Child superhero!
4th Aug 20

Child superhero!

Ever wondered what it might be like to be an actual superhero? Meet Pizazz, a child superhero in a family that all have extraordinary superpowers!

Unfortunately, Pizazz's superpower is so embarrassing that she refuses to use it in front of other people.

Then there's her name, having to to wear a cape all the time and being woken up at all hours to defeat the bad wonder Pizazz isn't completely thrilled about being a superhero.

We ask author SOPHY HENN to tell us about PIZAZZ:

Q: Who is Pizazz, and what inspired her story?

A: Pizazz is a reluctant superhero from a family of superheroes and while they all whizz about happily saving the world, Pizazz isn't actually quite so sure she wants be SUPER super.

There are MANY reasons for this such as always getting called away for missions in the middle of fun things, having to wear the same superhero costume ALL THE TIME and having the MOST EMBARRASSING super power EVER! *eyeroll* It is so embarrassing I don't think I should tell you.

As with most of my books, it was inspired by my daughter. Not that she is Pizazz, but I created Pizazz as a little comic strip which was part of a comic I made for her when she was about 7/8 years old.

The idea was to turn the perky, can-do, sensible girl super hero idea on its head and wonder what it would be like if she just found the whole thing, well, a bit annoying!

And then seeing how she combines her 'normal' life with her 'super' life, trying to balance fitting-in and standing out all whilst wearing a full length cape with her name written across the back. SUPER!

It's an illustrated fiction book with added comic strips and you might have guessed I had a lot of fun writing and illustrating it.

Q: We love the superhero theme in Pizazz - do you have a favourite superhero?

A: I do love a superhero! The costumes, the capes, the masks, the POWERS!

If I had to pick favourites I would chose Wonder Woman, I LOVED the last film and can't wait for the next. And obviously the Power Puff Girls are obviously AWESOME.

Q: How did you decide what Pizazz's super power would be?

A: Ha! HA! Well, I just thought "What would be the super power Pizazz would most hate to use in public?" and went from there! I mean it is REALLY embarrassing, well it is for Pizazz.

Q: You also illustrate the book, do you prefer the writing or the illustration side of creating your stories?

A: I am so happy I get to do both as by the time I have finished writing a story I am itching to start drawing. Then when I have finished drawing, I am longing to start writing again. So the answer that question depends on what stage I am at with a book!

My favourite part of my job is when I get a new idea and I haven't had to get down to the nitty gritty of making it work as an actual it's still all shiny and potentially perfect! (it never actually is though!)

Q: How did you decide on Pizazz's look, and for the rest of her family?

A: As Pizazz's family are all happily SUPER I wanted their costumes to reflect that, so they all have more typical superhero looks. I very much liked designing Gramps' costume and researched really old superhero costumes and was delighted by how surprisingly clunky they were!

As Pizazz is less keen on the whole 'SUPER' thing I wanted her costume to reflect that. I wanted her to look a bit more DIY, like she wasn't really bothered, but in a way that suggests a bit of effort has gone into looking that unbothered!

So her actual clothes are almost cool but I had to give her something that showed how awkward she felt about being a SUPER , so I gave her a cape that is far too long and put her name across the back!

Q: Who is your favourite member of the family?

A: After Pizazz? Gramps. I mean, how could you not love him? Even with the occasional surprise fireball!

Q: Pizazz is embarrassed by her superpower. What would be your superpower of choice?

A: I have thought long and hard about it and while invisibility is tempting, it would have to be flying. I mean, come ON!

Q: And your actual superpower??

A: Being able to pack a car boot before going on holiday. I think my time playing Tetris has served me well.

Q: There's a lot that Pizazz doesn't like about being a superhero - cloaks, midnight wake-up calls, bad guys who vomit - what would get you down the most?

A: Having to be SUPER all the time, even when I didn't feel at all super.

I would actually quite like a cape, as a mum I am used to being woken in the night, the vomiting baddy would be an issue but I think that the constant pressure to be the capable, sensible, SUPER one all the time would be the thing that would get to me! I guess I'm like Pizazz in that respect!

Q: Pizazz is often unhappy with feeling different. What would you like your readers to take from her story?

A: I think sometimes Pizazz is unhappy about being different, but sometimes she rather likes it, even though she might try to hide that! It's true she wishes that sometimes she could just be normal and fit in, which I don't think is uncommon.

But over the Pizazz stories, she also accepts herself a lot more and even starts to enjoys her differences. She gets stuff wrong, but steps up and tries to get it right.

I want the readers to find a friend in Pizazz, someone a bit different and learning to embrace it, far from perfect but trying her best (well, most of the time!) and realising that you don't have to be SUPER all the time!

Q: What's up next for Pizazz?

A: Well, there's a new kid starting school and once Serena and The Populars get involved it might just start a battle of EPIC proportions...

Q: What's your go-to escape from your desk / studio?

A: I love a walk, I live near the southdowns and not too far from the sea so they both offer lots of beautiful views.

But I also like a spot of yoga and I have just bought some roller-skates, I mean, what could go wrong? *eyeroll*

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