R.A. Spratt, author of the Nanny Piggins series, answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

R.A. Spratt

author of the Nanny Piggins series

Six Sharp Questions


1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

My new book is called Nanny Piggins and the Daring Rescue is about Nanny Piggins having to fly to Vanuatu to rescue her employer who is being held against his will in a tropical paradise.  I wrote it because I thought if I set a book in Vanuatu I would be able to take a holiday there and claim is as a tax deduction.  Sadly, I had a baby instead and didn’t get to have a holiday anywhere.

2. Times pass. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

Best – discovering blood-orange gelato.  Worst – entire family being struck down with stomach flu.  The house has not smelled the same since.

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.

I’m not very good at remembering the precise wording of quotes.  I am handing in these answers a week late because I became bogged down by this one question.  I do remember ideas and turns of phrase.  But they are like fragments.  It’s hard to explain why they have lodged in my imagination.  Lately I have been thinking about an idea from Anthony Trollope’s The Last Chronicle of Barset, in which Reverend Crawley who is struggling financially and in his faith meets a poor man in the street who tells him, “it’s dogged that does it.”  It struck me as cryptic when I first read it five years ago, but lately I think I understand what Trollope means.

4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.

No, I am very easy to live with.  I like cooking things like bread or jam just to make the house smell nice.  When I need to work, I wait until everybody else is out of the house, then write like crazy until my brief window of peace and quiet comes to an end.

5. Some writer’s claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

I am a professional writer.  If my books did not sell in the marketplace I would have no money to pay the rent, which would make me very sad.

6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – because it is jam packed full of brilliant insights.

Jamie’s Kitchen by Jamie Oliver – because eating is very important.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – because it is beautifully written and wise.

Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe – because it has lots of interesting ideas.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde – because it is very funny.

Thank you for playing.

Click here to read an extract of Nanny Piggins and the Daring Rescue

Click here to visit our RA Spratt author page

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: John Birmingham, Jennifer Egan and R.A. Spratt

I had promised to post a new set of three authors offering writing tips every Friday evening but this is the second third time in a row I have forgotten to do so. Hmmm… Maybe I should just promise to post every Saturday? Or even better, forgo the promise… I know what I’ll do.

New announcement: I have long thought the advice offered to aspiring writers in answer to question ten of my Ten Terrifying Questions deserved a vehicle of its own. Well, here it is. I shall post the advice of three very different writers  every [mumble mumble]. Is that clear? Every [mumble mumble].

Bit of history: On March 1, 2010 I posted the first of the Ten Terrifying Questions author interviews. Since that date I have posted over 200 interviews with authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?


“Authors don’t earn much so it is a good idea to have a day job, preferably a lucrative one that does not take up a lot of your time. Like bank robbing, cat burgling or being a super model. (T.S. Eliot did all of these things).”

Read the full interview here

Click here to buy Nanny Piggins and the Pursuit of Justice from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop


Three things:

1. Read at the same level at which you hope to write.

2. Make writing a regular part of your daily routine—even just a tiny amount per day—so that it feels more natural to write than not to.

3. Be willing and unafraid to write badly, because often the bad stuff clears the way for good, or forms a base on which to build something better.

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Pulitzer Prize- winning A Visit From the Goon Squad from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop



I am constantly astounded by the number of young would-be writers who do not read.

They don’t have time, they tell me.

Bullshit, I reply.

If you can’t be bothered reading, do not bother trying to write. You’ll fail. “

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Angels of Vengeance from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

For more advice from published writers go here

R.A. Spratt, author of The Adventures of Nanny Piggins, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

R.A. Spratt

author of Nanny Piggins and the Accidental Blast-Off, Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion, Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan and The Adventures of Nanny Piggins

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Essex, UK. I was raised in Epping, Sydney. I went to school at Eastwood Public School and James Ruse Agricultural High.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve I wanted to be a brilliant research scientist. At eighteen I wanted to be a brilliant film director. And at thirty I wanted to write the greatest ever book about a flying pig who runs away from the circus to become a nanny.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That Pluto was a planet.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, the statue of David by Michelangelo and the Chocolate Orange by Terry’s. I know most people don’t think of chocolate as being art, but they really should.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I could do it while wearing ugg boots and not leaving the house.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel…

Nanny Piggins and the Accidental Blast-off is an exciting series of adventures in which Nanny Piggins saves the space program, rescues her brother from inadvertently becoming a professional wrestler, wins a television cooking show, fights to clear her name after being caught stealing the Great Mumbai diamond and, hardest of all, has to help her boss, Mr Green win his company’s ‘Father of the Year’ competition. A title he in no way deserves.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

Abdominal muscle tears from so much laughing. An annoying habit of quoting Nanny Piggins’ words of wisdom. And a burning desire to buy my next book.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Roald Dahl. He ate a chocolate bar after every meal.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

To pay the rent. (This might not sound ambitious but you should see my house).

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Authors don’t earn much so it is a good idea to have a day job, preferably a lucrative one that does not take up a lot of your time. Like bank robbing, cat burgling or being a super model. (T.S. Eliot did all of these things).

R.A. Spratt, thank you for playing.

R.A.Spratt is an award-winning comedy writer with twelve years experience in the television industry. She started out writing political satire, then moved into sketch comedy, then pre-school drama and in more recent years has worked mainly in animation. R.A. Spratt lives in Sydney. She used to enjoy bellringing, hapkido and long distance running. But then she had a baby and got a book deal and has rarely left the house since. She has three published books The Adventures of Nanny Piggins , Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan, and Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion. Her fourth book Nanny Piggins and the Accidental Blast-Off is coming out in January 2011 and is currently working on the 5th and 6th installments in the series.


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