As Nice As Pie – Review & Meet The Author

 

It’s not every day that you get the chance to interview an author who is ‘as nice’ as their book. Not only has Gary Sheppard, author of ‘As Nice As Pie’ shared some brilliant writing tips and answered very important questions like ‘Mermaid or Unicorn?’ – what a sport, but he’s also got 3 copies of his debut book, published by Maverick Books, to give away. Thank you Gary!

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

 

As Nice As Pie – Review

I have been so excited to share this book with you because apart from loving it myself, it’s become Little Buttons favourite book on our shelves. She loves stories and can suss out a dud from a star read in less than a page, so getting 10/10, as well as prime position as her go-to bedtime story is serious business. I just hope I can do it justice.

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

As Nice As Pie is a cleverly crafted piece of rhyme that takes us on a witty and somewhat cheeky journey of Mavis Manewaring. Everyone’s favourite Grandma.

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

She’s a charming character, whose kindness is very quickly taken advantage of by a coven of birds who become greedier and more demanding each day.

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

Run off her feet, Mavis is soon cooking up a storm for her new friends who feast daily on anything from posh pastries to bacon in baps with not a thank you or kind word to be heard.

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

At the end of her tether, poor old Mavis has enough of the sassy birds, and cooks up a naughty plan that had us all shrieking and hooting with laughter!

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

Gary Sheppard has absolutely nailed it with ‘As Nice As Pie’. His voice is fresh and this hilarious story not only thoroughly entertains, but also delivers that age-old message of being kind and working together as a team.

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

We Loved It!

We cannot recommend this book enough, and as I mentioned before, Little Button gives As Nice As Pie a huge thumbs up and 10/10. She actually wanted me to tell you all 100/10 because that’s how much she loved it. She also wanted me to ask Gary when his next book would be out, because she can’t wait to read it!

 

 

An Interview with Author Gary Sheppard

I love finding out a bit more about my favourite children’s authors, somehow it makes their stories all the more fascinating. Gary has been such a sport answering these.

 

Just for fun, tell us which you prefer in these quick-fire questions. Here’s how Gary got on.

 

Tea or Coffee? Coffee, although I’ll quite often have green tea!

Cake or Biscuits? Biscuits!

Cats or Dogs? Dogs

Lefty or Righty? Lefty

Early bird or Night owl? Both!

Pencil or Pen? Pen

Notebook or screen? Notebook

Beach hut or Log cabin? Log cabin

Unicorns of Mermaids? Mermaids

 

Oh yes, I completely get what Gary means about being an early bird and a night owl. There is just never enough time in the day when you have a something to write.

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

1. How did you first get into writing and have you always wanted to be an author?

I’ve always loved writing, right back to when I was at school and used to write epic adventures,  although they wouldn’t ever get finished as I’d run out of time!  It was only when I was about 30 that the idea of putting that love of words into kid’s books was realised. I came up with a title for a book (Iznot’s Fair) and it piqued my interest and imagination enough for me to write the book. It’s never been submitted for publication, but I owe a lot to that story!

 

2. We know that your inspiration for As Nice As Pie came from a chance sighting of a bird pecking away at some bread outside your window. Once you get an idea for a story, how do you take it forwards and is there a certain point that makes you think ‘yes, this is going to be a hit’?

That’s a great question, but it really does depend!  I’ve had ideas that have excited me and the ideas have flowed freely initially but have then dried up equally as quickly!  It’s similar to music in that respect, in that sometimes the songs you like instantly are the ones that soon start to lose their attraction. It’s often the slowburners that form and take shape over time that are those with enduring appeal. I have some story ideas from years ago that haven’t ever made it past the initial phase, but you never know, one day, out of the blue, that seed might turn into a fully grown story!

 

3. Before illustrator Tim Budgen got his hands on As Nice As Pie, did you already have an idea of how you saw the story coming alive through image? If so, did it go hand in hand as you were writing, or something that you thought about once the story was complete?

I can now only associate the story with Tim’s fantastic illustrations and can’t actually remember my own visions of it.  That said, I always wanted Mavis to come across like everyone’s favourite Gran, making it even more despicable that the birds would take advantage of her generosity (without giving too much away!). In terms of the overall look and feel, Ellie Brough at Maverick (the publisher) had the great idea of tapping into the success of The Great British Bake Off given the book’s cookery theme, resulting in the subtle vintage visual references.

