07 Dec 2018 Interview with A Pirate Christmas author Suzy Senior

News | Author Interviews

Suzy Senior, Lion Children's author, lives with her family and a small gang of pets, at the top of a huge hill in Yorkshire. Her background is in publishing, working with lots of wonderful bookshops. Her favourite type of books are picture books — she loves reading them, writing them and talking about them! She was shortlisted in the National Literacy Trust and Bloomsbury Children’s Books Poetry Prize 2015.

We're thrilled to publish her wonderful new picture book, A Pirate Christmas — out now!

A Pirate Christmas is a lovely Christmas story about Joe, his pirate dad, and Cannon, the ship's guinea pig, who are stuck on their boat missing the pirate Christmas party across the water. Joe and his dad discover a dusty old picture book of the story of the first Christmas. They settle down to read the book together and discover a different kind of treasure.

Here Suzy chats with us about what inspired her to write A Pirate Christmas, Cannon (the ship's guinea pig), and her best Christmas childhood memory.

What inspired you to write A Pirate Christmas?

Ahoy there, Matey! My family loves pirate books, and my husband really enjoys reading them to my son. I’m sure they inspired the Pirate Dad and Joe characters! I had seen the nativity story told from many different angles, but I wanted to find a different way of telling it and hopefully engage a new readership.

The first draft started off with a joke:
Joe: “Dad, why are there no Christmas stories about pirates?”
Pirate Dad: “Oh, I’m sure there Arrrrrr, lad!”

It wasn’t a very good joke, so we took it out. But it was the start of something very exciting. I’m so pleased with the result. Andy Catling’s illustrations are just amazing!

Who is Cannon?

Cannon is the ship’s guinea pig! We have a guinea pig at home called Snowflake, and she and her friend Squiggles (who is sadly no longer with us) were the inspiration for Cannon.

Snowflake is a bit shy. However, we have a plush ‘Cannon’ who comes on school visits with me. She has her very own handmade guinea-pig sized trousers, which match the ones in the book!

If you had to take a trip with one of the characters from A Pirate Christmas, who would it be? Why?

I think perhaps Jellyfish Jean, as she seems to love a good disco, and she would probably bring banana ice cream.

Have you ever been on a pirate ship?

Thankfully, no. But don’t tell anyone!

What is your best Christmas memory from your childhood?

There must be many more meaningful answers I can give to this . . . but my mind just keeps interrupting with ‘chocolate tree decorations!’ The best chocolate tree decorations were the ones that easily lost their string, so there was no choice but to eat them straight away.

What does your writing space look like?

I love to write at the kitchen table when the house is quiet, as it’s nice and warm, and very close (maybe too close) to the kettle and the biscuits!

What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

One of the most rewarding things is visiting schools and libraries. It’s a joy to hear children getting excited about books and writing, and a privilege to be able to encourage that. I am passionate about books too, so we have a lot of fun! Another is receiving the proofs for a new picture book in the post. It is the first glimpse of the book as a real, physical ‘thing,' and I just love looking at the beautiful shiny pages and thinking, ‘wow!’

A Pirate Chirstmas is featured in Toppsta here.

Enjoy reading A Pirate Christmas! Buy your copy here.

Interested in learning more about Suzy? Follow her on Twitter here.