Interview with Andy Stanton

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By Huw Thomasheadteacher and writer

To kick start Junior Ed PLUS new literacy series, Huw Thomas talks to Andy Stanton, the author of the weird and wonderful Mr Gum series, to find out just how he conjured up the stinkiest, grottiest, meanest villain ever…

Andy Stanton

Andy Stanton — author of the brilliant Mr Gum series

What was your inspiration for the Mr Gum series?

Mainly, I was fed up starting things but never finishing them. I have tonnes and tonnes of ideas for projects – books, TV shows, films, weird concept albums, and so on. But when it comes to developing them, I’m not so good.

I got so frustrated that, one day, I sat down and just decided to write a complete story from A to Z. It was Christmas Eve 2002, and I didn’t have any presents to give my little cousins the next day. I’ve always loved children’s books, and it was always one of my ambitions to write one; so this seemed like the perfect excuse to actually finish something for once in my life. Eight hours later, I had the first draft of You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! It was intensive writing – I’ve never been able to write like that before or since – but I think it was the culmination of years and years of creative ‘doodling’. Finally, I found a way to put lots of my ideas into one bag.

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