Welcome to the next post in our "Spotlight Series", where we speak to some of our favourite children's book authors and illustrators! This week we're chatting with one of the first authors we featured when we started Bookieboo - the incredible NATALIE MARSHALL.
You might recognise Natalie's work from her range of interactive board books, like the Shake Me series and the Touch and Feel series, as well as the gorgeous Millie-Mae books.
Now let's get to the Q&A - enjoy!
SPOTLIGHT ON NATALIE MARSHALL - Q&A
Can you start by telling us a funky fact about yourself?
I love plants! I have got quite a big collection and I love them all. I just bought a new plant (a fern) which seems to have a slightly crazy personality compared to my other quite structured and calm plants... he sits in the corner looking a little crazy wth his leaves sprouting in every direction, it's so great! I am actually starting to run out of room in my house and my family groan and roll their eyes when I bring home another plant. I also like to 'adopt' plants that other people have thrown out. If I find a plant sitting in a hard rubbish collection, I bring it home and nurse it back to health.
Where do you find your inspiration, or sources of creativity?
I get asked this question quite often and I find it quite hard to answer. Most of my books are about animals and nature. I am a complete nature documentary nut, David Attenborough is one of my heroes, I love watching his documentaries - I find the natural world just astounding in its diversity and I hope that kids fall in love with animals and nature through my books. That said, I also like drawing animals wearing hats... just because it's funny.
Which of your books are you most proud of? (I know it's probably like choosing a favourite child...!
This is also a really hard question! (Insert thinking music.) Ok, I have actually really thought hard about it and I can't pick a single title - but I can pick a series of books which is cheating really - but my Millie-Mae series hold a special place in my heart. Millie-Mae is bold, adventurous and self-sufficient, she also loves nature and playing outside. My Millie-Mae books will be re-released this year as two beautiful treasuries with Hardie Grant, I am so looking forward to seeing the final books!
What was your favourite book as a child? What is your favourite book now?
As a child I loved 'Where the Wild Things Are' and 'Watership Down'. As a grown-up I have amassed a huge collection of children's books... one of my favourites is 'The Forest', it is a very lush and amazing book from a design point of view, it is printed on beautiful paper with some very clever diecuts and story that builds slowly and gently. You really have to pay attention when you are reading it - it is a journey.
Is there another author or illustrator that you admire or look up to?
Eek! Another hard question! One of the people I most admire in children's publishing is Christopher Franceschelli. I have been lucky enough to work with Christopher on over twenty titles and he produces some of the best board books available for little kids. He is endlessly creative and thoughtful, and working with him makes me more creative and thoughtful!
If you hadn't become an author & illustrator, what do you think you might be doing as a career?
Oh my goodness, I am starting to think that I am quite bad at interviews as I am finding all these questions hard to answer! A long time ago I wanted to be a vet. Then I discovered a love of art and design that has never left me. I went to uni and studied to be a designer, and I worked as a designer for quite a long time. It was leap of faith, a little bit of serendipity and a whole lot of hard work that lead me to writing and illustrating books for kids. I still feel wonderfully lucky to be doing what I do.
What advice would you give to a child that is interested in becoming an author or illustrator?
Draw, draw, draw and then draw some more. Write, write, write and then write some more. And then see if you can fit the two together. Work hard and don't give up if it is something you really want to do.
Time for a Rapid Fire "This or That"!
Day or Night? Night
Dogs or Cats? Dogs
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate
Batman or Superman? Wonderwoman!
Summer or Winter? Winter
Comedy or RomCom? Comedy
We absolutely loved getting to know Natalie a bit more, and hope you did too. We'll include Natalie's socials and website below - be sure to check her out!
Looking forward to sharing our next Spotlight! xx Bookieboo