Today I have with you all an interview with the lovely and incredibly talented Emer Stamp as part of the Pig Diary blog tour! More information about her and her books can be found at the bottom of the post!
Interview with Emer Stamp
I love the humour in these books and can really see children enjoying the books, does the humour come naturally to you or is it something that you have to work on?
I have a very silly sense of humour, I think it was passed down to me from my parents. So I would have to say writing Pig and making him funny comes naturally. I start writing and silly stuff seems to just come out. If I read back over it and it doesn’t make me laugh or smile then I re-write it until it does.
I also love the illustrations in the books, how long have you been drawing? And do you enjoy doing it?
I have always loved drawing. My Mum always encouraged me. I would sit with her and we would copy pictures out of Winnie the Pooh and our other favourite books. I feel very lucky to have found a profession that allows me to draw and call it work. I am not the best artist, but I am a very happy and satisfied one.
The adventures that Pig and his friends get up to in the books are so great, do you plot the books beforehand or does the plot come to you as you write?
I am a plotter. Before I start writing the books I sit down and write a 3 or 4 page synopsis of what’s going to happen. I figure out the new characters and make sure I have a good beginning, middle and end. But it’s only when I start writing the book itself that the story really comes to life. I often discover lots of new stuff as I go: characters develop and things happen that I had no idea were going to. Sometimes I surprise myself with what I uncover as I type.
As you illustrate your books as well, when you’re writing, do you see the illustrations you want to draw or do you see the illustrations first?
The illustrations always come second to the story. I only start drawing once I have an approved manuscript. As I write I often think, ‘oh, that would make a funny picture’, but I never draw a funny picture and then try and write it in. That just wouldn’t work for me.
Where is your favourite place to get inspiration for your novels?
The farm I grew up on in Devon. All the farmyard characters in my book are based on animals that, at one time or another, lived on the farm. I live in London now, so when I want inspiration; to think of a new story line, or character – I pack up my son and husband and head down there. In The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary of Pig, he, Duck and Cow all go to a country show. This was a direct result of one of my visits coinciding with the Devon County Show.
What is your favourite children’s novel? Is it different from when you were a child?
It always has, and always will be The Witches by Roald Dahl. I was given the hardback for Christmas when I must have been about 9. I couldn’t put it down. I remember my parents and grandparents going out for their post-Christmas dinner walk and begging to be allowed to stay in and read. I re-read it the other day and enjoyed it just as much.
We love Pig , but Pig loves Farmer. After all, Farmer gives Pig yummy slops and special back scratches, and calls him Sausage and seems to love him more, the fatter he gets. Just as well Pig doesn’t speak any Farmer. But Duck does (Duck’s clever like that), and he’s determined his best friend should know the truth.
The hilarious sequel to THE UNBELIEVABLE TOP SECRET DIARY OF PIG. Pig couldn’t be happier. Pig couldn’t be happier. Life with the vegetarian farmers is perfect, and best of all, he has a new friend, Kitty. Kitty is a fellow vegetarian, she purrs over Pig’s every move, laughing at his jokes and even gave him his new diary! Of course, only Duck can see Kitty for the cunning, jealous, killing cat she is. Pig won’t believe she’s up to something until he’s eaten the entirety of the farmers’ prize crop and is half way to the pie factory.
Pig 3: Pig, Duck, Cow and all the Sheeps are far away from their Farm and beloved Vegetarian Farmers. More fun, parps, slops and unbelievable adventure from this much-loved set of characters. Complete with illustrations throughout and printed in a unique diary format.
Emer Stamp is the author and illustrator of The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig. Emer grew up on a farm in Devon before training in graphic design and working for some of London’s top advertising agencies. She was the Creative Director for the Adam and Eve DDB communications agency, which creates advertisements for clients including John Lewis, Halifax, Cadbury’s and Save the Children. She lives in London.