I’m so very excited to share an interview with Alastair Heim, author of No Tooting At Tea. This is such a fabulous book!!!! We (my kids and I) were all giggling throughout the book as we read it together. No Tooting At Tea is a great read aloud book; it is SO FUN. I guarantee parents and children alike will love reading No Tooting At Tea! Alastair is a gracious and kind author; you can tell he has a passion and love for writing children’s books. I was so honored to chat with him. Be sure to buy No Tooting At Tea and/or request it from your local library (I did both, because No Tooting At Tea is THAT AWESOME!). You can also find him on Twitter and visit his website.
1. What inspired you to write No Tooting at Tea?
Alastair: Before I answer that, I want to thank you very, very much for the chance to be interviewed. So, thank you! Okay…NO TOOTING AT TEA was inspired by an actual imaginary tea party I was invited to back in March of 2014. Everything was progressing perfectly properly until one of the other guests TOOTED. The tea party hostess remained calm (this was not the first time this sort of nonsense had happened at one of her parties) and politely instructed all of us that there was, “No tooting at tea!” I was immediately inspired and began writing the manuscript right away. I feel incredibly lucky to have been there at that exact moment because, had I not, there would be no book.
2. The trio of sisters in your book are hilarious, whimsical, and fun. Were the characters inspired by anyone you know?
Alastair: They very much were. I have three kids who are terribly funny, wonderfully charming, and sometimes stubborn. They are my inspiration for a lot of what I write and different elements of their personalities really came to life in this book. What was amazing to see was just how much Sara Not inadvertently captured the essence of my kids in her illustrations, without ever having met them (she lives in Italy). This book is incredibly special for me because it truly captured the life stage my children were at when I was writing it.
3. In the back of the book, you have a lovely spread of tea party refreshments suggestions. What’s your favorite refreshment to have at tea?
Alastair: Oh, boy…that’s a tough one. I’m a huge fan of sweets and treats of every kind, but I have to say that there’s nothing better than a chocolate croissant paired with a nice cup of tea. There’s a local bakery that makes chocolate croissants that essentially taste like “how-can-these-not-be-donuts?” deliciousness that we pick up from time to time – not often enough, if you ask me ;-).
4. We love having tea parties. Do you partake in tea parties often?
Alastair: I absolutely do! As my kids are getting older, the tea parties are happening a bit less frequently, but I do get invited to one from time to time. The tea party that inspired NO TOOTING AT TEA is, by far, my favorite one I’ve ever been to.
5. Can you tell us your favorite book as a child?
Alastair: My absolute favorite book as a kid was BARNEY BEAGLE PLAYS BASEBALL by Wonder Books – which my mom picked up at a garage sale. Looking back, I think I was way more enamored by the pictures than I was the story, but I vividly remember reading it over and over again. In fact, my mom recently sent me a box of books from when my brother and I were kids, and this book was at the top of the stack. I also read a lot of Berenstain Bears stories and have vivid memories of checking out Shel Silverstein books from my school library.
6. What are you reading now?
Alastair: I am always purchasing new picture books for my children, but the book I’m most excited about is the one I’m reading with my oldest daughter. She has recently caught the “Harry Potter” bug, so we have just started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together – a book I first read back in 2001. It’s been fantastic to watch her experience a story that holds such a magical place in hearts across the world.
7. My kids think you should write a sequel to No Tooting At Tea. Do you have any books in progress you can tell us about?
Alastair: Well, please tell your kids thank you and YES, there is another book in this series coming out in the Fall of 2018. It is called NO PEEKING AT PRESENTS and is actually a prequel to NO TOOTING AT TEA (the girls are a bit younger). It features the same older sister who has a lot of rules for her younger sisters on the night before Christmas. I am really excited about this story and can’t wait for your kids to read it!