Today we talk about Bea and the Buttersquelch, a book by Sam Hash published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Sam Hash to get to know her better, her passion for fantasy and comedy and how her idea to write her book Bea and the Buttersquelch was born.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Was the idea for this book born at a particular moment?
Yes, there was a specific moment which I remember well. At some point, in the Autumn of 2019 I was doing some doodles and sketches and drew a little creature. It was just the head, it looked like a bird type creature with long fluffy ears with feathers sticking out, it was scruffy, and looked like a squashed lump of butter, so I called it a Buttersquelch. This is the sketch that I hold up in my photo on the back of the book. At Christmas that year I gave my God daughter some steampunk goggles with spikes sticking out, she has long auburn hair and is an active child. When I got home from visiting my family and them, I was lying in bed ready to fall asleep and a line popped into my head; ‘Bea stared at the Buttersquelch and the Buttersquelch stared straight back.’ I thought to myself that’s a good first line to a story. So the next day I wrote it down and caried on writing. Then kept on writing until I eventually had a whole story. There was no planned middle or end, it just happened from those sparks.
- Where did you find the inspiration to talk about such strange creatures and their adventures?
I have spent my life growing up watching and reading a healthy mix of fantasy and comedy. My Mum always read to me and my brother before bed, and we grew up on a farm so had many adventures of out own, playing and exploring, climbing and falling over, we had a lot of fun. It was the age before the internet, so we went out and played until dark. As a child I watched films like The Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock, all of Jim Henson’s creations. As an adult The Labyrinth is still my favourite film, and I love the artwork of Brian Froud, who worked on both films. I have many of his books and love everything that he does. I also still love the original BFG with its weird food and dreams. I still have some books I loved as a kid like Fantastic Mr Fox, and some Terry Pratchet and have read many fantastic stories since then. They were funny, and I have developed a good sense of humour from films like Monty Python, TV comedy like The Young Ones, Ab Fab, quality comedy with a good physical element. I could write a long list on this.
- What would you like to hear from your readers?
I would like to hear that they laughed and had a lot of fun with my story. I hope to inspire kids and to appeal to the child inside the adults that read the book to their kids, or just read it for fun. It is very important to stay connected to our inner child, the world can be a dark and serious place, so it’s healthy to still be able to play, and remember that we have imaginations. I would like to hear, especially from the kids, that it has given them a nudge to go out and play, that it is good to get grubby sometimes. I would like to hear that they are perhaps less fearful of the dark and embrace their own imaginations and let it run. It would be amazing to hear that it has encouraged them to write a story themselves, or to get creative with drawing or painting, anything that involves engaging their brains into something new and free. It is also a reminder to eat well, and to take plenty of sleep. If a child got back to me and said they had a Buttersquelch dream I would love it.
- How did it feel to see your book published?
It felt quite surreal to see it published. It took a long time and effort to get it done, and I am very grateful to the publishers. Holding it in my hands put a whole new kind of smile on my face, I was proud of myself and felt like I had accomplished something new. Seeing it made it real, and I was able to send off lots of copies and have had good feedback from some young readers. This would not have been possible had it not been published, so it really is taking something from my brain that I have imagined and brought it into our reality. Although I have seen it in many places online I have yet to walk into a shop and see it on a shelf. I would love to walk into Waterstones or Foyles and see it physically on the shelf. That will be a special moment.
- Are you working on new writing projects that you can tell us about?
I am going to write a second book to follow this one, so it will have familiar characters (of course Bea, Boil and Tinks) and some new ones. I have yet to know what they are, I need to use my inspirations and start doodling in my sketchbook. I quite like the idea of drawing Boil’s Nan, as describing what an old Buttersquelch looks like really makes me laugh. I did have some feedback from a reader who said that they wished there were a few more drawings, so I will take this feedback on board and come up with some more.
The title will be The Mutation of Ooma (a character in the book) but am not giving away what that mutation is. I have it very clear in my mind and have done some sketches, and this will be my starting point. As in the first book I have no idea of a middle or end, but all I need is the starting point. The rest of the story will flow from there and characters will be imagined along the way. I know that if it makes me laugh out loud while writing it like the first one did then I am on the right track. It will be fantasy, adventure, comedy and have lots more colourful food. I look forward to seeing where it takes me.
Europe Books thanks the author Sam Hash once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We really wish her the best of luck with her book Bea and the Buttersquelch and for her future as a writer.
To you, my dear reader, I wish you to let your imagination and curiosity run free in this fantastic world characterized by the adventures of these two strange little friends Bea and the Buttersquelch.
So, my dear reader, I have nothing left but to wish you to enjoy this very pleasant reading!