Scottish Friendly (such a Friendly sounding, and Scottish name, don’t you think?) are currently trundling Nick Sharratt round Liverpool. Lucky Liverpool! We are all very lucky that there still are some who take books for children seriously. The Bookwitch family have always treasured Nick’s services to reading, as without him and Tracy Beaker – and I do mean the pictures – Daughter wouldn’t be where she is today. Although I think she should have pestered him that time they were on the same train. Unless that would have killed a new book idea…
Here is Nick now, with bats for tats:
How many books did you write/illustrate before the one that was your first published book?
None. I was primarily a magazine illustrator when I found myself commissioned by Oxford University Press to illustrate my first picture book, ‘Noisy Poems’, and as I remember it, the first book that I wrote as well as illustrated (‘I Look Like This’, now called ‘What Do I Look Like?’) was coaxed out of me by my editor at Walker Books.
Best place for inspiration?
A very long train or plane journey. Nothing to distract from truly getting to grips with an idea in one’s head.
Would you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Perhaps you already do?
Never thought about it.
What would you never write about?
Can’t see myself writing a violent crime thriller somehow.
Through your illustrating: the most unexpected person you’ve met, or the most unexpected place you’ve ended up in?
I was placed next to the actress Fenella Fielding at a book festival dinner once. (I loved Carry On films as a boy and Carry On Screaming was a particular favourite.) She was delightful.
Which of your characters would you most like to be?
Timothy Pope’s dad in my Shark in the Park books. He’s a bit of a rocker.
Do you think that having a film made of one of your books would be a good or a bad thing?
Good. Please can I have animated films made of several of my books?
What is the strangest question you’ve been asked at an event?
Will you draw a bat for me so that I can have it turned into a tattoo?
Do you have any unexpected skills?
I can juggle with jellies – and frequently do.
The Famous Five or Narnia?
The Famous Five. I liked the sound the hot chocolate and Turkish Delight in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe though.
Who is your most favourite Swede?
I have four equally favourite Swedes and they comprised Abba. (Yes, I know Anni-Frid was born in Norway.)
How do you arrange your books at home? In a Billy? By colour, or alphabetically?
Which book would you put in the hands of an unwilling eight-year-old boy reader?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
If you have to choose between reading or drawing, which would it be?
Please don’t ask me such an unsettling question!
Sorry. Didn’t mean to. Getting some hot chocolate ready as I write. But NO jellies.
I do like a man who knows his Norwegians. And for some idiotic reason when Nick said he organises his books by height – which is quite sensible – I visualised them all high up, because he is so tall. (Yes, those are his feet down there.)