Byte Connects: Rachel Kelly (Author) and Rosie Brookes (Illustrator)

Posted by Justine Solomons on 21 September 2021, in Byte Connects, News

Byte the Book loves bringing people from all areas of the publishing world together so that they can learn from each other and collaborate, and we want to highlight some wonderful collaborations that have come about via Byte The Book.

Here author Rachel Kelly talks about working with Rosie Brooks on the illustrations of the US edition of her book Singing in the Rain.

If you've found some great collaborators through Byte The Book and are keen to share your stories in this series please send us an email to

What did you ask Rosie to do?

I asked Rosie to illustrate my American edition of ‘Singing in the Rain: An Inspirational Workbook’. I had published the book with Short Books in the UK but hadn’t yet got a US publishers (though Simon &Schuster have published my other books in the US). Instead of waiting, I decided to publish with Amazon: I had an incentive as an American book club had asked for a large number of copies! I thought I could just sort them from the UK but the shipping costs meant the deal fell through. But I thought good to be prepared in case another order came through!

So I decided to sort my own American edition, and that it would also be fun to have a go at self publishing and see what it was like. Part of the fun was commissioning people like Rosie. I asked her to do the cover, as well as illustrations for the exercises and activities in the book’s 52 chapters. I wanted something light touch, fun, and gentle - all characteristics of Rosie’s work. So I asked her to keep that spirit in her drawings which is in keeping with the spirit of the text - I hope!

How did you work together?
Rosie would send me her rough illustrations, I would okay them, and then she would work them up for the finished book. We proceeded happily together. It didn’t really feel like work to be honest: Rosie got the feel of the book straight away and I pretty much said yes to all her sketches ...

What was Rosie like to work with?

Fun, easy, charming, and good value! Very intuitive and responsive to what an author needs.

Rachel Kelly is a bestselling writer, public speaker and mental health campaigner. She writes regularly for the press and gives TV and radio interviews to help educate and break down the stigma around mental illness in her role as an ambassador for several mental health charities. She also shares evidence-based strategies on how to stay calm and well and is the author of four books covering her experience of depression and recovery and her steps to wellbeing from poetry to nutrition. Rachel speaks at events and wellbeing workshops, sharing her motivational and holistic approach to good mental health. She is an official ambassador for Rethink Mental Illness, HeadTalks, SANE and The Counselling Foundation. Her books include her memoir Black Rainbow about her expression of depression and three subsequent books about her recovery and how to stay calm and well - Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness; The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food; and Singing in the Rain: An inspirational workbook. She is a member of the Speakers Collective, a group of speakers with lived experience of mental health conditions. You can get in touch with her via her website.

Rosie Brooks is an illustrator with a long list of clients including Classic FM, Naxos Recordings, The Royal Opera House, Sir Paul McCartney OUP, Pearson, De Agostini, Dover Publications, Hodder and Pavilion. Rosie is currently working on an extremely ambitious project illustrating over fifty of the world's top operas and ballets.  You can get in touch with her via her website.


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