What's next after Paris Block by Block?

It's been six weeks since Paris Block by Block was released and I've been blown away by the orders and support from all you lovely people. I hope that as you receive your copies you are inspired for your next Parisian adventure.
Since 2021 I have been writing and illustrating my travel books, and they are such a joy to create, but I do have to remind myself to take a step back and enjoy the milestones as they come. To remember to celebrate the release of the books- and not just keep my head down busy working on the next one.
Getting a book published is a huge deal for any author- only 1-2% of books pitched to publishers get published. I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to write and illustrate three books- with more on the way, so I thought it would be fun to answer some of the questions I got asked most frequently at the handful of events that I recently had to celebrate the release of Paris Block by Block.
What is the next book?
I’m busily working on Barcelona Block by Block, and I am very excited about it. It is such a vibrant city with so much history, and I can’t wait to share my favourite bits with you. We are in contract discussions for a further three books as well after this. If sales keep going well I’d love to continue the series until I’ve done all my favourite cities.
I’m also working with my agent on pitching a London Kids book- I’m envisioning part guide book, part activity book (where kids will be able to create maps of how they spent their day in the city) and can’t wait to share more.
Do you visit every place you include in your books?
As much as I wish I could say yes to this, the answer is no, with a big caveat. I do SO much research, and also work with locals to ensure I am including the best of the best. I try to go to as many places as possible but I can’t do it all.
Do you get your research trips paid for?
The short answer is no. Publishers give you an advance for your books (split out into several payments as you reach different milestones, for me these triggers are signing a contract, submitting all the text and illustrations for a books, and the book actually being released).  So when I go on my research trips I am paying for, not expensing, them.
What is your favourite Map in Paris Block by Block?
I LOVE this question, but it is so hard to answer. If I can choose one from each section I would say Patisseries, Rue de Bac, Paris in Spring, and Impressionist Paris. But I have a soft sport in my heart for each and every map I’ve created.
Thoughts on Being a Tourist: Is It Better to Blend in or standout?
Tourism isn’t about blending in or fitting a mould; it’s about experiencing other cultures and ways of living. Humans are naturally curious, and tourism is an extension of that curiosity.
In our daily lives, we stay within our comfort zones, but as tourists, we experience life differently. The joy of discovering a new place, a charming street, a piece of art, or a delicious meal are the moments we cherish.
How to scratch the travel itch when you don’t have any upcoming trips?
One of the biggest truths is that when things are readily available on your doorstep you tend to not do them.
Look for small opportunities to enjoy your local area- and treat weekends with a vacation mindset. I have a running list of weekend activities, from restaurants to try, bakeries to visit, national trust sites, and local festivals. When we have a free weekend, we pick an item off the list. Some ideas that could apply to any city,
-Ice cream crawl, visit a handful of ice cream places with a friend and pick your favourite flavour.
-A long walk in a new neighbourhood.
-Visit a bookstore you’ve never been to before.
Top tips for planning a great holiday?
  1. Leave Room for the Unexpected: Some of the best experiences happen spontaneously.
  2. Explore Off the Beaten Path: Venture a street or two away from main areas to find hidden gems. Some of my favourite bakeries/shops/restaurants are in very central areas, but a street or two off THE MAIN streets.
  3. Ask Locals for Recommendations: Simple conversations with baristas or shop assistants can lead to amazing finds.
  4. Do Some Research, But Stay Flexible: Set aside extra time to explore new areas beyond your itinerary.
  5. Plan According to Interests: Tailor your trip to your and your group's interests, be it food, art, historic sights, etc.
  6. Do the Legwork: Make lists and group activities by area. Include more than you can do in a day, allowing flexibility based on your mood/energy/hunger/group dynamics.
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