Steve Antony, author and illustrator of such divine picture books as Betty Goes Bananas, Please Mr Panda & The Queen’s Hat is here to share a sneak peek at his next creation, and tell us who inspired Betty!
What makes you happy? Happy people. And chocolate.
Where have you always wanted to visit, but haven’t made it to … yet?
There are so many places I’d like to visit! Where do I start? Niagara Falls, The Great Wall of China, Easter Island, Machu Picchu, Brighton. I haven’t visited either of those places yet because I haven’t, as yet, had the opportunity. Plus, my bucket list is pretty long.
I must ask, WHO inspired the character of Betty?!
Once I’d decided that Betty’s story would be about tantrums, I remembered all of the tantrums that my three brothers and I had as children. I also remembered my niece’s epic fits of rage. One time she was so worked up that she stormed out, slammed the front door, and ran around the house crying and pulling faces through the windows.The book is dedicated to her.
What are your top tips for coping with a Betty style tantrum?!
I guess everyone copes with tantrums differently. Really, Betty Goes Bananas invites the reader to ask things like ‘Is Betty overreacting a little?’ and ‘How would you cope if you couldn’t peel the banana?’ I wanted it to be a funny book, but most importantly, I wanted to create something relatable that could potentially spark a conversation about tantrums between all of the ‘Bettys’ and ‘Toucans’ out there.
Where is your favourite place to create books?
Right here in my little studio. Here, I’ve got everything I need. My cups of pencils, my pile of sketchbooks, my Mac, my printer/scanner, my cork board (which is plastered with ideas and things to do lists), my books, and my glass desk. My glass desk is especially useful. I often use it as a lightbox by placing a lamp underneath it. All I have to do is shut the door, play some music and wait for divine inspiration!
What’s the best thing about being a published author & illustrator?
Well, I worked in a call centre for nine years before being made redundant, which afforded me the opportunity to pursue this dream job. It was a great job and I made lots of friends there, but it wanted to be an author-illustrator. I would doodle and write little stories in-between phone calls from unhappy customers. So, the best thing is quite simply to be able to do what I enjoy most (without wearing a headset)!
What’s your worst habit?
Losing things. My cars keys, my wallet, my gym card. My car.
Can you give us a glimpse / peek / hint at your current WIP?
I’ve recently finished a sequel to Betty Goes Bananas called Betty Goes Bananas in her Pyjamas. I’m currently working on a few books. One of them will be my third title with OUP, but I’m pretty sure I can’t say anything about that just yet!
Did we forget anything?
Just for fun
Tea or coffee? Coffee
Paper books or e-books? Paper. I love turning pages, folding pages, and highlighting things I want to remember or words I want to look up. I do make spur-of-the-moment e-book purchases, but I do sometimes struggle with focusing on the screen.
Cake or chocolate? Both. Together.
Write or type? Type, because it’s easier to edit. But most of my initial ideas are first jotted down in my handy, little sketchbook.
Poetry or prose? Ideally, a bit of both. I love writing poetry. I love wordplay and alliterations, too.
Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin? Hufflepuff
Hot or cold? Hot. I lived in a desert for 8 years. I need heat!