a Q & A with Pamela Butchart
How does it feel to be shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award 2016?
It’s feels like being inside a Kinder egg, surrounded by pugs, eating luxurious cheese and maybe dancing/playing badminton. It’s WONDERFUL!!
Describe ‘My Head Teacher is a Vampire Rat’ in three words
What inspired you to write ‘My Head Teacher is a Vampire Rat’?
I actually had two (vampire-looking) rats when I was about Izzy’s age. They were called Jeemie and Jerry. They were both white with red eyes and I used to walk around the house with one on each shoulder. They were probably the best rats that ever lived.
As a child, I was quite pale myself and had bright red lips. So I suppose I looked a bit like a vampire, too!
I was also inspired by my own primary school experiences. My friends and I used to create secret clubs (complete with code names and secret hand signals) and spend most of the time scaring each other half-to-death with over-the-top stories. There was always something spooky going on at St Vincent’s Primary School (in our heads, at least!).
Is Mr Graves like any of your teachers?
Ha! No, Mr Graves isn’t like any of my teachers. But he IS named after a teacher friend of mine. It’s a brilliantly creepy name, don’t you think?
And it is GENUINELY a coincidence that Tom illustrated Mr Graves to look a bit like MY head teacher at the school I work at. The title of the book didn’t help the matter. I was actually ‘kept back’ by the head teacher after a staff meeting the day the book was published so he could tell me he “planned to contact his union rep to discuss my latest book title”. I THINK he was joking. Well, I’ve not been sacked yet so I suppose he must have read the book and decided that he liked it!
Have you ever tried to make a garlic muffin?
I have not. But my husband once made me blue cheese and walnut muffin and it was DELICIOUS!
Also, I accidently made a pancake that TOTALLY looked like a fish on New Year’s Day this year.
If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
‘Mog’ by Judith Kerr.
What did you enjoy most when writing the book?
I LOVE coming up with chapter titles. It’s so much fun! I think my favourite chapter title in this book is, “We’re Sorry We Melted Your Face.”
My favourite chapter title from all of my books is ‘Rare Arm Hair for Sale’. It’s from my new 9+ book ‘Petunia Perry & the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon’.
What are you writing at the moment? Will there be more from Izzy and her friends?
The fourth book in the series will be out on 4th February 2016. It’s called ‘Attack of the Demon Dinner Ladies!’
I suppose I’ll have to start taking a packed-lunch to school once it’s published.
My Head Teacher is a Vampire Rat is shortlisted for the 2016 Children’s Book Award in the Books for Younger Readers category. It is published by Nosy Crow.