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Q&A with Jo Brown, author of Secrets of a Devon Wood

Posted by Lucy H on 13th Oct 2020

Q&A with Jo Brown, author of Secrets of a Devon Wood

Secrets of a Devon Wood cover photoWe absolutely love the illustrations in Secrets of a Devon Wood. As well as the illustrations, there are lots of fascinating facts about the plants and creatures you have found. Have you always had an interest in ecology and the biology of living things?

When I find something new I want to identify it, I want to know why it’s there & what it does & how it lives. I am interested to learn about wildlife. It’s important for me to understand my surroundings. The more I understand nature, the more I feel a part of it. The more connected I become.

How did you go about identifying and finding out about all of the different species in your book?

I look things up in books & online. I read as much as I can find & I note the facts I find interesting.

Are there any particular creatures that have fascinated you the most? Is there a particular plant or animal you’d like to draw or find?

I’ve never found an octopus stinkhorn (Clathrus archeri) People are finding them right now, they are out. They are rare, but still….

What’s the most memorable thing you’ve recorded or spotted on a walk?

There are so many memorable things I’ve spotted whilst walking that I’d struggle to narrow it down to a favourite one.

The life cycles of all the different plants and bugs can be enthralling, are there any that you have particularly enjoyed capturing in your illustrations?

I enjoy capturing each & every lifecycle that I’ve illustrated. I couldn’t pick a favourite. It really isn’t about having a favourite, it is about enjoying the whole experience.

The Covid situation has affected us all in different ways. How have you been managing in lockdown?

Covid isolation is how I live my life anyway. I was socially distancing & hiding in hedges decades before it was commonplace. Although the pressure to perform creatively with regards to completing the journal in the middle of a national lockdown was especially challenging. The impending doom stifled my mojo & I needed to extend the deadline by a month.

Getting outside is so important, especially now that the days are getting shorter. What would you recommend people try to do outdoors?

Go for a walk in the woods obviously! It doesn’t really matter what exactly it is that you do, just get out there and enjoy it.

You've inspired a couple of us to pick up our pens and start sketching again, so thank you very much for that!

Thank you very much for speaking to us, we wish you every success with the book.


Order your copy here.