Whenever I read a book I like, I want to know what inspired the story. So here goes, the inspiration behind all four stories in HORRID HENRY’S KRAZY KETCHUP.
1. HORRID HENRY AND THE REVENGE OF THE BOGEY BABYSITTER
I love series where characters return, and the Bogey Babysitter is one of my favourites. But this time, Rabid Rebecca needed to be even worse, so I invented a friend for her, Rancid Rachel. Henry and Ralph trick them with something quite scary, which happened to me when I was babysitting: the wind was blowing a shirt which had been hung outside a window to dry, but all I saw was this white thing slamming against the window, and I screamed very loudly, which is not what sitters are meant to do.
2. HORRID HENRY TELLS IT LIKE IT IS
I love goofy films which are edited to be ridiculous, and I thought it would be very funny to have Henry make a boring film for homework called All about my family, but then mix up different sentences so that Mum, Dad, and Peter are being horribly rude about everyone, but full of praise for Henry. Quite tricky to write, but a lot of fun to read.
3. HORRID HENRY’S KRAZY KETCHUP
My son Josh had a friend, Joe, who was round for dinner one night. Joe said how much he loved eating at our house and I asked him why. I assumed he would say because I cooked such delicious food, or because I was such a nice Mum.
“Because you always let children pour their own ketchup,” he said.
I saved that line up, and wrote the story based around it. Who can resist a story where everyone ends up covered in ketchup?
4. HORRID HENRY’S CHICKEN
I got a lot of letters from children, and occasionally they will suggest Horrid Henry stories, or even just send me titles. My favourite was Horrid Henry’s Chicken, because it seemed so unlikely. I combined it with another idea I had, which was about playing April Fool’s Day tricks, and also threw in that Henry is terrified of chickens, and my story took shape.
Happy reading! And thank you so much to everyone who voted for Horrid Henry!
Horrid Henry’s Krazy Ketchup is shortlisted for the 2016 Children’s Book Award in the Books for Younger Readers category. It is published by Orion Children’s Books.