“How do you find inspiration for your books? The same way my heart finds inspiration to beat. It’s an involuntary reflex. I see stories everywhere.”
One of the first books my eldest son was given was The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland. We all really love that story in our house and all of the bear series really. Actually, I can recite it off by heart which is particularly handy when you need to pacify/entertain/quieten down little monkeys! All of Nick’s books are funny and entertaining and we loved interviewing him and feel very honoured. I particularly liked that his friends have him listed in their phones as “Cranky Nick”!
How do you find inspiration for your books?
The same way my heart finds inspiration to beat. It’s an involuntary reflex. I see stories everywhere.
When did you write A Monster Wrote Me a Letter and what was your inspiration?
It was 1999 and I was unemployed. I didn’t want to work in fast food.
You write and paint your books – do you get more joy out of one over the other?
I love the result of a good painting but the execution of the 20 or so pictures required for a book is incredibly laborious. Writing stories of less than 1000 words is my natural state. But the ultimate joy is in seeing them come together and complement each other.
Is there a lot of yourself in your books? We are not saying you’re a Cranky Bear! We just love the bear series and find them all funny so we are wondering how funny you are.
My friends have me in their phones as Cranky Nick. But I do have friends so I can’t be that cranky. I consider every book a project in problem solving and every problem can be solved a little easier with a good sense of humour.
When did you start creating children’s books?
When I was 3. It took until I was 30 to get published but a lifetime goes into a job like mine.
How long does it take to create a book?
Anywhere from two to six months.
Is there any advice you can offer someone looking to get a book idea published?
Don’t assume that just because your own children like your stories that all children will. Chances are they only like it because they like you. But if you’re not sure, send it to a publisher who accepts unsolicited manuscripts and see what they think. Be ready for a marathon, not an egg and spoon race.
Does where you live inspire your books?
Yes! I live in the Jungle in the tropics surrounded by wildlife. There are no bears around here but let’s be honest, bear books are about people anyway.
What kind of space do you work in?
I work on a high-roofed deck with no walls, surrounded on three sides by trees and on the northern side by the Arafura Sea. It’s always hot and I love it.
Do you have a favourite book?
Of mine???? No. By someone else??? Born to Run by Christopher McDougal.
Did your parents encourage your creativity? Did you have a creative upbringing? (Were you a farm kid too? You seem like it!)
Yes, my creativity was encouraged and yes, art was a big part of my childhood. I was born on a farm but moved to the ‘bush’ when I was 5 so I wound up being a bush kid.
Thank you so much, Nick!
Nick Bland is one of Australia’s bestselling authors and illustrators. His books, including the hugely popular The Very Cranky Bear, have been published around the world. In 2010, The Wrong Book was named an Honour Book by the CBCA, and The Runaway Hug was the CBCA Book of the Year in 2012. Nick lives in the Northern Territory.
List of books published by Scholastic:
The Very Noisy Bear (2015)
Monster Chef (2014)
The Very Brave Bear (2013)
The Very Hungry Bear (2012)
The Runaway Hug (2011)
The Aunties Three (2011)
The Very Itchy Bear (2010)
The Wrong Book (2009)
The Very Cranky Bear (2008)
Donald Loves Drumming (2008)
When Henry Caught Imaginitis (2008)
I’ve Lost My Kisses (2007)
Aussie Jingle Bells (2006)
A Monster Wrote Me a Letter (2005)