All About Brave Brian

Inspiration really does come at unlikely moments. Read on to find out what inspired Josie to write Brave Brian.

I find it difficult to write a story from a plan. If I sit down to think of a story idea, nothing happens. Luckily ideas come to me while I’m doing other things, and then I have to stop whatever I am doing and write the story before it disappears from my mind!

Rhinos in the wild in Africa

Brave Brian was inspired by a TV documentary. The programme showed the work of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The organisation worked with a zoo in the Czech Republic to release a captive rhino into the wild. The programme is now available on Amazon Prime. It is called Return of the White Rhino if you want to watch it. Let me know if it inspires your creativity too.

After watching the documentary, I grabbed a notebook and pen and wrote the story in one sitting. I knew I wanted to do something with Brave Brian, but it took me many years to find the courage to send the story to an editor, Vicky. A few weeks later, Vicky returned my manuscript (this always sounds such a grand word for what it is in fact only 2-3 pages of typing) with various notes including giving the story a more detailed closing. I put the story and Vicky’s notes to one side for a couple of months until one day, when trying to write something else, Brave Brian popped into my head and I turned my attention to re-writing his story. The beginning of the poem evolved to have a different stanza, which meant I then had to alter the entire story to fit with the new (and definitely improved) rhythm. It took me a further few weeks to fit the existing storyline into this new pattern. I was happy with the result in the end, and Vicky approved when I sent it back to her for a second review.

I need to work now on bringing Brave Brian to life as a picture book.

I’ve borrowed a few rhino illustrations from Canva here, and thrown in the one which Nic Phine created. Let me know which is your favourite.

Illustrations of rhinos for Josie's Brave Brian book