This month we sent our Parakeet subscribers the laugh-out-loud story of Daniel and his brother Fergus – who he accidentally turns into a guinea pig! We were thrilled to hear from author and illustrator Emily Snape about why she loves writing for children and how her own two sons inspired the book.
1. What inspired you to write Fergus the Furball?
I have two sons close in age who dream of having a pet. They also spend quite a lot of time bickering. The idea popped into my head one morning and I sat on the stairs and scribbled down all the funny things that could happen if one of them turned the other into a guinea pig!
2. Do you have any special birthday traditions?
On my son's 9th birthday, I filled the whole living room with balloons, so he'd have to clamber through them to find his presents. It was great fun, but I now have the pressure to come up with something exciting for his next birthday! I also always make the same birthday wish every year when I blow out my candles ... I'm still hoping it will come true one day!
3. Do you have a favourite place to write?
I have a tiny studio at home, (which was once a walk-in wardrobe), but it's all mine and can be as cluttered as I like so I love to camp up there with coffee and snacks and get stuck into writing. I also find I often come up with new ideas when I'm walking on my own, and I live next to a wood, so if I need to think something through or do some brainstorming, I go there.
4. Why did you choose to write books for children?
I loved reading as a child. Books helped me explore different perspectives on life and discover new worlds and ideas. I'm driven by wanting to create stories that can do that.
I think having my own children, and also the fact I teach workshops to kids, is really inspiring as a writer, as I love seeing what makes young people laugh, or what fascinates them. I want to write books that help them with things that worry them or let them explore new ideas.
5. What was your favourite book as a child?
The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh is an amazing, quirky and bittersweet story that I have never forgotten. I'd recommend it to anyone.
6. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I love illustrating and drawing faces is my favourite thing, and I began my working life as a portrait painter and I still love trying to capture someone's likeness in paint. I also fantasise about running a themed restaurant!