Behind the Book: Lily, the Pond Mermaid
last updated 05 October 2023
Discover the enchanting tale of Lily, the Pond Mermaid – a story about self-discovery and the power of seeking support. Written and illustrated by the talented Lucy Fleming, known for her captivating work in Ella’s Night Lights, this beautifully crafted book takes readers on a delightful adventure through a vibrant pond teeming with charming characters.
Marking her second author/illustrated project with Walker Books, Lucy’s rich style of illustration coupled with her imaginative storytelling make this title one deserving a place in any bedtime routine.
In this interview, Lucy shares her unique creative process. Join us as we dive into the story behind the book.
What inspired the artistic style in Lily, the Pond Mermaid?
I’ve been developing my art style since the beginning of my career and it often feels like an ongoing process that never has an end! For Lily, the Pond Mermaid in particular I wanted to lean in to some watery textures and plenty of vibrant colours.
I love including plenty of rich textures, lively and adorable characters including plenty of nature and animal life so that there is lots to spot on each page for the reader.
What inspired the character design?
I really wanted Lily to be quite ‘unique meets classic’ when it comes to a mermaid design. Inspired by goldfish, her vibrant orange tail and white hair makes her stand out in the greens and blues of the pond.
What do you love most about illustrating books?
My favourite aspect is designing the colour palette, when it clicks together it is the best feeling - although it’s probably the most frustrating aspect for me as well as I often overthink it!
What do you love most about authoring books?
The best part about working with Walker Books and being able to develop my own characters and stories is delving into all the ‘why’s’ and ‘how’s’. Once I’ve got a character and a story idea, I begin building their world and that’s where the fun happens. I can consider, ‘what would a pond mermaid’s home look like?’, ‘What tools would she need to carry out her daily tasks? And, what animals would she meet in a pond?’. This detail oriented thinking really suits the way I work, as often considering the book as a whole, or the overall narrative arc can be a more intense and overwhelming process, but once I get into the smaller details I find my happy place!
What was your favourite part of working on Lily, the Pond Mermaid in particular?
Lily, the Pond Mermaid was a particularly special book to work on. I began developing and writing it back in late 2020. The world was, of course, a very strange and unpredictable place at that time. So, my favourite thing about creating the book was that unbeknownst to me it became rather cathartic to escape into this magical world. In many ways Lily’s story is a product of that time - although I’d like to think she brings a hopeful message.
Do you personally resonate with the theme of the book? Why is it important or special to you?
Absolutely! The book deals with feelings of anxiety and worry. To this day I struggle with anxieties now and again. It’s something so many people can relate to, and for very small children it can be hard to understand worry or have the vocabulary to articulate it, so hopefully Lily’s world will be a comfort.
Is there anything specific you hope readers take away from reading Lily, the Pond Mermaid?
I hope that Lily will leave the reader with a touch more magic in their life. I’d love for readers to be left with an appreciation for the small and sometimes forgotten parts of the natural world. And mostly, I love for the reader to be left with a sense of comfort for when life gets a little messy.
Published by Walker Books, Lily, the Pond Mermaid is avaialble now!