Author Q&A with Steve Webb
April 26, 2018
Steve Webb is the author of the hilarious Spangles McNasty series, with a third book coming out this May. He recently ran a creative writing workshop with our members all about writing the perfect villain!
You spent some time with our members in Heaton Park and Sale. What was it like? What activities did you do with them?
Both events were great fun (for me anyway!). I gave a talk about writing hero and villain characters and showed the children some of the characters in my new Spangles McNasty books and explained how I go about creating them. I then asked them to write a new villain character of their own with a checklist of questions to answer as a helpful starting point. There were some fabulously inventive results.
Why are you pleased to be named as an ambassador for the National Young Writers’ Awards?
Books are fab! Authors didn’t visit schools when I was a child. I think if they had, especially if Douglas Adams had of popped in, it would have changed my view of the Universe completely. I hope I can make a difference to young writers today.
What tips would you give to our young writers?
Start writing and keep writing. Like any other skill, you need to train. And read! Read lots and lots and lots!
We are asking children to write stories about a hero, who was your hero when you were a child and why?
Evil Knievel, a motorcycle stunt rider, who was always crashing his motorbike jumping over things but seemed to be indestructible.
Who is your hero now and why?
If I had to pick only one I’d say… Vic Reeves. A very original comedian, writer and performer, as well as a particularly weird painter.
Your books are all about a villain, Spangles McNasty, why do you choose to write about a villain rather than a hero?
You can have a lot of fun with a villain in a comedy story. Characters being naughty can be very funny to read about, or watch in a movie.
When you were a child, what did you want to do when you were older?
When I was a child I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was older. I don’t think I ever thought further ahead than the next day.
What advice would you give to children about pursuing their dream job?
I only have one top tip for anyone, doing anything and it is this: CRAFT, GRAFT AND BEING DAFT! Which sounds slightly old fashioned but it rhymes! And translates into the modern times as: Find a skill that you like, work hard at that skill and enjoy it!
How do you get your inspiration for your stories?
Inspiration is everywhere, keep your eyes open! (which in itself is a ridiculous expression). Look out for the unusual in the world around you. When I’m writing I have to have a pen in my hand, or a computer keyboard, staring out of the window just thinking doesn’t work for me, I have to write, or draw or doodle, or all three at the same time.
What was your favourite children’s book growing up?
My earliest memory of children’s books is Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr Suess. I really didn’t read a lot until much later, I think I was a teenager before I finally got around to reading The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, which is still one of my favourite books.
What stories do you love to read now?
I like funny or weird books. Or funny AND weird. I have a habit of reading way too many books at the same time and can’t pass a book shop without popping in and usually buying something new.
What were you like at school? Did you have a favourite subject?
My favourite subject at school was Art. After school I went to Art College and studied Graphic Design and Illustration which lead to me writing picture book stories (for 0-6 year olds) around my illustrations and then stories for older readers; 7-11 year olds.
Does your child enjoy reading about heroes and villains? If so, they might enjoy writing a story themselves for our National Young Writers’ Awards! There’s still time to enter – the deadline is Sunday 29th April…
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