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Sue Hendra, Paul Linnet

Sue Hendra, Paul Linnet

This hilarious picture book is by author and illustrator duo SUE HENDRA and PAUL LINETT, creators of picture books including Supertato, Barry the Fish with Fingers and Simon Sock.

It follows Cake, who is invited to a party. Having never been to a party, Cake isn't sure what to wear - but once he finds the perfect outfit, he's not sure that a party is the best place for him to be....

We asked Sue and Paul to tell us more about their picture book, CAKE:

Q: Why did you decide to give a cake the starring role in this picture book?

A: PAUL - Story ideas come from all sorts of places. I was thinking about cake decoration and how we have to make decisions about what colour icing and which sprinkles to use etc. and it seemed similar to getting dressed up - deciding on which socks and shirt and hat. So I mixed up the two ideas and made a cake trying to decide what to wear for a party. He'd never been to a party before so he had no idea what he should wear.

Q: How hard was it to get your cake character 'right' - was it a tricky thing to personify?

A: SUE - Not very hard really, you never quite know whats going to come out of your pencil do you, but this time he just appeared on the page and looked like the cake we were telling a story about.

Q: And once you'd started with a talking cake, how did you decide on the rest of the world?

A: SUE - We wanted the reader (as much as possible) to forget cake is a cake and just identify with him as someone going to their very first party. We felt this was helped by giving cake an ordinary house to live in and ordinary streets to walk along.

Q: There are lots of quiet jokes in the pictures and text in CAKE, which are your favourites?

A: SUE - I like the pizza peeping up out of the man hole cover.

Q: And which is your favourite spread?

A: SUE - The pinata spread on the final page.

PAUL - My favourite spread is also the pinata one. It's like a funny little hidden Easter egg just when you think the story is over...

Q: How many cakes were eaten during the creation of this book?

A: SUE - Too many!

PAUL - Obviously healthy eating is the priority in our house! But cake eating needed to be done... in the name of research!

Q: What is the process of collaboration when you work on your picture books?

A: PAUL - One or other of us comes up with an idea or partial story. Next, we add some rough pencil sketches. Sue usually starts to develop the character at this point and I start to work on the backgrounds. Next we make a mockup of the book to see if it works. If it does then the art is hand drawn into the computer.

All throughout the process we bat things back and forth, each adding and tweaking until the job is done.

Q: How do you create the illustrations for your picture books?

A: SUE - Lots of sketching, scanning, piecing imagery together.

Q: Is your approach to picture books to look at the ordinary and give it a twist?

A: PAUL - I would say that is true of all of our books.

SUE - I think our books come from attempting to make sense of the world around us, and trying to make the other one laugh.

Q: Yes your picture books are all very funny but which one has made you laugh the most in creating it?

A: SUE - The three most recent ones are the ones that have made us laugh the most, so hopefully we’re getting better at it!

These three are not out yet but one is out in July, 'Supertato- Veggies in the Valley of doom'. When Paul came up with the ending I laughed my head off, I think it's brilliant.

Q: You also do your events together - do you have a new event planned for CAKE?

A: SUE - We have a Supertato/CAKE mash up show that we will be performing in Brighton, Edinburgh, Bath, Cheltenham, Henley and Wimbledon. Before becoming an author/illustrator, Paul was a singer in a band and is great at writing and performing his songs, I'm hoping he will write a CAKE song that we can sing in our show.

Q: Where do you work and what would be your dream studio?

A: PAUL - We work together in a small room in our house. We have one wall covered in metal and we put artwork on it using those little magnets that the FBI use.

The room is a bit small for all of our stuff. Cosy. We would love a studio in a big warm shed at the bottom of a lovely garden.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: SUE - Something quite silly!

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