Runcton Holme photographer Jamie turns his hand to children’s books

MLNF Jamie Maxwell
MLNF Jamie Maxwell
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A father-of-one has had his long-held ambition to become a children’s illustrator realised with the publication of a new book.

West Norfolk photographer Jamie Maxwell, 43, has turned his hand to drawing for children’s books as he adds a new string to his creative bow.

Mr Maxwell, of Runcton Holme, beat off competition from established illustrators to create the front cover and inside sketches for an exciting new book called DNA Detectives − To Catch A Thief.

The book, written by Norfolk scientist Dr Mandy Hartley, is the first-ever children’s fiction book where the characters in the story use DNA and forensic science to solve a crime. The idea is that children are learning about DNA as well as enjoying an exciting adventure story.

The front cover illustrations are based on Dr Hartley’s own two children Annabelle, 10, and Harry, eight. In the book the brother and sister turn detective after a local pet thief steals their beloved Cockapoo dog called Milly.

Mr Maxwell, who lives with his wife Samantha, 29, and daughter Hope, 18 months, said: “Since an early age I’ve always had the ambition to be a children’s illustrator. At the start of the year I decided to try and fulfil that ambition and started putting a portfolio together.

“A few months later I was talking to Mandy’s husband who mentioned she’d had a book commissioned and he suggested I should pitch to the publisher to do the illustrations. I did some watercolour based drawings and sent them off. They’d asked four other illustrators to pitch for the work but to my amazement and delight the publisher chose me.

“It’s actually a two-book deal as the second book, called The DNA Detectives − The Smuggler’s Daughter is coming out next year.

“They’re both fantastic books and I’ve really enjoyed drawing all the different characters and scenarios. I’m particularly pleased with the two front covers.”

The first book want on sale last month and is currently available in Waterstones, WH Smiths, Amazon, a number of independent bookshops as well as Dr Hartley’s own website www.thelittlestorytellingcompany.co.uk.

Dr Hartley, 43, who runs science workshops in schools, libraries and Children’s Centres across East Anglia, including West Norfolk, said: “Jamie has been amazing at bringing the stories to life.”

He’s so talented and I have really enjoyed working with him.

“It’s really exciting to see his interpretation of what the different characters look like. It was particularly special to see Annabelle, Harry and our dog Milly turned into illustrations.”