 

5. What advice would you give to someone wanting to become a Children’s author?

Persevere. Persevere. Persevere! I have a spreadsheet of all the stories I’ve submitted over the years, and in one column is either the word ‘rejected’ or ‘accepted’. In all but one instance that word is ‘rejected’. But the entry that stands out the most?  The one that says ‘accepted’! If I’d taken all of those disappointments to heart, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the moment I finally became published. Just see each rejection as an opportunity to learn; a chance to improve.  Looking back on my early work,  it’s easy to see the improvement, and that’s come from seeking advice, requesting feedback, reading articles, and generally having the willingness to adapt. Be a sponge, not a rock.

 

As Nice A Pie, Gary Sheppard

 

 

Win Your Own Copy Of ‘As Nice A Pie’

Gary is giving away 3 copies of his debut children’s book As Nice A Pie. Enter your details below for a chance to win. Good luck!

If you can’t wait for the giveaway, you can snap up a copy here or here.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions

  • This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
  • There is no cash alternative offered.
  • The 3 winners will be drawn at random after the competition has closed and will be notified by email.

 

Find Out More About Gary Sheppard

You can find out more about children’s author Gary Sheppard by visiting his website and following him on Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

Disclosure: We were sent a copy of As Nice As Pie for the purpose of this review. All views are my own and I can say that we all LOVED IT!

 

 

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97 Comments

  1. Tracy Nixon
    April 3, 2017 / 10:54 am

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

  2. Tracy Hanley
    April 3, 2017 / 11:04 am

    I loved the topsy and tim books

  3. stuart hargreaves
    April 3, 2017 / 6:02 pm

    ANY OF THE BILLY BUNTER BOOKS

  4. Kerry Taylor
    April 3, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    I loved Peter Pan!

    And the Brambly Hedge books – the illustrations were beautiful!

  5. Anthony Harrington
    April 3, 2017 / 10:47 pm

    mine was The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:27 pm

      Thanks Heather! Best of luck in the giveaway!

  6. April 4, 2017 / 6:02 am

    I loved the book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs as a kid – I’ll never forget it. I love the bit about the spreadsheet with the ‘rejected’ and ‘accepted’ column – it’s important for us aspiring authors to remember that we’ll always get more rejections than acceptances, but those acceptances WILL come if you persevere. #DreamTeam
    Squirmy Popple recently posted…Why do British babies cry so much?My Profile

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:29 pm

      Thanks for the kind words SP! That one ‘accepted’ entry more than outweighs the ‘rejected’ ones. Best of luck with your own writing.

  7. April 4, 2017 / 6:04 am

    I literally loved all books! Anything that Rhymes always went down well and I when I was a bit older I loved all the Enid Blyton books. #DreamTeam
    Our Cherry Tree recently posted…Tales as Old as TimeMy Profile

  8. April 4, 2017 / 6:14 am

    Love hearing from authors and my kids are avid readers so alwasy nice to find a book thats recommended by other mums. Great post. #DreamTeam
    Pam lorimer recently posted…Mug CakesMy Profile

  9. April 4, 2017 / 7:00 am

    Love this review Annette! My favourite book as a child was Mog and the Baby, and my Mum presented me with my original copy at my babyshower! Such a lovely gift! #DreamTeam
    Mrs Lighty recently posted…Mrs Lighty’s Liked and Loved: March 2017My Profile

  10. April 4, 2017 / 7:44 am

    Really good advice from Gary. It’s the same in the TV industry, you have to be thick skinned, but learn from everything, be super nice and you will get there in the end with the right attitude! This was a lovely post with all the different elements, thanks Annette x #DreamTeam
    Kimberly recently posted…Have you got multiple screen-itis?My Profile

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      Thanks for the kind words kimberley. Definitely pays to persevere!

  11. April 4, 2017 / 8:08 am

    Gary really does sound like a lovely guy! Great interview, I’m looking forward to reading this with Amelia, sounds like exactly the kind of book she’d love xx #DreamTeam

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:41 pm

      Thanks Aleena! I can confirm that he is a lovely guy 😉 good luck in the giveaway. And even if you don’t win, I hope you and Amelia get to enjoy the book together.

