Q&A with Tamara Macfarlane

Q&A with Tamara Macfarlane

I really like Amazing Esme, what is her next adventure?

I'm so pleased that you like Amazing Esme! Thank you. Her next adventure is Amazing Esme and the Pirate Circus and it is coming out in October. It has my favourite cover so far.

There are a lot of animals in Amazing Esme, what is your favourite animal?

I have always wanted a pet giraffe. I think that they have the most beautiful eyes. When I was younger, I had an attic bedroom and I used to imagine that my pet giraffe lived just outside the window so that I could slide down its neck every morning.

I even had a dream when I was about six that I was riding on a giraffe at a fair while eating a strawberry ice cream. The dream seemed so real that I actually cried when I woke up and found out that it wasn't true!

Is it fun running your own bookshop?

I absolutely love running my own bookshop. We have a festival on at the moment and I am getting the chance to meet all my favourite authors and illustrators. Bookshops have always been my favourite places so I am really lucky to have one.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?

The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett was my all time favourite book, I re-read it so many times that the pages fell out. I used to read about five books every weekend when I was younger so there are a lot of books that I adore. I also used to copy all the pictures in The Worst Witch books out for hours. I wanted to be Mildred Hubble.

Did you always want to be an author?

I have always written but I only really decided to try to become an author when I was struggling to find good strong girl characters for my daughter. There seemed to be a lot of ballerina twirling, kitten kissing fairies but very few girls out having adventures or driving the action. That's when Esme rode in on Donk.

Where do you get your ideas from?

A lot of my ideas come from my own childhood. We actually used to be allowed to have a bad mannered tea party once a year. We weren't allowed to say please or thank you and had to try to sneak under the table to steal food from one another's plates. I spent most of my school holidays staying in a place in Scotland that was similar to Maclinkey Castle. Sadly, it didn't have a unicorned pig delivering marshmallows though.

Do you like meeting your readers?

Meeting the readers is one of the best things about being a writer. Last week I did two Esme events at the Southwark Schools Reading Festival at Dulwich Picture Gallery. Every child there was given a copy of the book and when I came out to the garden, the grass was covered with 100 children sitting reading Amazing Esme and giggling! I thought I might actually explode from happiness. It was so lovely to be able to walk round and talk to them about which bits they were enjoying.

Amazing Esme and the Sweetshop Circus by Tamara Macfarlane is published by Hodder Children's Books.

The Sun Comes Out on Moon Lane festival continues until Saturday 5 July.