There’s more than meets the eye with Steven Butler

By Saskia Calliste

Steven Butler, author of 'The Nothing to See Here Hotel' series, weirdly and wonderfully illustrated by Steven Lenton, is coming to Barnes this year with his ragtag band of monsters in tow. Shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Steven is treating us to an afternoon of monstrously good fun that is not to be missed. Here he tells us about his love of all things deep sea, his fantasy pet monster and the fourth book in the series -- result!

Q: What’s your favourite thing about Sea-ing is Believing?

A: I’ve always been fascinated by marine life and I loved the idea of setting book three in a magical coral reef at the bottom of the sea. Sometimes deep-sea creatures are far stranger than anything you could invent. Have a look at Anglerfish and Oarfish… they’re SO WEIRD!!

Q: What’s the inspiration behind the series?

A: I have always loved books about magic hiding in plain sight and the Nothing To See Here Hotel was my chance to contribute to that genre. I don’t think there was any one inspiration for the series, but my love of magic and comedy and adventure all played a part in it.

Q: If you could have a magical power, what would it be and why?

A: I’d want to be like Maudlin Maloney and be a master of charms and hexes. I’d also like her chicken-powered caravan as well. I could fly off on adventures in it.

Q: What would be your dream pet monster and what would you call it?

A: I really love Frankie’s pet pygmy soot-dragon, Hoggit, from the books. I think I’d steal him. Steven Lenton’s illustrations of the little creature are really lovely and he always has pride of place on the front cover of the books.

Q: Will there be another ‘Nothing to See Here Hotel’ book and if so, can you tell us anything about it?

A: Yes! Book four is in the making as we speak. I can’t give too much away, but I can say it’s the first time we leave the hotel entirely and go to a completely new location. I can also tell you that you might just get to meet Prince Grogbah’s mum, Queen Latrina!

Q: Any advice for your writers on writing funny books?

A: I have two rules when it comes to writing funny books. Number one is “BE UNPREDICATABLE!” and number two is only use jokes you find funny yourself. If a gag or storyline doesn’t make me chuckle as I’m typing away, it doesn’t go in the book.

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