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Posted 1 March at 11:22 am in authors, interviews, news
It takes a team to make a Tamarind book. In this feature you’ll get to know more about the people involved in making the books happen. This month we’re chatting with picture book writer Odette Elliott.  

Which books have you had published?
My Big Brother JJ (Tamarind)

Under Sammy’s Bed
Sammy Goes Flying
Sammy and the Telly
Sammy’s Christmas Workshop
Nightingale News – Five Stories About Our School
, Hippo School stories

I was inspired by things my daughter told me.  She was teaching in Tower Hamlets at the time I wrote these school stories.

What inspired you to write My Big Brother JJ?
It was based on my son’s friend Darren.  He often looked after his little sister when he was a teenager.  Now he is a father and it was lovely giving his daughters a copy of the book.  His eight year-old daughter read it aloud quite beautifully. (Darren pretended to be shocked when the book says “JJ said some horrid horrid words”.  He said HE didn’t do that kind of thing!)

My 12 year old granddaughter chose the name Jasmine for the little sister in My Big Brother JJ.  I try picture book stories out on my 5 year old grandson in particular.  

What you’d be if you weren’t a writer?
I have always had to do a ‘day job’.  I used to write in the lunch hours and in the evenings when I got home.  Now I am retired so I can spend more time writing.

What are your hobbies?
Travelling and camping in France (in sunny, dry weather!), walking in Scotland, gardening, dancing with Sadler’s Wells’ Company of Elders and spending time with my four grandchildren aged 12, 5, 3 and 1.

What are you reading at the moment?
The Boy with the Top Knot by Sathnam Sanghera (an autobiography)
Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls (a truly wonderful book)
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (because I am curious to know why teenagers like that series so much)
Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

What’s your favourite Tamarind book and why?
The biography Malorie Blackman.  I admire her and love her writing. I am especially fond of Benjamin Zephaniah’s poetry, so I look forward to reading his biography too.

If you’d like to book Odette for an author signing, reading or talk with questions and answers about picture books in your primary school or library, please contact Kelly Tapper in our publicity team on ktapper@randomhouse.co.uk or 020 8231 6648. 


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