Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A fantastic interview with Sophy Henn, author of "Pom Pom The Champion" and "Pom Pom Gets the Grumps"

Sophy Henn - Author of the wonderful "Where Bear?" and "Pom Pom" books.
One of our favourite author-illustrators has very kindly popped by the blog to say hello. With a second fantastic "Pom Pom" book coming very soon, we talk to Sophy Henn and find out a little bit more about her awesome work.

Q1: Hi Sophy and welcome to ReadItDaddy, thanks for stopping by to put yourself under the spotlight. Tell us a bit about yourself!

Well, I'm a Mummy who read lots and lots and lots of books to my daughter. Books by Lauren Child, Dr Seuss and my childhood favourites Roald Dahl, Janet and Allan Ahlberg, to name a few. And it was while I was reading those books I thought I'd like to have a go at writing and illustrating a picture book myself. That's how I ended up here! But I never imagined I'd get this far, and certainly not being interviewed by your good selves!

Q2: As you know, we loved "Where, Bear?" and "Pom Pom Gets the Grumps" ("Where Bear") was a Book of the Week, we loved it that much! Now Pom Pom the Champion is on the horizon, are you sticking with awesome bear characters for a while longer?

It's funny but I never realised I loved bears so much! To be honest it wasn't a conscious decision to do lots of bear books they were just the strongest and most fully formed characters I had in my head/sketchbooks. But the book after Pom Pom the Champion has a little girl as the main character. There are some animals in it, even a Red Panda, but mainly children.


Q3: What's your favourite place to work? Are you happy jotting ideas down in a notepad while sipping coffee at your local coffee den or do you need a quiet space to work in?

If I am at the beginning of a project, the ideas stage, then I can work almost anywhere. Ideas can come at any moment so I try and have a notebook on me at all times. I usually lug around a laptop, phone and sketchbook too, so I am always prepared and have excellent arm muscles!
But if I am writing a final draft I do need a quiet room and endless supply of tea. I can't concentrate if it's noisy or I'm thirsty! I don't drink coffee anymore as I get the fidgets and had to go for a run the last time I tried! If I am doing final illustrations I need my big old iMac and a lightbox, so on a practical level I need to be in my workroom. I like the radio on when I'm drawing ( Lisa Tarbuck or a Radio 4 whodunnit are my favourites), and more tea!


iMac jealousy! What an awesome studio!


Charlotte's Questions:

Q1: Will there ever be a cuddly Pom that we can buy and take home?

I really, really, really, really hope so! I think he would be pretty cuddly and rather cute. I had promised myself I would try and crochet a Pom Pom this summer (I'm not too bad! I've managed to make a pear, bunny and a hedgehog!), but it's been a bit busy so far. I will send over a picture if I manage it!

Q2: What's the best way to become a children's author?

Hmmm, thats a very good question! I think there are lots and lots of different ways and I'm not sure I know the best one, but I do know what worked for me and that was to remember who I was writing for...children! I know that sounds obvious but when you are making a book you get very attached to it and it's easy to cling onto the things you love or think are clever, but they might not be right for your audience. I try to remember what it was like to be that age, what it felt like and the things that really mattered to me. And that's no mean feat as that was about a million years ago!
Also keep writing/drawing as much as you can manage, again I fear I am stating the obvious! Jump in and go for it! Accept that not everything you write or illustrate will work out, that is FINE, it happens to EVERYONE! A lot of my mistakes have really helped me, pushed me in a different direction or given me a new idea. And some haven't, you can't win them all!

Q3: Who is your all-time favourite fictional bear?

OOOh, so many to chose from. Paddington, Yogi, Baloo, Fozzie (come on he invented "Fart Shoes"), and even the one from the Muller Rice advert is pretty cool. But I suppose it has to be Winnie the Pooh (or Winnie A Pooh as my daughter used to call him). He's far from perfect, but tries his best and is, by and large, a good friend. Oh and he gave us Pooh Sticks, classic!



"Pom Pom the Champion" out on 3rd September 2015. Reserve your copy now!


Don't miss Sophy's new book "Pom Pom The Champion" coming tomorrow (3rd September 2015) from Picture Puffin.

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