An exclusive article by author Jon Blake to mark our first ever blog tour (#Lollies2017)
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce Thimble Monkey Superstar to those who haven’t yet read it and after this introduction possibly never will.
Thimble Monkey Superstar is set in a bungalow. This is important because ‘bungalow’ is one of my favourite words and also the type of house in which I grew up. There were three bedrooms at one end of our bungalow and a kitchen and lounge at the other, joined by a brief hall. My dad was a big man and if he took up a strategic position in this hall he was inescapable. And believe me, there were times when we needed to escape. Psychologists have theorised that children’s writers often suffer from arrested development due to their own bad experiences in childhood, and I can –
I’m sorry, I’ve gone completely off the point. Yes, Thimble is set in a bungalow, inhabited by failed children’s author Douglas Dawson, who is under the illusion he lives in a castle complete with portcullis and dancing bears. Douglas is a kind of cross between Alan Partridge and Martin Amis. He has a disabled son, Jams, who is a kind of cross between sunshine and Spongebob. Jams is loosely based on my own son and chief cuddling partner, Jordi. Last but not least there is Nora, Jams’ mum, on whose income as a green energy something-or-other they all depend. How Nora became Douglas’s partner is a considerable mystery, but once Thimble arrives there is no doubt whose company she prefers. Thimble, as you may have guessed from the title, is the star of the show, a kind of cross between a capuchin and Harpo Marx.
Douglas Dawson is less than happy playing second fiddle to a monkey and keen to remove him by any means necessary. Jams, having the best friend he always dreamed of, is not. Therein lies the basis of the tale, which features (among other things) nits, tarantulas, mechanical diggers, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, monkey charades and a near-death experience. There is only one poo joke and I would modestly suggest it’s quite a good one.
Thimble Monkey Superstar is illustrated by the legendary Martin Chatterton and published by Welsh indie publishers Firefly Press. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank them for rescuing my long career as a children’s writer from oblivion. In my own mind it’s a little bit like Heaven 17 resurrecting Tina Turner back in the 80s. Then again, my own mind is a little bit like Douglas Dawson’s: no stranger to fantasy.
Find out more about Thimble Monkey Superstar here
Read our full Q and A with Jon Blake here
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonblakeauthor
Follow Firefly on Twitter @fireflypress