Five Minutes Peace, the story we are celebrating in particular, documents one mother's quest for a moment of peace in a busy day. Many of us know the sadness of continual lukewarm cuppas, the silence that speaks volumes (of mischief) if a toddler slips away, and the unparalleled delight upon returning to work of a trip to the toilet alone, but Mrs Large is having a trying day alone with her brood of three and is determined to have a child-free break. Granted it is perhaps a bizarre decision to opt for a bath, but we can support her optiminsm and sympathise with the utter failure of the exercise. Well, almost failure... she does achieve a heroic three minutes and fourty five seconds.
We leapt at the opportunity for this blog tour to ask the author Jill Murphy a few questions about herself and her books, some of which came from Culturebaby and her little friends. We hope you enjoy her thoughtful replies as much as we did.
From the Minis:
1.What was the first story you made up as a child about?
My first story was ‘The Lonely House’ which I wrote and illustrated when I was six. It was about a dilapidated old house which desperately wanted a family to come and live in it. I stapled it together so that it would look as much like a real book as possible.
2. Did you always want to write stories?
It was the only thing I really enjoyed doing. Sometimes I lined up my three best toys and tried out my stories on them.
3. Was the Large family like your own?
The Large family was based on some friends of mine who had lots of children.
4. Could we see you draw live one day?
I will hopefully be at some literary festivals later this year and I will show how to draw illustrations.
5. What day of the week was Five Minutes’ Peace based on? Was it a Saturday?
It was a Monday which was the day we always went shopping together.
6. What was your most inspirational children’s book you read as a child?
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (illustrations by Pauline Baynes) and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I also loved the Rupert the Bear Annuals at Christmas.
7. Which artists inspired you in your illustrations?
I especially loved Pauline Baynes’ illustrations and spent hours copying them and sticking them on my wall. Imagine my delight when, many years later, Pauline Baynes wrote a fan letter to ME, saying that she loved my illustrations and had bought lots of copies my book ‘My Last Noo-noo’ for her great nephews and nieces! If I had known that my illustration-heroine would pay me such an amazing compliment all those years later, I would have been a very happy little girl!
8. If you had five minutes of peace what would you choose to do with it above all else?
I love to walk on the beach with my dog.
9. The gender roles are quite traditional, is that something you deliberately set out to do and if you were writing the stories now would it be different?
I never set out to make a point or instruct. I just write whichever story comes out of my head and then hope that my readers will like it.
10. What characteristic or wisdom are you most proud of learning from or inheriting from your own mother?
To be true to yourself and not to give up at the first fence.
To celebrate 30 years of 5 Minutes Peace, Walker Books are giving one lucky winner the chance to win a Five Minutes' Peace pampering kit, including £100 Treatwell vouchers to spend on spa treatments of your choice, plus a signed edition of Five Minutes' Peace, relaxing tea, bath salts, candles, and chocolates! Five runners up will receive a signed copy of Five Minutes' Peace.
To enter, just email email@example.com with 'Pamper' in the subject line and let them know how YOU would spend five minutes' peace! The competition closes on 18th March. Head over to the Picture Book Party website here for further details.
Join some of our great fellow bloggers over at their blog sites too and get some free activity sheets to occupy your own boistrous brood here.
29 February: beingamummy.co.uk
1 March: www.mamageek.co.uk
2 March: deepinmummymatters.com
3 March: culture-baby.net
4 March: mummymishaps.co.uk