Guest Post: Ilona Slack

A Guest Post by Ilona Slack, author of Chauns

It’s time to learn about the Chauns [kawns] because they are out there, despite being very small and close to impossible to notice. Just like with other small creatures, we neither know what they are up to most of the time, nor attempt to learn about it. We see them and then forget about them because their life is so separate from ours. But would you ask what they usually do if you had a chance and they could reply? Would you believe the stories they told you? The book makes this possible with the Chauns. Now you can discover where they like to be, the things they tend to do and, because there are more than one, you might just pick a favourite; after all, they are adorable.

For me it all started with Connie, an original character never seen before. You can call him my imagination but his world is credible. It had to be or he would lose appeal, for looks are one thing but characteristics are the real deal. As his depicted world grew fast and steady in my head and on paper, something happened that would change my approach – thanks to the wind my husband’s glasses flew into the River Avon during his lunch break. Of course, this was my fault. After all, not that long before this I had chosen the more expensive ones, the ultra-lightweight ones (that glided so beautifully but instantly failed to float) and so his employer had to courier him home because he couldn’t see his computer screen (or much else) without his glasses. I was not going to hear the end of it, so I had to do something to make it worthwhile. My intention at once became to say to him one day “but of course, it had to be or else the book wouldn’t be the same” so an additional chapter was in order. But the Chauns don’t wear glasses; something else needed a twist to make this work and I came up with the narration frame for the stories to be somewhat broken up and yet still connected in a slightly more unusual way than just sequential chapters.

The two things that helped me shape the book the most (and in general to come up with thoughts to jot down) are walking and sitting in a car as a passenger, watching the scenery change. I do the first more often, and I prefer more distant, circular walks. I found Bristol very inspirational and I forged the core of many passages on or near the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. We have since moved to Wales and I’m sure this new location won’t disappoint either in what it has to offer for discovery; so worry not if you can’t get enough of the Chauns, because more stories of them are on the way and you can follow my (very new) Instagram account for upcoming sketches @ilona.slack!

PS my husband never brings up the lost specks. He does always opt for the cheaper kind though. I don’t get a say in it (yet!).

Chauns is available in paperback on Amazon and in ebook on Kindle.
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