For a brief Bio, click here
Hi! I’m Meghan. I’m a children’s novel writer, turned picture book maker. I write, craft and photo-illustrate children’s stories, starring two handmade puppet animals, set in nature. My studio is a beautiful forest, where I imagine their tiny world through the lens of a camera. It might seem an odd vocation, but makes a lot of sense that this is what I do…
As a tiny quiet child called ‘Meghan Mouse’, I was drawn to reading and making things alone, as interacting with humans felt too loud for me. I learned to read and sew at an early age and began creating a world I felt happier in – a miniature one, designed for toy mice. I made their houses out of any source I could find – food packaging, Lego, clothespins, yarn…. And when I wasn’t crafting, I studied vast numbers of picture books, wanting to crawl inside them. Unfortunately, I slipped away from art in high school and enrolled in engineering at university, but after failing physics miserably, I eventually found my way back ‘home’.
After switching to the arts and completing degrees in literature and costume making, I worked for several years in the film industry, where I ended up as costume designer for puppets on the stop-motion animated TV series Lunar Jim. It was my tiny, detailed work there that reminded me how much I love miniature worlds. When the show ended, I plucked up my courage, and sat down to write The Stowaways – a novel for children about a tiny sensitive mouse who yearns for adventure. I was thrilled when it was published! It did very well, but then life changed course for me…
When my longtime friend and work partner passed away from cancer, I was pretty lost without her. During her last few months of life, I began texting her photos of a Maileg mouse toy in various scenes just to give her a smile, and in order to cope when she was gone, I just kept going. At first I took the photos to calm my inner world, but then it became an Instagram art project, taking me back to the same goal I had as a child – to create a safe and cozy miniature world I could actually crawl inside!
After designing and building two wire-framed puppet animals, I began work on a photo-illustrated picture book, with scenes shot in the forest and on interior sets. I have spent a LOT of time, muddy and bug-bitten, trying to get the perfect shot of these puppets. It’s hard work, but fun! When I’m not in the woods I make props for my sets, mostly from rubbish and twigs. The environment is important to me, so I like to use the materials I already have, rather than buying new stuff. The result is pretty quirky!
My goal in all my writing, and especially in picture books, is to inspire children to connect with nature – to notice its tiny details and the patterns in the chaos, and feel the wonder of belonging to such a beautiful planet.
I hope you’re inspired to check out my children’s novel The Stowaways (in print, e-book, and the library) and to follow my journey here or on Instagram, where I share my practice photos with Maileg toys and the process of making my books. When they’re published, I’ll be able to share my puppets and book images, too. See you soon!