Well, OF COURSE I’m a huuuuuuuge fan of Sharon Davey’s artwork (ahem, I Don’t Like Books), she’s an all round super wonderful human being and I for one, am making sure I collect every single one of her books to treasure.
The arrival of Oh, Sir Bragalot gave me the perfect excuse to pull her back over to MBC, this time to tackle our infamous questions. Oh, Sir Bragalot is filled with colour, joy and the most fabulous character. The scene where Sir Bragalot panics = the cutest EVER! Grab a cuppa, and some chocolate cake, and enjoy…
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
Northern born, Surrey based. Above average height, below average maturity. Dances like everyone will join in, draws on every surface. Storyteller and art cave dweller!
Your latest picture book, Oh, Sir Bragalot! has had a great response. Can you tell us a little bit about how it came to be?
I met a child who had all the qualities of Sir Bragalot and thought I can’t wait to tell your story. He’s a teenager now as I wrote my first draft in 2014. It makes me laugh to think of a tiny pompous rabbit bragging about his bravery and turning out to be … well you can read it!
Ok, here’s a challenge… can you sum up your book in five words? [runs and hides!]
Biggest, boldest, best, bragging bunny!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am generally opposed to routines and schedules, so my day is as varied as possible. I will make something every day though, it might be an illustration, another draft of a story or giant tree made from chicken wire! You can never predict but it’s always lively at my house.
What makes you happy?
Laughing! I do it a lot! I’ve been kicked out of Zumba classes, card shops and school nativities for starting a giggle riot.
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
I’ve just bought Christopher Corr’s Deep in the Woods and my copy of Júlia Sardà’s first authored /illustrated book, The Witch in the Cave is coming today! I’m very interested in The Wall by Jessie James, illustrated by Catalina Echeverri.
What’s your worst habit?
Mess! I’m really messy. My desk especially! But after years of process, I’ve learnt there no moving it until I get to my worst point and then I’ll start to put things back together.
Your favourite word(s) and why
I like phrases more, is that allowed? By ‘eck! Chuffin’ell! Bloomin’ marvellous! I love dialect written phonetically. I can’t ever use it in a picture book, but they remind me of being a kid and hearing my grandparents talk (and Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas!)
What are your top tips for budding writers and illustrators?
Don’t give up! It’s easy to see the industry as full of impossible successes and be unsure of your place. Focus on telling the very best story you can and don’t give up!
Is there anything that’s surprised you about the publishing process?
I’m constantly surprised how long everything takes. We are so used to clicking buttons and getting instant results. You need to patient in publishing.
Can you give us a glimpse / hint at your current WIP? (I can bribe you with cake!)
Oh, go on then! I’m working on two picture books, one is secret, but the other is with Lotte Jeffs for Puffin called My Magic Family, releasing in 2022. And the third fiction book with Michelle Robinson in the Do Not Disturb series – more dragons and mythical creatures.
Did we forget anything?
You mentioned CAKE?
Just for fun
Tea or coffee? TEA!! Milk, one sugar and keep ‘em coming!
Paper books or e-books? Paper. I love to see the texture and detail up close.
Cake or chocolate? Chocolate cake?
Write or type? Now you are asking! First draft written, with different versions of the same sentence right next to each other. Then I type up and chose the sentence I think works best. Then I print it out and edit on top in handwriting again. See, I told you – messy!
Poetry or prose? Prose! I grew up with poetry and limericks always being spoken but it’s a bit like Pottery for me, I adore it – but can’t do it very well myself.
Hot or cold? Cold – except if it’s tea, then always hot.