Hands up if you LOVE Andy Griffiths? Yep, we think he’s pretty terrific too. Andy has been flying around Australia promoting the latest in his ‘Treehouse’ series. He kindly took some time out to answer a few questions we conjured up. Actually that’s not true. Some fabulous Ferrets came up with these pearlers. We think he answered them rather well… Thanks HEAPS Andy and THANK YOU kids!

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Why do you like writing childrens books?     

Some of my earliest and most intense reading experiences were the books I read as a child. Books like The Cat in the Hat, A Fish Out of Water, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair went in very deep and a large part of the fun I get out of writing is attempting to capture the magical, intense feelings I experienced when reading them in my own writing.

How many rejections did you have before you got published? How did this make you feel?

I had plenty of rejections for my early attempts to write a book but this did not discourage me overly much. I knew I still had a lot to learn about writing and humour and I also knew that the only way to learn was to give it my best shot and send it out. Every now and again a publisher would make a helpful comment or say something enouraging so even though they didn’t publish my book I still felt that I was making progress.

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Do you give the illustrator a basic sketch of your ideas before he does his own sketches for your books?

I give Terry a good idea about what I want but I don’t give him too much detail as it’s always a better and funnier drawing if he re-invents the ideas in his own unique mad way. The drawings always surprise me and often inspire me to change or extend the story to do them justice. By this method we come up with a book that neither of us could have created by ourselves.

Are all your books funny fiction?

Yes, pretty much. Something happens when I pick up the pen and, even when I’m trying to be serious, something funny starts happening. I’ve learned to just give in and go with it.

How long have you been writing books for?

I’ve been writing stories, drawing cartoons and having fun with words since I was old enough to pick up a pen. My first book, a creative writing textbook for teachers, was published in 1993. We republished a completely rewritten and re imagined version of this book earlier this year called ‘Once upon a Slime: 45 fun ways to get writing fast!’

How do you think of, imagine and create the books you do?  

By reading lots of books, watching lots of movies, staying fit and healthy and keeping my eyes and ears open to the funny (and not so funny) things that happen to all of us every day!

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors. He has written more than 20 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. Over the last 15 years Andy’s books have been New York Times bestsellers, won more than 50 children’s choice awards, been adapted as a television cartoon series and sold more than 5 million copies worldwide