A flippant decision to send his manuscript to the biggest publisher first was an inspired choice for a former Alexandra man.
Sam, known as Book, Ruffell, who now lives in Mosgiel, said he created the first 20 pages of his graphic novel Para Pukeko and the Stupid Time Thingy while live› streaming on the platform Twitch. He streamed most days, usually working on art commissions, but when there was nothing pressing he developed his book idea.
“I knew I wanted to do a story about pukeko. I love them at the (Dunedin) dump, they’re the best thing about going there. I had a story about them living at the dump and saving it but then had this other idea about a time machine . . .”
Twitch was a live video- streaming platform primarily aimed at gamers but now included everything from artists such as Mr Ruffell to musicians and cooking shows.
When he completed the first 20 pages he decided to pitch the book to Penguin, New Zealand’s biggest children’s book publisher first.
“I decided to start with the top and work my way down through the rejection letters.’’
Penguin’s automatic response acknowledged his submission and advised a wait of four months before he could expect to hear back from them.
To his astonishment, the following morning, just hours after he sent the manuscript, he had an email saying they were interested in his manuscript and wanted to see the rest.
Once over his shock he realised there was no more, yet, and he worked quickly on the rest of it.
However, there was more to come. Not only did Penguin want that book but two more as well.
Each of the books in the trilogy tells of New Zealand’s history and would have 96 pages.
He had now completed all three and said he had tried to make them very funny.
“I already had the ending. I just moved that and filled in the gaps with more history and character development.’’
The books were ones he wishes he had had as a child, Mr Ruffell said.
He had to research the New Zealand history in the books as he had not learned a lot of it at school, he said.
The book will be launched in Central Otago on June 9, at Paper Plus in Alexandra.
Central Otago school pupils can enter a colouring competition to win a copy of the book.
The entries will be on display in the Alexandra Paper Plus store.
There will be two prizes on offer — one chosen by public vote and the other by Mr Ruffell.