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Author Q&A with Jane Clarke author of Al's Awesome Science

19th October 2017

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Al's Awesome Science: Egg-Speriments! by Jane Clarke and James Brown

Our reviewers loved this book and one review from really made us smile

"This book is a great way to inspire children to think about science in a fun way. The book contains some fun sketchy style illustrations and the book is broken up with some fun science experiments that can be easily replicated at home with an adults help. The story itself follows twins Al and Lottie and the results of their experiments."


So we asked  if she would like to ask the author, Jane Clark 10 questions on the author couch... and here's the interview in full.

1. What made you want to become a writer?

A 6 year old called Jasmine! When I was working in a school library, Jasmine kept demanding I find her a book about 'a princess, a rabbit and shopping'. In the end I made one up for her - and discovered that I could. So each week, I'd make up stories to order for other boys and girls in the class. The teachers suggested I write them down, and try to get published.

2. We liked how the experiment were laid out similar or science reports are written in school, Was science your favourite subject at school?

I'm glad you like it, Five Quills (my publisher) had the idea of including proper experiments that could be repeated by the readers of the book. I confess, I wasn't much good at writing science reports when I was at school, my favourite subject was history.  I went on to study archaeology and got fascinated by the science involved in that.

Lottie collecting bugs

3. This is the first book with a story as well as science experiments that we have found, What inspired you to write a book that includes science experiments?

It's a brilliant idea, isn't it? The publisher (Five Quills) approached me with the idea of writing a story with science, and I developed that aspect of it with them.

4. Which egg-Speriment from the book was your favourite? Ours has to be Al and Lotties Egg drop Eggs-speriment. The children couldn’t believe Mummy was letting them drop eggs from the window.

Oh, it has to be that one for me, too. It's based on a real experiment my son Andy did for a science fair project. We kept chickens at the time, so we had lots of eggs. We made lots of spaghetti with the broken ones!

Mrs Good

5. Al and Lottie are very curious about the world around them and are very mischievous, Are the characters in the book based on people you know?

I'm curious about everything, and so are my sons. Al is based on Andy, who was (and is) very scientific and used to keep a notebook labelled 'Andrew's Inventions.' Lottie is based on his brother Rob - who kept stick insects and a snake in his room, and spent some time leading adventure tours in Venezuela hunting for anaconda and other wildlife. 

6. The children loved Einstein the dog because he hilariously  gobbled up some of the experimental messes. Which character is your favourite and why?

I'd also have to choose Einstein, because he's an amalgam of all the much-loved, daft dogs who have brought much joy and chaos into my life over the years. There was a lot of gobbling of things that shouldn't be gobbled!

Einstein eats an egg

7. We really enjoyed this book, and have seen there will be another instalment from Al and Lottie which we are really looking forwards to, Will it be part of a larger series?

Yes! I've just started book 3, and hope there will be lots more.

8. What's your favourite book of all time?

Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows, it makes me laugh - and it makes me cry.

Charlotte with the spider

9. Which Authors have had the greatest influence on you as a writer and why?

I like authors who make me laugh, and make me think, so I'd put Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl, and Gerald Durrell on my list. 

10. We love the illustrations by James Brown but we wondered why don’t you do them yourself? 

I love James Brown's illustrations, too. You wouldn't want to buy a book illustrated by me - the only people who are impressed by my drawings are my four granddaughters - and all four are under the age of four!

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