Scottish Friendly Children's Book Tour with Andy Stanton | Scottish Book Trust
Andy Stanton, author of the brilliant Mr Gum stories, answered some of my questions in What was your favourite book when you were a. My agent said, "You must read this book by Andy Stanton called You're a Being a writer can be really lonely, so to have someone like Andy to. Children's Literature Interest Group: Interview with Andy Stanton In this interview with Pam Dowson, this much acclaimed author who has received the Blue.
Andy Stanton | Mr Gum
I love the Dickensian mixture of darkness social deprivation, hideous villainry, melodrama and sentiment goodness and decency will win out in the end and I use those both those techniques quite a lot. And I love old-fashioned details, especially from the Victorian age. Can you comment on this?Authors Live event with Andy Stanton part 3 - Characters
The influences I always cite are The Young Ones and The Simpsons, because both those programmes break conventions and are very meta-referential.
And Lamonic Bibber is in some way an homage to Springfield, the way you can populate an entire town with characters and locations. It probably seems it should be, as I use convoluted similes in a similar way. I try to keep as honest as I can.
When you first created Mr. Gum, how confident were you that your very individual style would be accepted readily for publication? When Egmont emailed to say they loved the book and wanted to meet me and my agent, I was happily astonished.
Gum books are cleverly designed, with short chapters and fewer than usual words to page, so a young reader feels as though they're reading a substantial volume, sliding through the pages almost effortlessly, which is particularly good for boys.
Is this just a natural style for you, or was it a deliberate choice? Egmont gravitated towards that design quite instinctively. The books are quite short around words each but very dense — you can go back and read them again and again, and find new things in them.
And because of that density of ideas and images, coupled with the baroque style, I think Egmont wanted to present them in a very accessible and child-friendly way. Each of those tricks has a real presence and weight, because the books allow such generous space for design. And each book is designed with incredible attention to detail.
Lollies Blog tour – meet Andy Stanton!
You visit lots of schools — what do children tell you are the things they particularly like about the Mr. Gum books — and do their teachers generally agree? First and foremost, the characters. It is absolutely amazing to see kids responding to my characters in the way that I myself respond to fictional characters.
And the strange similes — kids and teachers seem to bond over those. In inventing the characters for the Mr. Gum series, did you deliberately seek to create a balance of good and bad characters, or did they evolve along with the storylines?
The first Mr Gum was basically an improvisation written in one night to make my cousins laugh one Christmas. I was so sick and tired of never developing any of my ideas that I sat down with the express intention of finishing something for once.
I started with the idea of a feud between a horrible old man and a dog —the rest of the characters crept in as and when they were needed.
Therefore, you can imagine how delighted I was to be offered the opportunity to interview Andy Stanton as part of the Lollies blog tour. Huge thanks to Andy for taking part, and thanks to you for reading. Others seem to agree because it feels like it gets used a lot in comedic writing. Is it difficult to write a book in rhyme?
What are the challenges? I love writing in rhyme, it comes very naturally to me. All of my Mr Gum books have at least one rhyming song in there and I often put little rhyming phrases into the narrative too. So yes, that was the challenge. How is writing picture book different to writing a novel?
Did you find one easier than the other?
Danny McGee Drinks the Sea
But any type of writing is demanding. And you pretty much have to have a killer ending too. It took me about two hours to get the rest of it done. What has the response to the book been so far? Are children and parents delighted?
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- Scottish Friendly Children's Book Tour with Andy Stanton
One mum told me that her kid likes the book so much that he pretends to drink his bathwater to be like Danny. Is there going to be a follow up or is this a standalone book?