N.G.K. is the bestselling children's picture book author whose first book 'Harry The Happy Mouse' has featured on the Amazon bestseller lists in Paperback and eBook. N.G.K. has worked with Janelle Dimmett to produce what has been called "a future classic". Used in schools across the world, Harry The Happy Mouse promotes 'Pay It Forward', teaching children about kindness. The Harry The Happy Mouse books have gone to number one in both America and the UK.
We were delighted to interview N.G.K and find out more about him and his books.
What or who inspired you to become a children's author?
Like many other children's authors I read a lot of picture books with my own children. I absolutely love picture books. I actually wrote Harry The Happy Mouse as a gift for them, I intended to get two copies printed for them for Christmas. One thing led to another, and here we are!
What do you love most about writing books for children?
Children are so open to ideas, so non critical, so imaginative. I love being able to take ideas/storylines in a way that won't be questioned, but just embraced!
Why do you think it is important to encourage children to read and have fun with books?
Books are just magical. I love being able to plant ideas, and know that the reader will be taking that idea in their head and 'running with it'. You just can't beat a book.
I'm a huge fan of technology, but nothing beats a paperback book, especially at bedtime!
Do you have any "top tips" for parents and carers who want to help children enjoy reading?
I've always found it best to let my children elaborate on a story, spend time on pages they like. Some of Janelle's illustrations in 'Harry The Happy Mouse' are just so detailed, you can just stare at them for ages and talk about why things are the way they are. There's a scene in one of the books where there are some eyes looking out from a hole in a tree, I always ask "what kind of animal is in the tree?".
What advice do you have for children who dream of becoming an author?
Just be determined, and just keep going. It's not easy, and there are so many points where it's just easier to stop. Keep going! Always be 100% happy with what you're writing, and don't be swayed by outside opinion. Stick to your vision. If you're writing a book with a message, don't let it get in the way of the story, and don't let the story confuse the message. They need to perfectly compliment each other.
Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you overcome this without becoming disheartened?
I get writers block all the time, normally when I've set aside time for 'writing'! I remember having a few hours to write and just sitting there, coming up with nothing at all. Then at about 1am coming up with one of my favourite lines from Harry The Happy Mouse "It is" said the Bat, with a cry and a quiver, "it's my hat you see, it fell in the river". Although I only wrote one line that evening, it was worth it. On the other hand, I was once on a train for a few hours and wrote most of a book. You can't force yourself to write, it just has to come naturally.
Do you have a favourite Harry The Happy Mouse book? If so, why is it your favourite?
Harry The Happy Mouse (the first book) is my favourite. The feedback has been amazing. Book sales are always last on my list of things that I worry about, but Harry has done really well, and that's great. Janelle and I are just finishing 'Harry's Spooky Adventure', which is a book that is set around Halloween, and teaches children not to be afraid of the dark. The pictures are just something else. Very excited about that book!
We are also just about to release a version of Harry The Happy Mouse which uses a font that hopefully makes it easier to be read by children with dyslexia, it also doesn't have any black text on white backgrounds. As a dyslexic myself, I'm very proud of this new version!
What it your favourite children's book?
When I was small I loved 'The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe'. It was everything from magical, to at times, scary and weird. I also loved the fact that it fit into this bigger universe of other books. The simplicity of just going into a wardrobe and then being able to describe any world you like, that appealed to me as someone who wanted to write stories.
If you could do something else for the day, what would it be?
I love climbing mountains. Writing is my favorite thing to do, but if I could do anything else, it would be to climb a mountain.
If you could spend a day with one of the PrenderPals, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Clara the Chinchilla, because she likes The Very Hungry Catepillar!
We feel very inspired and motivated by N.G.K's answers and hope you do too. If you would like to find out more about Harry The Happy Mouse and also get access to lots of free stuff, including ebooks, an audiobook download and activity pages please visit the website. If you would like to have the books on your bookshelf please visit amazon.