Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview with Jennifer Houghton Author of Caterpillars in the Kitchen and Hatastrophe

Tell me a bit about you.
I am a mother and grandmother. I have 3 sons & 6 grandchildren. I live alone, with my cat & dog, since my partner died in 2003. 
I’m a bit of a collector. I like stuff. My grandkids say "Nanny has everything. " I’m a bit out of the ordinary. I love snakes and have a snake handling
certificate. I am terrified of spiders. I like to challenge myself. I’m different & I like it that way. I have a ‘day job’. I’ve worked as an Administrative Assistant for 11.5 years.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Eclectic, passionate, fun, mischievous, caring

Tell me about your books. How did you come up with the ideas?
My books are based on true stories. The character, Pip, is me as a child. "Caterpillars in the Kitchen" (CitK) was published in 2008. I had lots of orders for Christmas and the books arrived on 24th December so I spent Christmas Eve personally delivering books. CitK is in it’s second printing. "Hatastrophe" was published in 2010 and was launched by our City Mayor.

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My Mum. She died when I was 12yo and I would give anything to see
her again and show her my books.

What were your favorite children's books growing up?
Winnie the Pooh. I was given a set of four books and I read them over
& over. I can still quote many of the rhymes.
My sister had a lot of Enid Blyton books.  "Coles Funny Picture
Books"  I used to read those too.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love spending time with my kids, grandkids, friends & pets.
I like to be creative. My other main hobby is photography. I also make
jewellery. I love travelling, kayaking, swimming and snorkelling.

Why did you want to be a children's book author?
I always loved to write and wanted to write a book. I didn’t know what kind of book until one day I was showing some of my journal writing to a friend and she read the piece I’d written about the caterpillars and she suggested it would make a great children’s book. The idea grew from there and the first publisher to see the manuscript published it. The feedback I got from CitK inspired me to keep writing children’s

What advice would you give other aspiring children's book
Go for it! If you are worried about how your story will be received, find
some children and read it to them. They are a tough but honest
audience. My grandchildren fight over who is going to be first to read
my next story.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an
interview? How would you answer that question?
That’s a tough one because I never imagined that anyone would want
to interview me.

Anything else you would like to share?
I also write short stories which I enter in competitions and have had an article I wrote published in a magazine. I am a hands on author. I do my own public relations and advertising and I sell my books and associated merchandise (caps, greeting cards etc) at local markets. No moment is more special than when a child says ‘you’re my
favourite author and I have ALL your books’ or the child who ran over and asked ‘can I touch you?’ and just held my hand. Money can’t buy that.

Where can people buy your books? Do you have a web page or
fan page?
My books are stocked in many bookshops in Tasmania, Australia and
are available by mail order within Australia from:
or for overseas buyers, direct from my publisher at:

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