Author & Illustrator Interview: Louie Stowell


Have you nabbed your copy of Loki yet? Quite honestly, it’s one of my favourites so far this year. I devoured an early proof of this one, and haven’t stopped telling readers about since! Filled to the brim with Loki-style irreverent humour, & fabulously quirky doodles, you’ll be snort-laughing over all the pages. Sorry Loki. Super excited to welcome Louie Stowell, the creative genius behind Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good, to My Book Corner. Grab a cuppa, and enjoy my interview with Louie…

LOKILoki’s journal writes back to him, often with hilarious and witty remarks and critiques of Loki. Does comedic writing come naturally to you or is it a skill you’ve really had to work on?

I think life is fundamentally ridiculous, so essentially comedy is just documentary. But it’s definitely taken a while to work out how to make sure my jokes were pitched in the right way for children – I started off with a tendency to use too many references that children wouldn’t get.

Were you a fan of Norse mythology when you were growing up?

Yes! Though I loved all myths, legends and ancient stories. I love oral culture – how it changes over time, retold by different people. Myth is like Loki, always shifting and defying firm boundaries.

Could you share one interesting fact about Norse mythology?

There’s a giant in the myths who rides a giant wolf with snakes for reins. I liked her so much I stole her for my book, although she only appears in one story that I know of, set at a funeral.

What advice might you give to parents/carers/librarians who are hoping to encourage children to read more?

Comics. Comics. Comics! They’re so enticing. I actually wrote my undergraduate thesis on the literary value of comics.

When illustrating your version of Loki, did you use any other depictions of Loki as reference or did you rely solely on your own imagination?

I drew Loki as a mortal child first – and the only reference there was Dennis the Menace, whose hair is aspirational. Discovering what he should look like was a gradual process of evolving doodles. But when I came to draw him as an adult god, I looked back at medieval carvings, especially the eighth-century Loki Stone at Kirkby Stephen Church, Cumbria. That shows him with horns and a beard, so I gave him both those things. Also, horns are cool.

Louie Stowell started her career writing carefully-researched books about space, ancient Egypt, politics and science but eventually lapsed into just making stuff up. She has written fiction for 8–12 (Nosy Crow and Walker Books US), but Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good is her first project as both author and illustrator, inspired by her research into Norse myths. Louie writes (and draws) full time in London, where she lives with her wife Karen, her dog Buffy and a creepy puppet that is probably cursed.

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