Anna Brooke - Monster Bogey - Author Interview (Q&A) - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

Thank you for joining us once again. It's time to get messy and have a little sing-song with another one of our debut authors, Anna Brooke. Anna is the author of MONSTER BOGEY published by Chicken House this Jan 2023. The book is fantastically illustrated by Owen Lindsay and, as it states on the cover, just pick it up and come and have a laugh. To find out more, you just need to read on my little MONSTERS

How much slime should we expect to encounter in this book? Do we need to be wearing a hazmat suit before encountering this story?

Gooliemaloolie! There is so much slime in this book – almost on every page. Yes, I highly recommend wearing a hazmat suit. Or a diving suit. Or a rain suit. Or even just a few plastic bags. Anything you can to protect your clothes.

Can you tell us what the willy-willy-woo-woos are? 

The willy-willy-woo-woos are those uncomfortable feelings you get when you’re scared - like the ‘creeps’ or the ‘jitters’ or (the word most closely related to them) the ‘willies’.

How would you describe your debut book as a quick song?

Ooh. Good question. Either as a ballad (a very cheesy one) about adventure, friendship and accepting people as they are. Or it could be a proper upbeat number about nose-picking called Snot Ball Disco - which is precisely one of the two songs I wrote for it (with French composer Xavier Bussy)! 

The other song, called A-Chooooo! (also co-composed with pianist Sebastien Joly), is a silly Strauss-inspired aria about sneezing. 

I’m a huge fan of musicals, and for a while I sang in an electropop group, so right from the start I knew I wanted Monster Bogey to have a musical element. You can listen to the songs via QR codes and links in the book, or via all the usual streaming platforms.

Or here:

Snot Ball Disco, performed by Lucy Longlegs the cabaret-singing spider (featuring Honkerty Village’s Weird hedgehog): 

A-Chooooo!, sung by Mum, an opera singer: 

Here are some of the lyrics:

Snot ball disco

Step in to the light

Greenie greenie

Forget all your strife

Snot ball disco

When you pick your friends

Greenie greenie

Love never ends

When you’re feeling down at the end of the day

Just Pick It

Just Pick It

Just Pick It


If you’re feeling shy and can’t think what to say

Just Pick It

Just Pick It

Just Pick It


And A-chooooo!:

Have you ever had a tickle in your nose? 

It gets you from your head down to your toes

Then there’s nothing left to do

But let out a sneezy, snotty, sloppy, sticky 


Don’t try to hold it in

It’ll make you feel so grim

Your eyes will pop with nasal slop!

If you keep it all inside

It’ll come out your behind

And who wants snot around their bot?

Just let rip – go for the goo

It’s the only thing to do.

Just let rip – it’s a breeze

It’s the only way to sneeze.

From Yorkshire to Paris, has this journey influenced any part of the book? 

Yes, definitely. The obvious part is baddy Willamina’s French ancestry. She’s the descendent of French king William the ‘Conkerer’! And she spews French-sounding insults without knowing what they mean – like, ‘ferry pour Calais’ (Ferry to Calais) and ‘saucisson sec’ (cured sausage). 

The other part is the book’s humour, which I think is very much linked to my years growing up in Yorkshire and Birmingham (where I lived until I was ten). People in both regions love a good play on words and have a great sense of humour. I like to think I absorbed some of that and put it into the book. 

Would you recommend tea drinking, Yorkshire pudding flinging, or baguette jousting as a way of limbering up to read Monster Bogey?

Like most Parisians, I always begin a good reading session with un petit peu of baguette jousting. And occasionally croissant chucking. And on special occasions discus throwing with camembert along the Champs Elysées. But I’d recommend any of the above. Or you could just pick your nozzle!

This book sounds wonderful, do you think laughter plays an important role in children's books? 

They say laughter is the best medicine and I think it’s especially true when it comes to reading.  Laughter releases endorphins in your brain, which makes you feel good, which makes reading a positive experience. And what could be better for keeping kids hooked on books than that? 

That’s not to say that children shouldn’t be exposed to all sorts of books. They should. But I think laughter can be a precious tool for attracting kids of any age to reading – especially reluctant readers. If they’ve had a good experience with one book, they’re more likely to want to replicate it by trying another story, and then another, and so on. 

How would you like readers to feel once they have finished reading the story? 

I’d love them to feel as though they’ve been on a wild, funny and mischievous adventure.

My dream comment would be, ‘This made me happy and laugh a lot’. 

I’d also hope that by the end—through Bogey’s character and what happens to him—readers will feel more empathy towards people who are different.

And maybe, just maybe, some people will feel that my book is a refreshing antidote to Covid. During the pandemic, millions of kids must have been told off (more than usual) for picking their noses. And for good reason. But perhaps reading Monster Bogey will—on some level—offer a naughty sense of release, after all that pent-up stress and unchannelled picking energy!

What type of books do you like to read? 

Oh gosh! All sorts. I don’t really have a ‘type’ but here’s a list of some of my favourites books, from childhood through to adulthood:

  • Alanna by Tamora Pierce
  • The Silver Chair by C.S Lewis
  • The Lockwood & Co series by Johnathan Stroud
  • The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brian
  • Anything by Oscar Wilde, but particularly The Canterville Ghost
  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly 
  • The Monk by Matthew Lewis. In fact, this is probably my all-time favourite.

The illustrations in the book look amazing. At which point of the publication process did you get to see these and how do you think they support the story process? 

By the time I saw Owen Lindsay’s brilliant cover and illustrations, the book was approaching final copy-edit stage. But I was so overwhelmed with some of his pictures, that I actually tweaked a few lines of the text to make it match his drawings. For instance, in the revolving fireplace scene, Owen put a bowler hat on a werewolf carving, and it looked so good I had to write it into the story.

In terms of story process, the illustrations didn’t really support the writing of Monster Bogey per se (aside from the above), because they came at the end. But for the sequel, Monster Stink (due out on August 3rd 2023), Owen’s style has been very much at the forefront of my mind. I now see Frank, Tiffany and Bogey (the main characters) as the people he has drawn. And I wrote certain scenes thinking about how Owen might portray them. There are some seriously sticky bits in Monster Stink, I’m telling you! And Owen has come up trumps!

What three things would your characters get up to if you let them loose in Paris?

I think Frank and Bogey would head straight to the top of the Eiffel Tower, where Bogey would do an aerial choreography with Paris’ pigeons.

Tiffany would take the slugs to Parc de la Villette, a modern park in the north-east of the city where there are regular circus shows.

Mum would hit the Garnier Opera House and reminisce about when she sang there. And Dad would go straight to the Cinémathèque film museum.

What was the scariest book you read as a child?

I’d have to say, the B.F.G. by Roald Dahl. I was genuinely terrified by the non-friendly giants and what they’d do to Sophie if she got caught.

Anna Brooke
Anna’s writing career started in journalism as a film critic for Time Out Paris and the author of seven travel guidebooks for Frommer’s. She has written for multiple publications, including the Financial Times, The Times and The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, where she was the long-standing Paris expert. Her debut novel, Frank ‘n’ Bogey, was a SCBWI Undiscovered Voices winner and longlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award. When not writing, she has been an actress, a cabaret singer and an electro-pop artist, performing on stage and composing songs for films and commercials. Raised in Birmingham and Yorkshire, she now lives in Paris with her French-Canadian husband and son. Author Website: