As Tom Fletcher’s children’s books hit the shelves this month, the musician and author opens up about his kids’ favourite bedtime reads, baby brands, and life with three young boys
You might recognise him from a little band called McFly, but over the last few years, it’s Tom Fletcher’s children’s books that have been garnering huge attention and success. Here, the musician and author reveals what inspires him, and how life has been since his youngest child, Max, arrived last summer.
Tom, congratulations on your new children’s books, There’s An Elf in Your Book and The Christmasaurus and The Winter Witch! What was the writing process like this time around?
Thank you! It’s becoming easier but it’s still a challenge, and I think that’s the exciting bit, as you never want it to feel too easy. I’ve always found that writing books is very similar to writing songs, and that’s obviously what I’ve done for the past 17 years, so it never really feels that alien to me. Plus, I clearly have a strange obsession with Christmas, so writing these books has been really good fun for me; I’ve definitely been in festive mode for a while now!
You’ve now written 19 children’s books – have you always wanted to write for kids?
I’d always wanted to write a novel, and picture books just felt like a natural evolution from writing songs, because, often they’re written in nonsense rhyme, which is similar to creating lyrics. Middle-grade books are where I’m most comfortable at the moment, as I love family movies, Pixar, Disney and sci-fi, and those are the kind of stories I want to tell.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mainly my parents – my dad would always make storytime so magical for me when I was growing up. I remember him reading The Snowman to me, and one night, instead of reading it to me as normal, he made the book come to life, and I was talking to the book and he was shaking it as if it was answering my questions. Both my parents are so creative and great storytellers.
What do your children think about your books?
I tend to try my ideas out on them first, and I’ll say, “What should I write about next?”, and sometimes they just won’t listen and other times they’ll respond really well. They’re definitely a source of inspiration and criticism, which I think you need, as usually when you show adults something, there’s every chance they’ll lie so they don’t hurt your feelings. Kids just say it how it is!
Any plans to write more books?
Always! Books are a huge focus for me, but I’m also working on a stage musical, a Christmasaurus movie, and some other music projects [McFly are going on tour in 2020], so there’s a lot keeping me busy. There’s definitely more books in the pipeline, and I’ve got a list of ideas that I’m working my way through. I’m actually waiting to get the edit back on a book at the moment.
Which other books do your children enjoy reading?
Buzz is really enjoying Diary of a Wimpy Kid, as he’s at the age now when he can read by himself. He’s also a big fan of Captain Underpants. And Buddy is loving Zog by Axel Scheffler.
Max is one now. How has the last year been for you?
He’s the easiest baby, but having three is definitely a different dynamic, more so than having two. So, I’d say it’s probably been our most challenging year since having kids. Of course, both Giovanna [Tom’s wife] and I are still trying to juggle our careers around being the best parents we can be. Thankfully, we have an amazing baby in Max.
How did Buzz and Buddy react to getting another brother?
They love him, probably too much! They’re all over him all the time. Buddy’s very physical and loves picking him up, and Buzz is at that age when he’s wanting to be more helpful. They all got chickenpox over the summer and we were all stuck indoors for a few weeks, so we made a music video, which I then uploaded onto YouTube. It was really good fun, and now we have this sweet recording of our kids.
Do you have a pushchair of choice?
We’ve always had Bugaboo pushchairs, as we’ve found them the easiest to use and the most comfortable to steer. For Buzz and Buddy, we had the Donkey 2 Duo, and now we’ve got the Bugaboo Ant with a detachable seat that Buddy can sit on when he gets tired. My parents look after the boys sometimes and they have an iCandy, which they really like.
Any favourite interiors brands for Max’s nursery?
Max has a SnüzKot, which is really cool and Scandi-looking. It’s always heart-breaking when you have to lower the cots down though, as you realise time is going so quickly, especially now we have three children; I don’t think we’ll be having any more.
What about for the children’s wardrobes?
Next and Zara both have great children’s clothes and we buy a lot from there. We also bought Buzz a NASA T-shirt from John Lewis recently after he requested one!
Finally, what’s the best thing about being a dad?
Just getting to hang out with your kids is really cool. It’s horrendous at first when you realise you’re probably never going to sleep again, but when you start embracing that, some of the best moments can be at 2am and it’s just you and your baby. At the moment, I’m sleeping on Max’s floor most nights, and it’s nice getting to have a little snuggle when everyone else is asleep.
There’s an Elf in Your Book is on sale 17 October, and The Christmasaurus and The Winter Witch is on sale now. Both of Tom Fletcher’s children’s books are published by Puffin Books.
- Giovanna Fletcher on why She’s Bringing up her Children Gender Neutral
- The Best Parenting Podcasts to Listen to Right Now
- Check out Giovanna Fletcher’s new Cbeebies Show
Want more information and inspiration on everything parenting and lifestyle? Hit ‘Like’ on our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and join the conversation on Twitter. Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to Baby Magazine!