I’m a huge fan of Andy Stanton and his Mr Gum books. So when his latest book, Natboff! came out, I decided to interview him about it, and other things. We also asked some other fans to help with the questions.
1 When you were younger, would you have enjoyed reading your books? – Lucy Carmichael (age 16)
Most definitely, Lucy. When I was younger I really loved stories that were very extreme and imaginative. I remember when I was quite small, I discovered a copy of The Cat in the Hat in my school classroom and it totally blew my mind. I probably couldn’t have put it into very sophisticated words, being only five years old, but I immediately loved how anarchic it was – I knew I’d never seen anything like it before and I knew I wanted more of that sort of action. So yes, my books would have been perfect for a kid like me.
2 Caveman Natboff appears at the end so does time in your world just keep going in a loop? – Isaac Noel (age 11)
Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question! Hi, Isaac! What a great question!
3 What is the worst crime Mr Gum has done? – Tom Thorp (age 9)
Probably the time I was trying to answer a question from a young boy named Tom and he came along while I was in the middle of a sentence and stole my keyboa
4 What is your favourite book that you haven’t read?
My next book, whatever that turns out to be. Then again, it might be terrible. (Then againagain, I’ll try really hard to make sure it’s not.)
5 What is your favourite book that you have written?
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! will always have a special place in my affections because it was my first one. But at the moment it’s definitely the new book, Natboff! One Million Years of Stupidity. And I’m not just saying that because I want everyone to go out and buy it, I’m just extremely happy with the way it turned out.
6 When are the rest of the Mr Gum audiobooks coming out and is there going to be one for Natboff?
OK, Mango, BIG NEWS! The entire run of Mr Gum Books 1 – 8 are being released on audio this September and they’re all narrated by me! With silly voices, funny sound effects and utterly awful singing! I know that a lot of people have been waiting for these audio books for a long time – whenever I talk at book festivals I get parents asking when they’re happening. So yes, it’s FINALLY happening and I had the best fun ever recording them and making sure they came out right and look, I know I’m biased but I think they’re going to make a lot of people very happy. There is absolutely nothing more I’d like than to do an audio book of Natboff! For a start it’d be about four-and-a-half hours long, so it’d be perfect for long car journeys. But also, there’s so many different characters in the stories, it’d be so much fun to do all the voices. I haven’t yet heard if anyone’s interested in putting out the audio of Natboff! but fingers crossed. I REALLY want that to happen.
7 Are any of the characters in Natboff based on real people?
Hmm, not as far as I can recall. They’re more like take-offs of different kinds of historical ‘voices’ and characters. There’s the Shakespeare one, obviously, which is meant to sound like a very stupid version of how Shakespearean characters sounded; and then there’s my favourite story, The Strange Case of Doctor Wempers and Mr Cribbins, which is a take-off of Jekyll & Hyde, so I had a lot of fun making it sound like it was narrated by a Victorian gentleman. But as far as being based on actual people… I don’t think so. I don’t really writes like that, I just makes it up out me head, like (or steal from history).
8 Will you write any more Mr Gum books?
Maybe. But it’d have to be a really good idea. A lot of people think they want another Mr Gum book but what they don’t know is that it’s very easy to write a bad Mr Gum book, and I definitely don’t want to do that. What they’re really asking for is a good Mr Gum book, so if I come up with an awesome idea then who knows…
9 What have you been doing for the 8 years, since the last Mr Gum book?
10 Do you support Polly for Prime Minister?
Honestly, at this point I think she’s our only hope.
11 What flavour is the Fruit Chew of Babylon?
All the flavours at once!
12 Where do I have to go to catch the Poo Bus?
Into the deepest, darkest recesses of your own subconscious. Happy travels!
13 What’s the difference between brown and white rice?
Brown rice is white and white rice is brown, everyone knows that, Mango.
A massive thank you to Andy for taking the time out of your day to answer my questions. And to Lucy, Isaac and Tom for sending theirs.
There are a few reviews of Andy’s books on our site. Just type his name into the search bar (at the bottom of the site).