Questions With: Karl Newson
Welcome to the first in a new series of interviews with authors and illustrators from the children's book world.
Interview with Author and illustrator Karl Newson, Award Winner and biscuit fan!
- First book published? Here Comes the Sun. Illustrated by Migy Blanco. Published by Nosy Crow in March 2017. It's about an owl whose job is to fly around the sky each night, blowing out the stars ready for the morning sun to rise.
- Newest book? What is the book about? The Hat Full of Secrets. Illustrated by Wazza Pink. Published by Stripes (Little Tiger Group) in October 2020. It's about a boy called Henry who finds a secret and doesn't know what to do with it... his grandad suggests he keep it 'under under his hat' but Henry doesn't have a hat, so grandad gives him one of his own - a 'Jones' (made for adventures!). Henry soon discovers the hat was full of grandad's own secrets... which escape, and the adventure begins there. Grandad shares his amazing secrets with Henry about meeting the Queen, dinosaur bones, arctic expeditions, racing cars, and the moon, and in doing so Henry discover more about him than he could ever have imagined. At its heart, it's about sharies memories and about not writing off the elderly - they all had adventures too, maybe they just haven't told us about them... yet.
- Where do you get your book ideas from? Everywhere! I keep a big net to hand just in case one floats by.
- How long did you wait to get your first book published? From the time I first thought 'I'd like to write a children's book' it was over 10 years. From the time I signed the contract to it actually being published was 18 months (very quick for picture books!).
- What is your favourite book currently? I like so many, and for many different reasons! The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers is the one that made me want to be a children's book writer though, so I'll choose that one :)
- Which author from the past would you most like to meet? Dr Zeuss. I'd like to talk rhythm, rhyme and metre.
- What is the Mudwaffler Club? It's a club for anyone who likes making drawings and stories, listening to stories, and joining in with silly stuff. It began as my book blog in 2015 (I think it was then) where I reviewed lots of childrens books from the time, then I got too bogged down with writing my own stories so I had to stop reviewing... but during lockdown earlier this year I brought it back as a Youtube show, with a theme tune and lots of activities to join in with, presented by me. It was very fun and very challenging to make!
- What were you like at English at school? Not great. I stuttered nervously when I read aloud - the whole class enjoyed that - the teacher tortured me with it. I didn't understand much of what I was taught and I didn't do well at my exams! I learnt how to write by writing songs with my guitar as a teenager - the rhythm and metre required there was the perfect road into writing rhyming picture books.
- Favourite city? London, closely followed by Norwich, where I grew up.
- Lastly, what are you working on at the moment? There are seven picture books in the making at the moment, of which there'll be edits for me to do at some stage once the art is in. And a few things I'm not allowed to talk about yet. Other than that, I'm working on a young fiction idea... and hoping it might be something one day :)
Are you a Karl Newson fan, do check out our lovely collection of books