I would like to say a huge thank you to Claire Bates for letting me interview her for my blog. She is the first author I have approached in this way and I am happy to say she agreed!
Claire is the first time author of children’s book Baboon on the Moon which is a delightful rhyming tale all about a Baboon called Edgar who lives on the moon, wondering if it is in fact made of cheese as people believe! My review of the book can be found at the end of this interview.
I hope you enjoy reading this insight into the author as much as I did!
Welcome to my blog Claire, firstly could you write a blurb about yourself? What top facts should the readers know about you?
I live in Buckinghamshire in the UK, having moved here in my 20’s for work. I live with my husband and children and we have two very cute guinea pigs. I am a qualified Highway Engineer, and have spent my career working both for Local Government and Private Companies. I try to run a couple of times a week and I really enjoy yoga. I love baking cakes and biscuits but I definitely don’t enjoy cooking dinner every night! I find nature very restorative and go out for walks in the nearby countryside whenever I can. When did you first realise you wanted to be an author? Being an author is something I have toyed with for a number of years. Even as a child I used to write poetry and enter it into competitions. I remember I had one of my poems “published” in a local newspaper when I was around 10 years old (along with many other people!). Whilst it has been in the back of my mind for a number of years, I have never taken the time to explore it seriously until recently. What made you decide that you wanted to write Childrens books? From when my children were tiny, we have always read them a book at night, then when the lights were turned off and I gave them a last snuggle, I would make up my own stories for them. One day my eldest said my stories were so good that I should write them down. Even allowing for the bias of my own child, I decided that there was no harm in giving it a go. I therefore chose children’s books, because it was what I was embedded in at the time (given that I was generally too worn out to read myself!) and I love the idea of encouraging children to learn through books, whether it be new words, the meaning of words or to kick start their imagination. What is your favourite Children's book? This is a tricky one as there are so many amazing books that I have enjoyed reading with my children. I really like books by Giles Andreae both for the stories and the brilliant illustrations from the various illustrators, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson/Jane Chapman is a favourite, and I love the Alphaprints books by Roger Priddy. Older children’s books, I just don’t think I can pick a favourite (not least as I only every read parts of them as we read some for bedtime story but then they carry on reading them by themselves afterwards!) From my childhood, I remember loving Nancy Drew books and Goodnight Mister Tom has always been a firm favourite! Your book 'Baboon on the Moon' is an original quirky story. Where did your inspiration come from? Really it came from making up stories for my children, however I love animals and rhyming so I just toyed with various animals and words that rhymed with them. I then started thinking about stories that could develop from these. Baboons strike me as quite humorous animals, so I thought I could probably have quite a bit of fun writing about one. How long does it take you to write a book? It’s difficult to say, as I tend to just sit and write when things come into my head, rather than thinking, “ok I need to write today”. I think as it was my first book, there wasn’t any time pressure to get it written, so it just sort of evolved over a few weeks. Do you have a particular process? I spend a bit of time mulling over ideas in my mind and seeing if I think I can make something work both in relation to a story but also to make it rhyme. When I think I have something to go on, I tend to start by writing down a few words that rhyme with whatever my main character is (so far all animals!), then expand this to find rhyming words for what the subject matter may be. Then I just crack on as thoughts come to my head. Sometimes I find sections come quite easily and others I have to toy with for a while. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I like to write in a special A4 notepad and only with a pencil! I saw a really beautiful A4 notepad in a Stationers a couple of years back and I just had to have it. Which authors inspire your work? Well I love rhyming books, so I guess authors such as Julia Donaldson and Giles Andreaehave had a big impact on how I think about my writing. If you could give your younger writing self a piece of advice what would it be? Have faith in what you do, find the time to sit down and do it and go for it! Are you working on a new book at the moment? Yes, I am actually working on two. One is a sequel to Baboon on the Moon and the other is a different animal and a different setting. Finally what is on the horizon for you? I would really love to think that I will have more books published, however, I guess that only time will tell. What will your 2021 look like? I am hoping that we will all be able to live a little more “normally” than we have in 2020 and that we can see our friends and family again (as I am sure the rest of the world is hoping too!). I will continue to write books and make up stories because I enjoy it so much, and it is great escapism.
Thankyou again Claire, I loved gaining a bit more knowledge about you and your writing, I especially love that you have followed in Roal Dahls footsteps and only write with paper and a pencil!
Baboon on The Moon
This is an absolutely lovely children's book. I was gifted a copy of this book by the Claire in return for an honest review.
Edgar is a baboon who lives on the moon and is determined to find out whether the moon is made of cheese. He has hunted every inch of the moon to find some!
My little one loved this story, he wanted to read it as soon as it arrived and it didn't disappoint. He especially loved the description of Edgar and his big red bum! Any book that talks about that is an instant winner with us!
The rhyming and description is fantastic and kept my 3 year old engaged throughout. He even tried to feed Edgar some cheese in order to make him feel better!!
We recommend this story and look forward to the next book from Claire Bates!
You can also follow her on twitter here Twitter.com/CBatesAuthor