Posted in Illustrators, Meet the authors

Emma Lazell

Author website/social media: Instagram and twitter: @emmallazell Website:
www.emmalazell.co.uk1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
Absolutely! I loved quite a mixture of books at 9. I remember reading and loving all the *Horrid Henrys*, especially *Horrid Henry’s Nits*, that really made me giggle. Enid Blyton books, I loved *Mallory Towers* and *The Secret Seven*. And of course Roald Dahl, I adored *The BFG*.
2. What is a book that made an impact on you?
Certainly Judith Kerr’s *The Tiger Who Came to Tea*, I think this impact is very evident in *Big Cat*. Also Michael Rosen’s *Quick let’s get out of here* poetry book. A book full of absolutely hilarious poems that I can remember my headteacher at primary school reading aloud in a whole school
assembly and having us all in stitches.
3. You are both the writer and illustrator, is that hard?
I always answer that I am an illustrator first, and then a writer. Although I’d love to have a go the other way round, and write some longer fiction. With Big Cat, the illustrations and characters certainly came first, and then the words came very naturally afterwards. When I attempt to write the story first, with picture books, it almost always ends up completely changing once I begin working on the relationship between the words and the pictures and the characters.
4. What author or book have read recently that impacted you?
At the beginning of the year I read the *Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children* series by Ransom Riggs. I read them all really quickly, I got hooked. I hadn’t read an adventure story in a while, and this one was
addictive.
5. Is there a new or lesser known author or illustrator you think kids
should be aware of?
I met so many amazing illustrators and authors while doing the MA in
Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art last year. Lots of
them have really exciting things coming soon. I’m really excited for Natalie Labarre’s *Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard of* coming soon with Nosy Crow. It’s a highly illustrated, action packed, non fiction book which looks like its going to be equal parts exciting, gross, and hilarious. (My favourite book ingredients!)
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author or
illustrator?
Go for it! You can find inspiration in anything, so always carry a notebook
or sketchbook and draw draw draw or write write write. Nobody else needs to
see your early ideas, so they can be as whacky as you like, just get them
down. You never know what you will come up with when you are flicking back
through those strange ideas you doodled down once.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about
that?
I get to meet my readers at schools visits and book festivals and bookshop events and it’s great! When I read *Big Cat* I love seeing how exasperated children become at Grandma when she still hasn’t figured out why her ‘cat’ doesn’t quite fit in.
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
OO, this is a hard question. Perhaps I’d like to be *The Hungry Catepillar* because he gets to spend his time eating, or even better, *Willy Wonka* in *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*. Running a chocolate factory sounds like even more fun than drawing cats for a living.
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author or
illustrator?
Go for it! You can find inspiration in anything, so always carry a notebook
or sketchbook and draw draw draw or write write write. Nobody else needs to
see your early ideas, so they can be as whacky as you like, just get them
down. You never know what you will come up with when you are flicking back
through those strange ideas you doodled down once.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about
that?
I get to meet my readers at schools visits and book festivals and bookshop events and it’s great! When I read *Big Cat* I love seeing how exasperated children become at Grandma when she still hasn’t figured out why her ‘cat’ doesn’t quite fit in.
8. If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
OO, this is a hard question. Perhaps I’d like to be *The Hungry Catepillar* because he gets to spend his time eating, or even better, *Willy Wonka* in *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*. Running a chocolate factory sounds like even more fun than drawing cats for a living.

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