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ISLAND Eight is the result of an alliance between a British author and an American illustrator brought together by the global search engine Google.
When children's author Bob Cypher was thinking of updating a story of his that was first published 20 years ago, his main concern was to find someone who would turn his words into images. He soon disovered a forum called Children's Book Illustrators on Google+ and posted a message asking for an illustrator.
"I wasn't sure whether I would get any response," Bob remembers. "Then one day, when I checked my email, there was a message which just said: "This sounds like my cup of tea". The email came from Dave Luebbert so I replied sending him a few images from the original and that's how Harry & Holly's Adventures on Island Eight was born."
That was two years ago and the start of a project which has blossomed into a friendship between two men of a similar age who live thousands of miles apart, have never met or even spoken on the phone.
"I know it's almost unbelievable but it's true," Bob added. "The story was first published in the early 1990s by the newspaper where I worked as a journalist as part of the Newspapers in Education initiative to encourage children to read newspapers."
Shortly afterwards, Bob took a new job at the South Wales Echo in Cardiff and the few remaining copies of the book were put in a drawer and forgotten.
"My new job meant I was covering a lot of major sporting events at home and abroad, like the Olympic and Commonwealth Games as well as World and European Track & Field athletics championships and I really didn't have the time to spend on the book.
"When I retired, I decided to join the Children's Book Illustrators forum and the rest is history.
"Dave lives in Independence in Missouri which is six hours behind GMT so I was able to write a passage in the book, email it to him before I went to bed and when I woke in the morning, Dave's illustrations were waiting for me.
"I would work on them in the morning and send alterations or other ideas back to him and he would see them when he woke up! It was, and still is, a perfect system.
"Dave and I hope children of all ages enjoy our ebook and will visit our website where there are puzzles and drawings for them to download and colour on the Fun Stuff pages.
"It would be great if youngsters read the story and look at Dave's images and feel inspired to take up writing and art as a career."
Meet The Artist Dave Luebbert
Bob Cypher
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