  12. April 4, 2017 / 10:02 am

    Mine was Mucky Mabel, I still remember it word for word! I love this interview, I am in the longgggg process of bringing out my childrens book. We’ve had set back after set back but perseverance is key!! #dreamteam
    five little doves recently posted…Win a family pass to Geronimo Festival!My Profile

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:47 pm

      Thanks for the support! Perseverance is certainly key! Best of luck with your own book 🙂

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:49 pm

      Thanks Lucy! Yes, Tim did a fantastic job of the illustrations. I was very lucky the publisher chose him 🙂

  13. Jo Carroll
    April 4, 2017 / 11:25 am

    ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ was my favourite story because of all the wonderful characters it had in it.

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      Thx Kristin! Good luck in the giveaway 🙂

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:06 pm

      Thx Angela! With Chubby-cheeked crows and Potbellied Pigeons, your daughter would love this book!

  14. April 4, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    I loved Peter Pan! Definitely adding this to our huge collection of books!
    #dreamteam
    Mummy Snowy Owl recently posted…Book of the week!My Profile

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:57 pm

      Great to know ‘Pie’ will get to join your lovely collection of books 🙂

  15. amy bondoc
    April 4, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    i loved enid blyton books, the famous five, secret seven and the faraway tree books, stillhave them too!

  16. Nige
    April 4, 2017 / 3:53 pm

    This looks a fab book great interview and giveaway my girls would love this thanks for hosting #dreamteam

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 3:58 pm

      Thanks Nige! Best of luck!

  17. April 4, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    Oh this book looks fab 🙂 i have entered 🙂 #dreamteam xx

  18. April 4, 2017 / 4:13 pm

    I love rhyming books. They are super fun for little ones. #dreamteam

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:08 pm

      I love writing in rhyme so I hope you enjoy reading it just as much!

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 4:03 pm

      Glad you enjoyed ‘Rainbows’. Good luck!

  19. April 4, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    This looks a brilliant book, I love finding new books for my toddler. I loved the interview as well #dreamteam

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 4:05 pm

      Thx for your kind words! Hope you get to enjoy the book with your little one 🙂

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 4:11 pm

      Thanks MTM! Really glad you found the interview useful. You should definitely write your own book – nothing ventured, nothing gained 🙂

  20. April 4, 2017 / 10:49 pm

    This looks and sounds like a great book. With so many books out there for little ones, its always great to read a great review or recommendation for more. I love that you got to inteview the author too, such a treat 🙂 Emily #DreamTeam
    My Petit Canard recently posted…Marvellous Half Term Mondays!My Profile

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:11 pm

      I couldn’t have asked for a better review from Annette! I hope you agree with the review if you win the giveaway or buy it 🙂

  21. April 4, 2017 / 11:17 pm

    When I was little my favourite picture book was Raymond Briggs Father Christmas. When I was older, Charlotte’s web and Anne of green gables.

  22. April 5, 2017 / 6:59 am

    I do like a rhyming book and you both look like you really enjoyed it. Nice to have the interview as well. A great giveaway #dreamteam
    Chloe recently posted…Review of Twinings Mint Green TeaMy Profile

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:15 pm

      Cheers Chloe! I do love to write in rhyme and hope you enjoy the book if you get to read it!

  23. April 5, 2017 / 10:13 am

    Another book to add to the list once baby is here. Can’t wait to read all the stories and share some of my old favourites. Can’t beat the very hungry caterpillar!
    #dreamteam

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 6:03 pm

      Ah, thanks for the kind words. Amazing to think you’d like to read it to your baby! Best of luck with everything 🙂

  24. April 5, 2017 / 10:50 am

    That sounds like an awesome book. Is it available in South Africa do you know? Great interview questions btw.
    #dreamteam

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 6:08 pm

      Many thanks Anne! Good luck 🙂

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:18 pm

      Thanks for your kind words Nat. I hope you find the book to be one of the ones you love to read over and over 🙂

  25. April 5, 2017 / 8:46 pm

    I love the sound of this book – and his advice to keep trying and not dwell on rejection but learn from it is very wise! #Dreamteam

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:24 pm

      Thanks Nicola! It’s all too easy to give up. You get out what you put in. Good luck in the giveaway 🙂

  26. April 5, 2017 / 8:48 pm

    My favourite story book as a child was definitely Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree. I always wanted to go to The Land of Take what you want!
    Nicola recently posted…Mum’s Advice – A letter to my boyMy Profile

