Lisa Stickley: On Books and Blancmange
Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Lisa Stickley: A hairdresser. We had such a lovely hairdresser and I think I just wanted to be her! Plus, it was fun to practise. I remember trying to put my younger sister’s hair in rollers, but discovering we had none, so instead I collected all the combs in the house and I ‘rolled’ her hair up in those. It was fun until they didn’t unroll! I wasn’t very popular after that…. Honestly though, I feel very lucky with my career. Really, I always just wanted to create and I love what I do now.
BCLF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
LS: Don’t dwell on the past. Keep moving forward.
BCLF: Who is your favourite children’s writer?
LS: Roald Dahl. I am a bit obsessed with him at the moment, and keep looking for podcasts and documentaries with more information about him. I am particularly fascinated by the writing shed he used to work in.
BCLF: And who’s your favourite literary villain?
LS: Mr and Mrs Twit. They are quite repulsive but also very funny. The tricks they play on each are hilariously vile. I mean, the bit where they are stuck on the ceiling at the end. Everyone remembers that!
BCLF: What would your superpower be?
LS: Well, I’m not sure what mine would be, but when I was a a kid I loved Hong Kong Phooey (a dog with martial arts superpowers). I named my goldfish after him and he lived for 11 years. So I think the superpowers transferred to him!
BCLF: What’s your greatest fear?
LS: Those green things in the garden that hop around…. I can’t even say the word! It’s a genuine fully-blown phobia. My husband was very impressed because I drew one the other day (albeit in a rather abstract way!) I’m not sure where it stems from, perhaps from when I fell in the pond at home once? It’s their actions and their unpredictability that really gets me.
BCLF: What’s your favourite word?
LS: Blancmange. I mean, what’s not to like? It’s good to say and even better to eat.