Unleash your Creative Monster- Q&A with Andy Jones and Olaf Falafel

This fantastic book offers readers the chance to unleash their own creative writing monsters by following along with the tools and tips offered by Andy Jones and Olaf Falafel! Check out the super video as well! Both Andy and Olaf have taken the time to answer a few questions about their book.

What do you imagine your creative monster to look like?

Andy: He has magnificent rainbow coloured hair (unlike me, I have absolutely no hair, except a few tufts in my ears). My monster also has tufts of hair in his ears – for picking up ideas from the atmosphere. His fingers are made from pencils, which is great for writing, but not so good for picking your nose.

Olaf: I think my Creative monster is very similar to a monster that is in the book – it’s the one who looks like a beard with a face. He also has a red hat and stripy legs plus at the beginning of the book, because he’s missing an eye, he steals one from a monster who has loads of eyes.

What inspired the ‘Stuck Bum’ story prompt?

Olaf: This was definitely my favourite part to draw!!!

Andy: I love this prompt, but – sorry to disappoint you – it wasn’t inspired by real life. Instead, it grew out some advice in the book: how to stay sitting in your chair when you’re trying to write a story. Writing, as I’m sure you know, is fantastic fun. But it can also be a challenge. At those times, you might be tempted to walk away from the story and do something less demanding – like filling your dad’s slippers with gravy. But I urge you to stick with the story. Sometimes, the hardest stories to write can turn out to be the best ones to read. So, we must find ways to stay in our writing chairs. My solution: Bum Glue. Don’t worry, it’s not real glue, but some fun tips to help keep your butt in your seat. And then, when you’ve finished your story, you can go and fill your dad’s slippers with gravy. (Actually, I’ve just checked with my editor and she says I’m not allowed to encourage you to fill your dad’s, or anyone else’s, slippers with gravy. Or anything else for that matter.)

How are you hoping this book will benefit the children who read it?

Andy: I’ve been a life-long reader, but came to writing relatively late. I was in my 30s when I wrote my first short story, but the experience was life changing. Literally. I discovered that I loved writing, and – to my surprise – I wasn’t completely terrible at it. I wrote whenever I could after that, and some years later, at the age of 42, I sold my first novel. That was 10 years ago now, and I’ve learned a thing or two about writing in that time. Stuff I wish I’d known when I sat down to write my story. Stuff I wish I’d known when I was a boy, actually. Stuff like how to make characters interesting, how to make stories exciting and how to keep readers turning pages. But most importantly, that creating stories is tremendous fun, and anyone – with a little encouragement – can become a writer. That’s why I wrote this book. To encourage anyone who loves stories to sit down and write their own. And not to wait until they’re 35 to do it.

Olaf: I’m hoping it converts kids who perhaps wouldn’t have considered themselves writers into amazing storytellers. I hope my stupid cartoons act as a stealth ‘gateway’ into writing.

What’s your favourite part of the book and why?

Olaf: I really like the four-panel cartoon that I drew to go with the stuck bum story prompt – for me it covers all the comedy bases from slapstick to surreal and then a nice call back to an earlier mole-related cartoon.

Andy: Ah, this is a hard question to answer – there’s so much I love about this book. So much I think I would have enjoyed when I was little. I think little me would have enjoyed the monsters, the story prompts, the jokes and cartoons and the all the writing tips. So instead of picking one tip or one prompt, I’m going to pick one section. Section 4 is called ‘Feeding Your Creative Monster’; it’s all about inspiration and contains tons of ideas on how to find … well, ideas. From people watching, to bum glue, to stealing from your favourite authors. Plus, it contains fifteen story prompts all beginning with the words: ‘What if …?’

Unleash your Creative Monster is published by Walker Books and is available now.

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