Elias: Hello Natalie. Thank you for doing this interview.
Natalie: I am honoured to be in your presence, Elias.
Elias: Your first book, Hide Alex Hide features a dragon and a spider. Wouldn't a couple of army-trained slugs have been better?
Natalie: I didn't feel there was as much scope in the books for army trained slugs - added to that the original Alex had an imaginary dragon as a friend, he's never had a slug as a friend, so far...although, in stories as in life, there is always room for expansion.
Elias: Slugs often say you should write about what you know. Do you know many real-life dragons and spiders? If so, which world do you inhabit?
Natalie: I inhabit a wonderful place called Colourland - where practically anything can happen - if only you can find the magic entrance.
Elias: Elias is a superb name for a boy. Would you consider changing Alex's name to Elias?
Elias: In the 2nd book in the series the Dragon plays drums. If you were to compare his drumming style to any famous drummer, who would you compare him to?
Natalie: I'm thrilled that you've read the second book - in which Spider plays the drums and Dragon plays a keyboard. Spider styles himself on Mark Maher (known as Kram) from Spiderbait and John Bonham from Zeppelin - I've had to pick 2 as Spider has 4 arms to play with.
Elias: Ever tried making cabbage cake?
Natalie: Yes - fed it to the slugs at the end of the garden - they didn't come back.
Elias: Would you like to donate all the proceeds from your books, Hide Alex Hide and Louder Alex, Louder to my Slug Foundation?
Natalie: Although they are currently not really significant - the answer is no.
Elias: Is there a 3rd book in the series? Could you tell us about it? Could you then donate the proceeds from that one to me... I mean us, as well?
Natalie: The third book is Run Alex, Run where Alex, Dragon and Spider decide to have a race to see who's the fastest, but Alex likes to run, Spider likes to climb and Dragon likes to fly - so they have to find a race they can all join in on. And, no.
Elias: How did you get into writing? Were you inspired by me, Elias Zapple?
Natalie: As inspiring as I find you, my inspiration is, and always will be, my son Alex. I got into writing by composing his Naming Day poem, then short stories about his adventures (not in rhyme) then the Alex, Dragon and Spider book and Colour Land (which is currently being illustrated).
Elias: What's the best, most fun-tastic, amazingly awesome group on Facebook?
Natalie: I've found this great group where slugs are welcome full on nice, helpful and slightly off-beat people that I really enjoy being part of. The full name of it escapes me at the moment, but it's fun-tastic and all about Children's Books.
Elias: Your illustrations are very impressive and were done by Gina Rahman. How did you meet? Did you pay her in cabbages?
Natalie: I met Gina through another (not as fun-tastic but useful) writing page. I asked for help of how to get my books illustrated and Gina contact me. I loved her stuff and we've never looked back. We've both had commissions for other books and get on fantastically well - considering we've never met in person - though hopefully one day. We just clicked brilliantly and tend to think along the same lines with the books. No cabbages were used as payment as Paypal wouldn't accept them. I don't understand why myself!
Thank you, Natalie!
Hide Alex, Hide:
'Alex is a very ordinary little boy, so why is he hiding under his bed and who are the creatures searching everywhere to find him? "Hide Alex, HIDE!!" is the first in a series of books following Alex and his friends in their adventures.'
Louder Alex, Louder:
'Alex and Dragon start a band, Spider wants to join too, but with dreams of big crowds and fame, will Dragon let Spider play his drums. The latest from the Alex, Dragon & Spider series.'
My moustache is great, my slugs are great, my cabbages are great and Elias Zapple is meh.