Mark Sperring is a children’s author of many acclaimed picture books. His most recent story All The Things I Wish For You is a tale of wonder that can be fully personalised and is printed by us! With Father’s Day approaching on Sunday 18th June, we asked Mark to write a special poem. Alongside illustrations by the brilliant Alice from our in-house creative team, Some Dads celebrates the colourful characteristics of padres everywhere. Enjoy the poem with your little ones and find out more about Mark in our q+a below.
© Mark Sperring 2017
Hi Mark, when and how did you start writing children’s books? Because children's books had made such a strong impression on me as a child I naturally gravitated towards writing children's stories. I was writing for about 10 years before I got my first book deal, but it was in a very unstructured way, without much regard to lengths or formats. Then, I started reading 'how to get published' type books and learnt more about the industry in general. At the time I was working in a lovely bookshop, which was great for discovering what kind of books were being published and by whom. Gradually, I started to build relationships with various editors and after quite a few near misses and a stack of encouraging rejection letters, in 2003 I finally went to print for the first time.
How did you come up with the ideas for your book with Papier, All The Things I Wish For You? My starting point was looking at Allison Black's website. Papier had chosen Allison (aka Hip Hip) to illustrate the story and I wanted to write something that would hopefully complement her style. I spent some time looking through Allison's online portfolio and was immediately drawn to an image of a magician. After that, the idea of some extraordinary guests turning up to bestow hopes and wishes on a child quickly formed.
What’s your process when you’re writing a book? How long does it usually take? Ideas for stories can come at anytime but I tend to write in the early hours of the morning. Some stories can come overnight, others take a few months, one picture book idea took almost a year to write, but (rightly or wrongly) I like to think it was worth waiting for!
What are your favourite children’s books? Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry Gobbolino, the Witch's Cat by Ursula Moray Williams The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak Any picture book by Ezra Jack Keats
Do you have any tips for any budding children’s authors? Read lots and keep writing — perseverance really is key.
What would you describe your dad as being great at? Enjoying life's little pleasures. (Biscuits especially!)
It’s Father’s Day on 18th June. Don’t forget dad’s card!