McFly popstar turned bestselling children's author, and dad to Buzz and Buddy, Tom Fletcher has successfully written and published a range of awesome kid's books including The Dinosaur That Pooped series, written with his friend and bandmate Dougie Poynter, and his very own book The Christmasaurus, currently being transformed into a London stage production and a feature-length film. And as if that wasn't enough to be getting on with, he's just published his second solo book, an interactive picture book called There's a Monster in Your Book.
I think the bedtime routine is my favourite part of the day because we do a story together with the two kids
This children's book tells the story of a mischievous monster who has raided the pages of your child's book. Discover the magic page by page by tilting, spinning and shaking the book, and then seeing the funny results when each page is turned.
We caught up with Tom to chat about writing and touring, his children's favourite bedtime reads and how it feels to be a celeb turned children's author...
How does it feel to have your second solo book out?
It’s exciting. This is the first book I ever wrote. I wrote it about five or six years ago when I was on tour with McFly. I had this copy that I drew, it’s so bad, it’s really roughly sketched, I showed it to the boys on tour because they’ve got the reading age of three-year olds and they all cracked up laughing.
What inspired the book?
Well I’ve always loved children's books and picture books, even before I had kids. My Dad used to read me The Snowman and he would make it come to life. He would open the book and make me ask questions to it, and then he made the pages shake like it was saying yes or no, and I always remember that.
Is the monster based on your original drawing?
No, you should see my original drawing, it’s so bad. I really wanted to see what Greg’s (the book's illustrator) ideas were because a monster could be anything, it could have five heads or twenty eyes. The first ones weren’t far off where it ended up. It was like the perfect balance of cute, a little bit cheeky and naughty, not too scary, because that’s one thing I’ve learnt from having my own kids - where the line is with scaring them.
Why do all of your books have some sort of monster in them?
I like writing around things that I liked when I was growing up. So I liked dinosaurs, I LOVED Jurassic Park when I was a kid. I think a lot of the stuff I’ve done whether it was music or books has been kind of fun and silly, but I also really love monsters and darker stuff as well; my next book, The Creakers, is a bit more eerie and spooky in a fun way.
What’s so important about getting children reading?
I think it’s incredibly important. Seeing my own kids, it helps inspire their own creativity and their imagination. I think the bedtime routine is my favourite part of the day because we do a story together with the two kids and then we separate, so I do one with one and Giovanna (Tom's wife, also an author and writer) does one with the other, and then we’ll swap kids the next night.
What do your boys like to read?
Buzz really likes BoyFrog and Oi Dog and You Choose; he loves that one where you can pick your own things. Buddy likes anything Winnie the Pooh at the moment.
Is their reaction to your writing important to you?
Yes, kids don’t lie to you, so if a kid doesn’t like it, they just don’t like it. Kids don’t go out of their way to make you happy, so it’s amazing when they say they like it. I tested some of the proof ones out on Buzz to see which worked best, which was quite handy. He should probably be credited on the book as co-editor or something…
Where do you like to write?
I think most of my books so far have been written in the kitchen, between the coffee machine and the fridge, so I'm always within arms reach of coffee and food. I’m well fuelled!
Have you got any more books in the pipeline?
Yes I’ve written the next one. It’s called The Creakers and it’s a little bit darker than what I’ve written before. It's being illustrated at the moment and I think next week I get sent the proofs. It's the same illustrator who did The Christmasaurus actually, Gary Parsons, and it looks amazing.
Will you and Dougie write any more books together?
I think so. We both really enjoy it, you know it's just sitting down and talking about dinosaurs and poop and that's just what we do anyway!
What does the future hold for McFly?
We did a writing trip at the beginning of the year. When you’ve been a band for something like 14 years it’s like you’re in it forever and it becomes a lot more relaxed. It’s nice now, we get the time to just go and do stuff, and there’s no real pressure so when we feel like we’re ready to do an album, we will.
Tom Fletcher’s new picture book, There’s a Monster in Your Book, published by Puffin Books is out now and available to buy in your local Asda store.