Wednesday, 15 June 2022

James Harris - Author Interview (Q&A) Happytown Must Be Destroyed - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books #25


What a joy to have James Harris back for another interview. This time we wanted to find out more about his new book HAPPYTOWN MUST BE DESTROYED which was published by Hodder Children's books on the 14th April, 2022. It's a story about jogging, eating salads, and really enjoying these whilst smiling all the time. They're happy; really, REALLY happy. Who could complain about that? Well, it's time to find out! 

  1. Happytown Must Be Destroyed is the title of your latest book; it is a fantastic title. In what ways does the story live up to this amazing title?

Why thank you! I actually came up with the title first, about nine years ago, and it’s taken me this long to come up with a story that is worthy of the name.  

  1. What comical capers do the characters get up to and why is everybody so happy?

Well, everybody is happy because there’s aliens in their heads making them happy, that’s the problem! And Leeza is the only person who can save the world, but she’s really terrible at making decisions. So there’s a lot of indecision, a ton of running around, a fair amount of aliens schlurping up peoples’ noses, some heavily-armed ice cream men firing freeze rays all over the place, a colossal dance routine, some top-notch arguments, a small jar of pickled onions… something for everyone, really!

  1. The last book was about biscuits, is this book still good to read with a cup of tea? 

Yes, but as always remember: dunk the biscuit, not the book!

  1. How important is it that readers find the story funny? Is this something that is important to you? 

When I write stuff, whether it’s alien invasions or giant orange monsters running round town, it just turns out funny, I can’t help it. A lot of people say my books are “bonkers” but the planet that we live on is pretty bonkers generally, so to me that’s realistic.

  1. I see you are a filmmaker, a performer, and also a pole-vaulter. How has each role contributed to you becoming a children's author? 

Apart from the pole-vaulting, which is just a big fib, everything I’ve done: making films, comics, zines, sketch shows, animations – they’ve all involved writing, so it was all practice. All the little things I have written over the years, for fun, have all helped me be the writer I am today. Keep writing, that’s my advice!

  1. When you were last interviewed you were just coming to the end of writing this book. Did it all go to plan or did the Aliens and the allergies get you?

Oh, it took a couple of goes to get it right. It’s all about juggling the aliens, and the allergies, and the ice cream, and the friendship, and the action and the emotion… it took me a while to keep all the balls in the air for a whole book. Did I manage it finally? Read it and find out!

  1. Are you going to make a short pointless film for this book? I really think you should! 

Oh go on then! I should, shouldn’t I?

  1. What question do you wish you had been asked as part of this Q&A and why? How would one of your characters have responded to this question?

Ooh, well they’ve all been good questions… You could have asked “Should everyone buy this book?” and I would have said “HECK YES”, of course, but Leeza would have said “hmm… but there are so many other books you could buy… I don’t know. Yes, maybe?” and her best friend Ishy would have burped the alphabet and jumped over a bin. Does that help?

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