an incredibly creative person. For Ash, it didn't matter whether he was painting, drawing, snapping photos or filming short movies — as long as he was creating, he was happy. As Ash grew older, the responsibilities of life took over leading him to move to Cronulla and become an emergency room nurse. However, the creative bug never left Ash and once his daughter came along he discovered the perfect outlet for his creative energy — a children's picture book. So, for the past three years, Ash has dedicated all of his free time to his debut book, with the aim of having Pop, Lee And The Tiny Tree ready for Christmas 2022.
Chatting to Neighbourhood Media recently, Ash spoke about how this journey all came to fruition.
"When I became a parent I started thinking about the parenting must do's, like teaching road safety and following safety instructions. From there, that's where this little idea for the book started to grow," recalled Ash. "Three years ago, I jotted down a few bold headlines about what might be in the story and then it all grew from there."
While Ash was spurred on to create his children's book following the arrival of his daughter, he explained that he was also inspired by the books he was reading to her. In particular, Ash said The Gruffalo and The Grufallo's Child by Julia Donaldson were big inspirations for his writing style.
"I was captivated by those two books when I read them to Olivia. They are such lovely books which are so well written and use rhyming couplets to make it really fun for both you as a parent & for your child listening."
Prior to setting out on this journey to write a children's book, Ash was placing his creative energy into short films for YouTube, which he says he thought were "quite complex". He now realises that short films were much simpler than writing a book.
"When I started the kid's book, I hadn't drawn for years and had never focused on character drawings, so that required a lot of focus. Learning to draw these characters has been the longest part of the process," explained Ash. "Creating this kid's book has been a massive journey. There are 32 pictures in the book and the amount of time it takes to get the watercolour into those was much longer than I anticipated."
Writing a children's book hasn't only been a learning curve from the creative standpoint though. Throughout this process, Ash has had to learn all of the ins and outs of business, the processes for publishing a book and finally battling with his own emotions. As Ash said, "to create this book it's just me, some paper, pencils and paints. It's very much a solo journey, which can be a bit lonely at times, but I have enjoyed every moment in the process of making the book."
For Ash the most exciting part of this entire journey has been sharing it with his daughter. Throughout the entire process, Olivia has sat beside Ash drawing her own characters, writing her own little stories and giving Ash the seal of approval on each page as it is completed.
Ash says his next book might have to be a "rescue mission" after the main character was changed from a little girl named Olivia to a boy named Lee.
In terms of where parents can purchase the completed book, Ash said it will be available by print-on-demand. The decision to go with this model was influenced by two factors. Firstly, Ash said he did not want the "pressure of being responsible for other people's money without a finished product available". Secondly, Ash looked to one of his colleagues, who had previously written a book, for advice and was told to go with print-on-demand.
As for when Pop, Lee And The Tiny Tree will be available, Ash said: "I've set myself the deadline of November so that the book is ready for everybody to do their Christmas shopping."
Keep an eye on Ash's YouTube channel by searching Ash Mellross to see when the book is launched.