Held Design


Perfects Little Brother…

I remember when I self published A Place Called Perfect I wanted to make sure it was as polished as possible so that it didn’t look out of place on any bookshelf. The publishing world can be hard on self published authors and if you want to get out there into shops and garner reviews you need to look professional.

I decided to self published because it seemed to be the way the industry in America was going. A lot of authors self published, got reviews and sales figures then approached a publisher. I’m a graphic designer, it’s my job to design things so I thought it was a logical step to self publish. I finished the book, got in an editor and started to design the cover.

Perfect is a book for both boys and girls and I wanted the cover to not alienate anyone. I chose a neutral colour, a sea green. Then I illustrated the town and the Archers and framed them with lots of elements from the story such as eyeballs, skulls, tea, jars and of course the glasses. I chose to leave the illustrations in white outline as I felt they looked stark and slightly spooky against the green.

I was delighted with the outcome of my self published version, it didn’t look amateur at all I told myself. Now I’m rethinking that notion. As I look at the two covers together I’m beyond happy with Usborne and Karl Mountfords interpretation of the story. The cover makes the older version pale.

I can’t disregard my self published attempt though, it helped in a huge way to get a publisher. I would never take it back and it will sit proudly on my shelf alongside it’s new big brother!

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We’re all looking good…

A few months ago Usborne brought their debut authors for 2017 together in London to learn about promoting ourselves from a company called Author Profile. It was great to meet others in the same boat and to hear their stories. I really enjoyed the day and learnt so much, now I just have to put it into practice uh oh!!!

Anyway three of us in our book form 😉 are in the picture above. Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter and The Amber Pendant, the first book in The Rose Muddle Mysteries by Imogen White were both released the 1st of June. A Place Called Perfect is available for pre order now but will be released on the 1st of August.

I think we’re all looking well, if I do say so myself.



Which one of these was easier to produce?

So I got a book and a baby in the space of a month. Baby Jo, called after Robbies grandfather Joe Heffernan was born just after 3 on the 5th of May, the 5th of the 5th, it has a nice ring to it! And eight copies of A Place Called Perfect landed on my desk a few weeks later. There were celebrations all round!

A Place Called Perfect will be launched on August 11th in Easons on O Connell Street and all are welcome… more celebrations to come!!

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A Place Called Perfect Cover Reveal

A Place Called Perfect had it’s cover reveal over on Book Lover Jo’s blog this morning. I’m so happy with the outcome, blown over! Check out her post HERE.

It was illustrated by the extremely talented Karl James Mountford, you can check out more of his work HERE.

A Place Called Perfect is available to Pre-Order NOW from Amazon. CLICK HERE




World Book Day

So today I’m writing a post meant for yesterday but that’s good for me, normally using my excellent time keeping skills, I write posts that were meant for months or even years previous!

It’s a short post to tell you that on World Book Day I’ve started reading the first in “His Dark Materials” series. I’ve heard of it so many times and never dipped in so now feels about the right time! Also I heard Philip Pullman is releasing another series and everyone seems really hyped about it and I couldn’t read it without reading the first. Interesting fact, when I asked for the book, as I couldn’t find it in Sci Fi, I was directed to the children’s section… I didn’t realise it was a children’s book and this makes me more excited as I’ve only heard recommendations from adults. It’s a cross over and I love those!!

Updates on Perfect…

The book has gone through a tough copy edit and is now back with Usborne. I visited them a few weeks ago and met a few other first time authors who’s books will be out this year too! They are Imogen White with her Rosemuddle series, Tamsin Winter and Being Miss Nobody, Susan Wilson and her Extinction Trials series and Mitch Johnson with his book Kick, if you’d like to check them out! It was really nice to meet others in the same position and to have a catch up dinner with my editor Anne, she’s really nice, not at all what I imagined for an editor (don’t mean to insult editors but I had this image of a person in a high powered business suit ripping pages from a manuscript as the author stood by in tears! Very dramatic I know!!)

Anyway she’s not like that and neither is anyone else in Usborne, I genuinely think I’m extremely lucky to be there and I’m excited now for the year to come. Next up will be the cover reveal…


Muckalee and Meee!

Last week I was kindly invited by Ms Simpson, teacher extraordinaire, of the most amazing 3rd class in Muckalee school Kilkenny to come and answer a few questions about Perfect. To say it was a grilling is an understatement. The questions were amazing, way too advanced for me and I tried my hardest to answer them all to the best of my abilities (I have a feeling that third class might be reading this so I hope I did a good job for you all!)

Anyway before I sat on their lovely questions stool I had a look at all the amazing projects they’d completed about “A Place called Perfect”. It blew me away, I can’t believe the work that was put into all of them and the imaginations that literally jumped from the walls. I can’t thank Ms Simpson or 3rd class enough but I’ll try once more… THAK YOU!!!!

P.S Muckalee 3rd class please proof read above blog post for me and email any mistakes back… you’re my editors now 😉

Below are some pictures of the amazing projects!!

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Life in the Trees

When I’m speaking in schools I often tell the classes that I live in the trees, they rarely believe me but now I can tell all the doubting Thomas’s that I really do… I live in the trees (sometimes!)

My boyfriend Robbie Heffernan along with his brother Billy undertook a work of love for the past year and have recently launched The Braille House, a treehouse that sits down the bottom of our very long garden!

They called it the Braille House as they had to literally feel their way through the project and so in the branding I used Braille to spell out the word home and this became an installation of stars above a treehouse.

The website has just been made live and you can check it out The Braille House. I’ll also have the branding up on my portfolio soon!


I’ve just been signed to Usbourne!

I’ve just been signed to Usborne Publishing (when I say just it was a few months ago but I’m slow at the blogging, I resolve to solve that issue!)

I went over to London to visit them in March and had an amazing experience, not anything I had imagined. To give you an insight into my imaginings, I had thought I’d meet black suited, white shirted corporates holding files and drilling me on everything from what Violet ate for breakfast to the colour of Boy’s sock (he doesn’t own any!) as I sat at one end of an enormous polished table and they sat stern at the other. It wasn’t at all like this (and probably never is) it was very informal, Anne and Sarah (my editors, sounds very surreal to say!) had lunch ready and we ate and chatted before going over the story. It wasn’t at all like a Leaving Cert exam, much more of a “Mocks” situation!

I’ve now to finish another round of edits and then send it back via the invisible interweb. Fingers crossed.

(As this post was written postdraftmously the said draft has been finished and sent to Anne due to a lovely and much missed stay at Annamakerrig in Monaghan thanks to Kilkenny Arts Office)

Above is a picture I drew to celebrate! (the signing, not the draft finishing!)

For a friend…

A friend of mine passed a few weeks ago,  the only (long suffering) male in our writing group. He was an amazing man, that’s not said lightly. I drew this little bird for him.

The Celts looked up to the Wren as they valued it’s way of life for how well it took care of it’s young. Pretty apt!

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