THE story goes that J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by a raft of literary agents who turned their noses up at it.
But her tenacity and determination paid off and the rest as they say - about the multi-million selling author, now estimated to be worth more than £560 million - is history.
The example of never giving up is one which has been followed by Calderdale author and illustrator Tim Beaumont who is hoping young readers will take his creations as much to their hearts as they did bespectacled Harry and his wizarding friends.
And there’s no reason why they shouldn’t because Try, Steg and Trex, a trio of multi-coloured prehistoric friends are just as adorable.
They have now been unveiled to the world in their first adventure - Dino Express - a beautifully-crafted interactive picture book with pop-ups, flaps, pull-out tabs, fun rhymes and even glow-in-the-dark ink.
Tim’s journey to see his book published has been a long one but the talented creator, based in Rastrick, Brighouse, reveals that he never lost his passion for the project.
“There were so many times when I thought I had found a publisher and then it came to nothing, that it was disheartening but lots of people kept giving me encouragement and I was just determined that I wouldn’t give up,” says the 52-year-old.
One of his supporters who comes in for praise is his wife, Julie who he describes as “absolutely amazing.”
“Money’s been tight while I have been pursuing this dream. That old saying about starving artists is absolutely true,” he says.
“There has also been so much self-doubt but Julie kept me going. She believed in me and she believed in the book,” he says.
And someone else who has believed in Tim’s book has been his agent Lori Nowicki at Painted Words, which is based in New York.
Once Lori and her team set eyes on Tim’s work they knew they had the potential for success and thanks to publishers Running Press, his hard work has been beautifully brought to life.
Tim reveals that he has always been passionate about drawing and painting and has always pursued a creative career.
“My first job was at an engravers where I worked on sheet metal but one day the manager of the drawing office saw some of my work and asked me to work in his department as a draughtsman.
“I always knew though that my interests were more in creative drawing than the technical side,” he says - adding that his talents are purely natural.
“I’m just self-taught. I’ve never been to art college.”
He has also worked in graphic design, printing and commercial art and then in 1987 he decided he would work for himself.
Over the years his children’s illustrations have caught the eye of many and brought him a number of commissions - among them Oxford University Press and Asda.
He also reveals that big screen animation which was used for a Ronan Keating concert, when he performed his hit song Father and Son, came about as the result of his drawings.
Tim reveals that Dino Express was inspired by a childhood love of two passions - dinosaurs and vehicles.
“I used to visit the Natural History Museum in London. It was one of my favourite places,” he says. “I would marvel at the animals and sit there and draw them. I also loved vehicles of all kinds so it’s been great combining them in the book.
“For me though I think it’s wonderful to encourage a passion for books and stories in children. As a child one of my favourite books was Story Time which was given to me by my gran for my third birthday in 1962.”
He produces the all-colour bedtime story book which is obviously still a treasured possession.
The ideas for Dino Express have “been a long time in the making” he adds.
“It was originally intended for Harrison (his son), who is now 12. He’s a bit old for it but essentially I’ve still done it for him,” he laughs. Tim also has a step-daughter, Nicky, 27.
“It feels like such a long process looking back. I now understand what people say when they are trying to get published. There were many false hopes but it has worked out fine in the end.”
Tim thought at one stage he had secured a deal with major publisher Bloomsbury (who were the first publishers to spot the talents of J.K. Rowling) but that came to nothing. However encouragement from others kept him going.
“I saw one agent who looked at my work and just advised me to carry on because she could see potential. She said ‘it needs developing but you will be a published author.’”
Her vision has now been vindicated. Dino Express is a captivating book for any youngster who will delight in each of its vibrant and stimulating pages and will love the adorable characters of Trex, the orange T-Rex, Try, the red triceratops (both boys) and their companion Steg, a blue stegosaurus.
All three set out on an adventure to find the biggest dinosaur in the jungle, navigating their way through lots of fun on their “chugga chugga puff puff” journey, and as all good story books promise, there’s an exciting twist at the very end which will surely leave children calling for more.
Tim will be unveiling the book at a special launch at the Children’s Book Shop, Lindley next Thursday, April 26 - the day of the book’s publication. Also that day there’ll be a special workshop for youngsters from 3.45pm at Lindley Library where children will be able to colour in pictures of the three new dinosaur characters.
Tim is now hoping to go into schools in Calderdale and work with children through drawing and illustration workshops and would like any school interested to get in touch with him at email@example.com
The book will go on sale in Calderdale next Thursday, April 26 - including at Fred Wade, Halifax.