I’m delighted to share my latest interview with children’s author and illustrator, Jay Stansfield. His debut book, Meet the Squibbles is out now. I met Jay on LinkedIn and we’ve had great fun connecting and sharing our love of books (and all things northern!). In this interview we talk about the enjoyment of writing for children, and eating beef and chips with Mike and the Mechanics!
About the Author
Hello! I’m Jay. I’ve been creating stuff since I was a little nipper and drawing in my school books, making up comic strips about my mum and dad’s weird friends and generally farting around making music and being a clown. I’ve always had a child-like attitude, probably because I’m an only child who enjoys computer games and using my imagination and so I wanted to apply that to doing the thing I love, which is making people smile and feel emotion. The Squibbles were born out of necessity and I want them to bring smiles and joy to families across the planet and beyond.
I’m kind, considerate, caring, loving, giving and respectful. I have a tendency to be silly but always delivers in a professional manner. Proud Dad of two girls means my hair is greyer than normal but that’s given me the insight and honour of the female perspective. I can be volatile when backed into a shadowy corner!
You can read my review of Meet the Squibbles HERE.
Tell us a little about yourself. (How did you get started writing? What do you do when you’re not writing?)
I started writing stories and little comic strips when I was at the end of Primary school, going into high school. I’ve always been fascinated by the written word and silly cartoons so I used to subscribe to the Beano and Dandy comics, which probably kickstarted my love of illustration and writing. My favourite comic strip in there was Calamity James!
I also used to collect Garbage Pail Kids stickers and covered my cabin bed in those. I also covered the back of my door. And my lunchbox. And my drawers. Yeah I covered everything in Garbage Pail Kids stickers. My mum wasn’t happy.
I also do the odd bit of animation and I’ve played and written in bands since I was 15, so I’ve performed on Radio 1, BBC Television and released loads of music over the years with some moderate success.
In my spare time wherever that is, I like exploring VR on my Oculus Quest 2 headset and playing tabletop games with my wife and two girls. We’re super board game geeks – Clank! is the best game ever made!
Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
Meet The Squibbles is my first written children’s book. I published Squibbles before this, which is pretty much the colouring journal version of this but with a few of the characters in there to love and make friends with.
What genre is it, and what is it about?
It’s ultimately a picture book for kids aged 4 to 7, introducing some of the characters from Squibblesville where they all live. Each character in there has a little description of the food they like, things they like to do and other little surprises.
What or who inspired you to write this book?
In all honesty, if my wife hadn’t encouraged me to take the plunge and push out my illustration, I’d still be floating around in space looking for people to write songs for. Illustration and writing brings me so much joy and it’s fun and colourful and silly and fantastical. Just the thing we all need in our lives and my children are definitely a main source of inspiration for the quirkiness and wonkiness of my output.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Write whatever the hell you want and if someone doesn’t like it, then throw a rotten tomato at them and shout “NO! This is my pantomime and I get to decide what I write.” Alternatively you could go on a course about writing but it’ll probably be a bit boring.
What do you enjoy most about writing and why?
I enjoy the feeling it gives to others. When I get a message or an email, telling me their child is smiling at or kissing the book… which is clearly one of the things kids do cos kids are ultimately a bit weird and out-there… then it fills my bucket up to the top. It made someone smile. It formed a connection. It forced a parent into submission to read it for the hundredth time that day. It’s just an amazing feeling knowing The Squibbles are making an impact in some way.
List three interesting facts about yourself
I’ve supported Mike and the Mechanics on The Isle Of Man and had beef and chips with them after midnight.
I was featured in the Best Bits on ITV This Morning with Phil and Holly for an impromptu song about a dripping tap.
I’ve done a book launch in Virtual Reality and made the news.
What is your least favourite part of the publishing/writing process?
I’m not a fan of waiting. I’m impatient but I’m getting better. Also formatting. I find that a bit of a pain but I’ve got over 20+ years of using Adobe products so it’s not too bad, maybe I’m just lazy and don’t like numbers much.
What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?
The best thing they can do is post about it, shout about it, share it, gift it and write a review on Amazon. Their voices are the most important and with them, we can help The Squibbles reach more children across the planet!
What is your next project?
My next project is another colouring journal called Squibbles 2 which is nearly ready to publish and an interactive, immersive 3D website based in Squibblesville! It’s primarily aimed at Virtual Reality users where you can shrink yourself down and go to Squibblesville but it will be able to be explored on any device with a web browser!
At the bottom of Mr Pumpnose’s garden, not too far from you,
There’s a world of little creatures – and none of them feel blue.
They’re wonky and squiggly, twisty and bibbly,
Some of them smell, whilst others are squibbly.
But all of them smile to make life feel much better,
So shrink yourself down, maybe write them a letter.
Show them you care with a laugh and some love,
And if any are cheeky, just give them a shove.
Meet the Squibbles, Dear Reader, and open your heart,
Turn the page, snuggle up, sit tight and let’s start.
Meet The Squibbles is a colourful, silly introduction to some of the lovable characters from Squibblesville.
Written for children and adults alike, you’ll smile and laugh at the daft things they do, from eating picnics to shouting.
Perfect for a quick reading snack at any time of day.
Connect with Jay:
Book sales links: