Interview with Amelia McInerney

Amelia’s first picture book, The Book Chook (illustrated by Connah Brecon, Scholastic) came out in March, and with more hitting our bookshops soon, she is fast becoming a favourite of kids who love to laugh. Amelia writes books that are funny, silly and clever all at the same time. And, today she shares her tips on writing and her sense of fun. So ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the wonderful Amelia McInerney – Woo-hooo!

crowd cheering for interview on reading with a chance of tacos
Woohoooo! We love Amelia! Yipeee! We love Ray! Ray rocks! Woohoooo!

Hi Amelia and thanks for joining us today.

Hi Ken, it’s great to be here!

Firstly I have to ask, how’s Ray? 

Oh, Ray’s feeling on top of the world these days. He’s really happy with his decision to stay in the book, ‘cos now he’s getting reviewed on awesome blogs like this one. Plus, kids have been holding the book up so he can ‘see out’ all over the place.

That’s great. I really like Ray. He’s such a fun chook and he dresses so snappy. He’s probably the best dressed chook in any book. Please tell him I said ‘Hi’

I sure will. He’ll be beside himself to hear that.

Okay, moving on because I know you’ve been super busy working with a whole bunch of other characters and books (I hope Ray’s not too put out). Can you tell us a little about what you’ve got coming up? 

Sure! Next is Bad Crab, out 1stJuly, with Scholastic. It’s a near-wordless picture book, illustrated by Philip Bunting, and it’s a bit cheeky! 

A cheeky crab sounds funny, I’m in.

Then I have a little illustrated story about two thirsty hermit crabs in Allen and Unwin’s Funny Bones, a middle-grade compilation that’s coming out in October. 

In November, I have another rhyming picture book coming out with Scholastic. That one’s about a giraffe in a zoo, whose life-long dream is a trip to the playground next door. 

Hahaha – a giraffe on a swing. I’d pay to see that.

I have a few other rhyming picture books coming out next year (also with Scholastic and Allen and Unwin.) They’re all different but they’re all funny.

That is so cool! And, speaking of funny and silly and clever, how important is humour in children’s literature? 

SO important! Humour in literature makes reading fun; kids come to see books as a source of entertainment and comfort. Humour can also be a good way of framing a more serious topic because it makes it more accessible.

Do you have to be in a funny mood to write a funny story or can it be a learned technique?

I don’t think my writing is at all influenced by my mood beforehand. I think I just write, and that’s what comes out. One of the things I love about writing is that I know it will put me in a good mood if I’m not already in one. So, writing can be an escape for me, I guess. Wow, I didn’t realise that before! You’re like a therapy-interviewer!

Just call me Doctor Ken! (Move over Doctor Phil)

Do you communicate with your characters? Do they talk to you? 

I don’t talk to my characters, but they talk to me. Or I talk to the reader, as the character. Do I need to see someone?

No, I think you’re doing just fine! Although if they start asking for royalties, then you might have to cut them loose.

Hey, as a writer, what would you choose as your mascot or spirit animal?

Um…the gopher from Caddyshack?

YES! I love it. Perfect for your style – silly and funny and clever. And, looking to add some mischief.

Who’s your funniest fictional character?

Choosing is so tough, but seeing as I’ve got chooks on the brain at the moment, I’ll go with Foghorn Leghorn.

Boy. I say boy. I say, that’s a mighty fine choice. Speaking of chooks, like Foghorn Leghorn and Ray, what do you think makes a character both funny and endearing?

I think it helps if the character has a flaw (or two), a desire the reader can relate to, and a distinct and unique voice.  

Yes, that’s both of those characters to a tee. What tips would you give someone wanting to create a funny story?  

To try to remember the way you felt when you were a kid, when you read or watched something you thought was really funny. Try to write something that gives you that feeling, because you need to really enjoy what you’re writing before anyone else will!

Great advice. Do you have a favourite joke?

What do you call a chicken with a piece of lettuce in its eye?

I don’t know. What do you call a chicken with a piece of lettuce in its eye?

Chicken Sees A Salad.

Hahahahahaha. I’m so telling that to a chef friend of mine, he’s going to love it.

Oh dear, that was a good one. Being serious for a moment though, should pineapple ever be on a pizza?

Are you seriously…suggesting…a world without…Hawaiian pizza!?!?

No never. I’m pro the pineapple. And, thanks so much for joining us today Amelia, it’s been great fun.

Thanks, Ken ; )

To find out more about Amelia, check out her website: https://www.ameliamcinerney.com/

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