  27. April 5, 2017 / 9:49 pm

    The book looks like a brilliant read and the illustrations are fantastic!
    It’s easy to get disheartened when your writing isn’t as well received as you hope. Looking back at my earlier blog posts I can easily see ways they could be improved so that now shows me how much I’ve learned. It’s great to hear published authors feel this way too #dreamteam
    Becky – MommyandRory recently posted…Ways to Remember Your Baby’s 1st BirthdayMy Profile

  28. Solange
    April 6, 2017 / 2:07 am

    Tiptoes The Mischievous Kitten

  29. Jo Hutchinson
    April 6, 2017 / 2:34 pm

    I always loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar

  30. April 6, 2017 / 3:47 pm

    I adored a book called The Learning Tree. It was four different stories that loosely tied in with the seasons. Just gorgeous. We love a rhyming book and this looks like a great story! #DreamTeam x
    Rhyming with Wine recently posted…The Changing Room Incident…My Profile

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:56 pm

      There’s no wine in the book, but there’s definitely rhyme! Hope you consider ‘Pie’ to be another book you love if you get to read it 🙂

  31. April 6, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    This looks great. I think my Little Man would love it.

    I remember reading Meg and Mog books when I was little – then later on The Worst Witch and then The Witches by Roald Dahl – there appears to be a theme here!!! I had never noticed that before – how funny!

    #DreamTeam
    Jaki recently posted…Five Family Problems And What To Do About ThemMy Profile

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:50 pm

      Thanks Jaki! No witches in this one I’m afraid, but hope you and Little Man enjoy it 🙂

  32. April 7, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    This sounds like a pretty amazing book! I used to love Roald Dahl when I was younger! Good luck to the fellow entrants! #dreamteam

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:41 pm

      Thanks for the kind words! I would love to be as half as talented as Roald Dahl – a definite influence on me!

    • Gary Sheppard
      April 8, 2017 / 5:26 pm

      Thanks Helena, glad you enjoyed it. It was a pleasure to be asked to give an insight into the book 🙂

  33. Victoria N
    April 8, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    The Very hungry caterpillar was my favourite!

  34. April 10, 2017 / 10:15 am

    We love our books and I’m always keen to find new authors to try! Thanks for the tip! #DreamTeam

  35. emma walters
    April 10, 2017 / 4:49 pm

    i loved my victoria plum book

  36. Lorraine Stone
    April 10, 2017 / 6:48 pm

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Loved the film too with Gene Wilder.

  37. Zoe F.
    April 11, 2017 / 2:02 am

    Oh goodness, I spent a good 10 minutes frazzled because I had forgotten one of my all-time favourite children’s books! I adored Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy! It makes me laugh to recall it now, I loved the book so much and I would always read it in a ‘scruffy’ voice to my younger sister too. The nostalgia 🙂

  38. Katie Skeoch
    April 11, 2017 / 2:03 pm

    My Winnie the witch books!

  39. Lisa Wilkinson
    April 12, 2017 / 8:44 am

    There’s No Such Thing As A Dragon by Jack Kent

  40. Sarah Ann
    April 13, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    I used to love the Enid Blyton Famous Five books.

  41. April 13, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    Spot the Dog! It’s now my three year olds favourite too 🙂

  42. Rich Tyler
    April 13, 2017 / 10:34 pm

    The MEG & MOG Books

  43. Diana
    April 14, 2017 / 9:30 am

    Alice in Wonderland : )

  44. Katy Malkin
    April 15, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    Watership down and the Famous Five. Always loved reading.

  45. April 15, 2017 / 2:09 pm

    I was a huge fan of Roald Dahl growing up 🙂

    Lovely article and hope the book does well it sounds lovely

  46. Andrew Hindley
    April 15, 2017 / 3:23 pm

    The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis

  47. Emma Davison
    April 15, 2017 / 8:07 pm

    The famous five books

  48. Lynsey Buchanan
    April 16, 2017 / 1:41 am

    The Magic Faraway Tree

  49. pauline black
    April 16, 2017 / 4:41 am

    I loved the Narnia collection by C S Lewis.

  50. Tee simpson
    April 16, 2017 / 10:48 pm

    Spot was my fave

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