1. When did the idea of the troublesome Archie Appleby first come to you?
A few years ago, my kids and I were doing a Scooby Doo jigsaw puzzle which was set in a creepy house. The idea popped into my head - what if the person who puts the last piece in the puzzle gets sucked inside that puzzle and can’t get out? I began to imagine a creepy house and a boy who gets stuck there.
2. What’s been your most terrible case of the creeps?
I grew up on an orchard. In the summer when there was a full moon, I would sometimes go outside because I was amazed by how much light the moon created. But then I would start to get the creeps, and wonder what else might be lurking about. I would get spooked and sprint back to the house.
3. In the book, we see that Archie has a pretty wild imagination. Do you think it’s a good quality to have … even if it gets him in a lot of trouble?
Definitely. Imagination helps us to figure things out and we can wonder ‘what if’ as much as we like. It helps us be creative, it can keep us safe and it can even make us laugh. Luckily, Archie’s imagination doesn’t cause any harm. And he certainly keeps himself and his readers entertained.
4. What were your favourite books as a child?
Unlike lots of writers who grew up surrounded by books, sadly, there weren’t many in our house. But the books I did have were by Enid Blyton such as The Famous Five and The Wishing Chair. My favourite Enid Blyton book was The Faraway Tree. I wanted to be one of those kids so badly. I wanted to share their adventures.
5. Finally, tell us why we should pick up Archie Appleby: The Terrible Case of the Creeps?
Archie is relatable and funny. Kids will totally get his disappointment at not staying at Josh’s house, then staying at boring Aunt Ruth’s instead. Who hasn’t been a bit creeped out by someone’s scary house or attic or shed? No wonder Archie’s imagination runs wild. Add a strange aunt who grows eye of newt, a slobbery dog called Bob and some wise cracks from Archie, and you know this is going to be a fun mystery. If I went missing, I’d be happy to know Archie was on the case!