IT’S been 20 years in the making but Perth author Chris Thomas – previously known for writing official Doctor Who spin-offs – has finally released his first children’s picture book.
Leonard The Lonely Duck follows the title character as he finds himself in a strange place, away from his friends and home.
Scared and alone, Leonard tries to make new friends among the different animals he meets as he waddles about, looking for help and a little bit of kindness.
Thomas said he based the characters on animals he came across in a park, near where he used to live.
“I was unemployed at the time and I used to go for walks in the park to stop myself from going insane with boredom,” he said.
“After regularly seeing the same animals, I noticed a completely white duck among the other wild ones, as well as a couple of others that didn’t have the same feather colouring.
“I was under the impression they were domestic ducks that had been dumped and got to thinking about how they fitted in.
“The white duck was the inspiration for Leonard and, given I had little else to do at the time, I put together a story about him suddenly finding himself in the park and meeting the other animals I had seen.
“The story follows him as he meets a variety of creatures he has never encountered before and, given he is in a strange place, he desperately looks for a friend.
“But, like all good children’s books, the story has a happy ending.”
Thomas has previously written the Doctor Who spin-off novel Lethbridge-Stewart: Blue Blood and short story Vampires of the Night, as well as One Step Forward, Two Steps Back in the official collection Doctor Who: Short Trips – Defining Patterns.
He is also the author of the novel Journo’s Diary and SMS Mess and other plays, a compilation of eight scripts he has written for the stage.
“Leonard The Lonely Duck is something I’ve had on the backburner for many years and last year I decided to bite the bullet and became determined to make the book a reality,” Thomas said.
“The publisher paired me with the wonderful illustrator Terry Cooper who brought the story to life in an amazing way – the pictures were even better than I imagined.”
Signed copies of Leonard The Lonely Duck are available locally for $20 (plus $3.60 postage) via the author at [email protected] or unsigned from tinyurl.com/leonardlonely