Exciting news! Today I am hosting Roo Parkin for the next stop of their blog tour for their picture book, Sid’s Big Fib, published by Maverick Books.
Sid and his friend Lulu are always trying to outdo each other. Yet, Lulu always seems to win their brag-a-thons until one day, Sid tells a fib, which quickly escalates to a bigger and then an even bigger fib. Sid considers telling the truth but before he knows it his fib is discovered. After setting things right, Sid learns you don’t have to lie to have fun.
I hope hope you are as eager as me to learn more about Sid’s Big Fib and Roo’s writing process so let’s get on with the interview.
What inspired you to write Sid’s Big Fib?
Sid’s story (about two children desperate to outdo one another) began life in a writing class. Why it took the form it did was probably down to a myriad of things. I had powerful childhood memories of certain super-competitive playmates and their comical but disproportionate desires to be ‘the best’. (Whatever ‘the best’ was supposed to be.) It also struck me how, sometimes, this never goes away. One glance at social media will show you how people love to out-holiday, out-handbag, out-cake one another. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing fun details about your life, but let’s say not everything is always as it seems. I also love using language in fun ways, and Sid’s story had an escalating energy of its own that really lent itself to that.
How do you get inside your character’s heads?
I won’t claim I always do this but, for Sid, I spent some time writing an extract from his point of view about many things not necessarily connected to the story. Themes included Sid’s thoughts about school, who he found cool, why his dad sometimes annoyed him. It was nice to find his voice without worrying about the word count.
What’s your favourite writing snack or drink?
I’d say chocolate buttons. A lot of chocolaty bang for your buck if you let them melt in your mouth one by one with a nice cup of tea.
Do you have a favourite spread in the book?
Hmm. Story-wise, the second spread where we realise Lulu is going to out-brag Sid every time with her cheeky backchat and things are going to spiral. Illustration-wise, there’s a great double spread where the school dinner lady rumbles Sid’s fib. The kids have clocked it too and there is so much emotion in those drawings: fury, shock, absolute hysteria. The brilliant illustrator, Irina Avgustinovich, excelled at bringing my words to life.
What books did you grow up reading?
You know, I don’t remember reading that many picture books when I was little. I was always in the King’s Lynn town library, and they must have had some, but maybe not as many as they’ll have now! Later, Winnie the Pooh was a great favourite of mine – an incredible piece of work, and I loved all the usual children’s classics. But The Witch’s Daughter by Nina Bawden had a big impact on me – such an atmospheric story that amazes me to this day.
Who has been the biggest supporter of your writing?
For sure, my crit group The Book Bees. They put in so much effort reading drafts and making suggestions. My writing experience wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without those ladies. Friends and family are thrilled for me, of course they are, but no one else quite understands the process or what the wins and disappointments mean as much as other writers. There are also lots of lovely people on Twitter who happily yeek, yay and retweet stuff – which is so kind and much appreciated.
Is there an aspect of writing for children you wish someone had told you when you started out?
That everything would take ages but getting published was something I could achieve. I would have applied myself much, much earlier if I had known! I thought it was something other people did and that those ‘other’ people all had first class English degrees from elite universities. There is so much free or affordable information out there now – no one should feel that writing is only for members of an exclusive club.
I would like to thank Maverick Books for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I would also like to thank Roo Parkin for agreeing to a Q&A for this stop of the tour. Thank you.
To join the other stops of the Sid’s Big Fib by Roo Parkin blog tour check out the schedule below:
Sid’s Big Fib by Roo Parkin and Irina Avgustinovich is available to buy from Maverick, or from your local bookshop, or online at uk.bookshop.org, an organisation with a mission to financially support local, independent bookshops. It is also available at: