Lisa Stickley: On Books and Blancmange

The lovely Lisa Stickley is an all round creative power house, bursting with beautiful design ideas and writing and illustrating the cutest children’s books (Handstand, My New Room, Dress Like Mummy and her latest offering, The New Baby). We caught up with her to chat about books, blancmange and everything in between (just don’t mention FROGS!)

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.

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