Mark James, a guitarist who grew up in Burton Joyce, has recently published his first book titled ‘Pet Sounds’.
First published on 8th January 2021, Pet Sounds is a children’s picture book that follows a musical band of animals on a quest to find someone to play the guitar for them. Mark has even produced a Youtube video and song to go with the story.
Originally, Mark intended the book to just be something special that he could read to his 3-year-old son. He said “It took me within a year from conception to getting it as a hard copy that I was able to read to my son George. I had initially used an online photobook website to create the book and it was originally only ever meant to be for my son.
“My (very supportive) wife however had bigger ideas and had sent it off to publishers without my knowledge. On one of my birthdays, I opened up a present to find an acceptance letter from a publishing firm who wanted to print the book.
“Because of lockdowns and covid restrictions the book has taken a lot longer to develop but it was finally released in January and is available to be purchased online at Waterstones, Amazon, WHS, Austin and Macauley, among a few.
“In the meantime I have been busy working on 5 smaller spin off books which have all been completed now. And I have currently just started on my next book, this one has been inspired by the birth of our second child, Harry, who was born in the first lockdown last year. I am deliberating on calling this book ‘lockdown Harry’.”
Mark James, who now lives in Colwick with his wife and two boys, is also somewhat of a local celebrity, appearing around the Calverton & Burton Joyce areas as well as other Nottinghamshire villages as a guitarist in a band called, ‘The Brace’. Often performing at pubs and local festivals.
Mark continued, “I grew up in Burton Joyce, went to the primary school there and later worked at the Co-op on Main Street. I studied Music at Derby university and have worked as a peripatetic Guitar teacher in schools for the past 10 years or so, while also performing in and around Nottingham in a band called ‘The Brace’”
When speaking about what inspired Mark to create a children’s book he said, “When I was younger, I used to be constantly drawing and painting but as I got older decided to concentrate mainly on music, and without even realising it seemed to completely stop all drawing and art for 20 years.
“I guess when you get older and have to deal with mortgages, bills, insurance, jobs and boring adult stuff then creative urges can slowly subside. However, when my first child was born 3 years ago, I experienced a flow of creative inspiration and thought I would try my hand at producing a picture book, even though I am not really a reader and I did not know if I could even still draw.”
Mark clearly still has the talent as this book is filled with 30 pages of colour characters. He has already received sparkling reviews, one person said, “Great book the story is clearly an original and the illustrations were bright and fun!”
Another person said, “Bought this book for my Great Grandchildren. The illustrations, all done by Mark are so bright, colourful and make one feel happy. Well done Mark, looking forward to the next book.”
You can purchase a copy of Pet Sounds on the Amazon website. Plus, you can also listen to Mark James’ accompanying video and soundtrack at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxBnc0QHg4o&t=22s