Thursday, 1 November 2012

Red House Children's Book Award Blog Tour - Andrew Weale and Spooky Spooky House

We're very pleased to move over and let Andrew Weale guest post on ReadItdaddy as part of the Red House Children's Book Award Blog Tour! So if you're still picking through your haul from last night's trick or treating, or somehow woke up this morning in full Dracula make-up, then you're going to enjoy this a lot! 

Take it away Andrew, over to you!

The cover of "Spooky Spooky House" by Andrew Weale and Lee Wildish

A Book Is Born

I get the ideas for my picture books in the oddest and often the most inconvenient of places. I was once walking on Shepherd's Bush roundabout in West London when I suddenly had a brilliant idea for a book about an elephant. There I was, standing as if lightning struck in the middle of the street with this elephant sized idea just busting to get out. Naturally, this was the one day on which I had left the house without either paper or pen.

Maybe you have never experienced this antithesis to writer's block. The closest thing to it is being caught short in the middle of a busy street and, being England, there isn't a public convenience for a thousand mile radius. One's mind becomes almost toilet shaped as it fixates itself on one thought: I have to find a loo! That is exactly how I felt as I stood there in the middle of Shepherd's Bush. Except my mind was elephant shaped and I was prepared to commit a serious crime in order to get my hands on paper and pen. Luckily, I didn't have to as there was a stationer's close by. Having bought the cheapest pen and notebook I could find, I wrote my story under a tree in the pouring rain, muttering like an elephant obsessed madman.

So where and how did I get the idea for my pop up book, Spooky Spooky House? For once I was comfortably ensconced in my flat. It was about 9am in the morning, which is an unholy hour for any artistic endeavour in my opinion. But it hit me nonetheless: a pop up book that cannot, must not be popped up. A ‘stop up’ book if you like with scary creatures hiding behind the flaps.

Now I am going to share something with you that only my editors have seen. The original draft of the book was very different from the one that has been published. The version that emerged from my spooky-fied brain at 9am that morning was in verse. Here are the opening lines:

There’s a spooky, spooky house
Upon a spooky hill,
If you dare to go inside,
You really, really will
See lots of creepy creatures,
And ghostly ghouls galore:
Do you want to see what happens
If you open up the door?

So, that is how Spooky Spooky House was born. At 9am in the morning with me in my manky old dressing gown and a half drunk cup of coffee clutched in my hand. Next time you see a strange man muttering to himself and madly scribbling in a notebook under a tree, it will probably be me. And if it isn't, then it will probably be some other writer. Whoever it is, you can be sure of one thing: wonderful things may come from it. Stories of elephants or magic lands or spooky ghouls with names like the Gurgle Splurt and the Gobblelot!

To find out more about me (and my love of trees), check out my website at:

This has been a Red House Children's Book Award Blog Tour Post. For more information visit...

Please also take a moment to visit the other contributing blogs on the tour: 

The Book Sniffer @maybeswabey
5minutespeace @LucyRoseT

Book Reviews for Mums  @Bookreviewsmum  

Read it Daddy!  @Readitdaddy 

Babbleabout @babbleaboutbks 

Child-Led Chaos @ChildLedChaos

Library Mice @librarymice 

Playing by the Book @playbythebook 

The Little Wooden Horse @Pollylwh 

Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books @Enchantedbooks