As Nice As Pie – Review & Meet The Author

April 2, 2017


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.


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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 responses to “As Nice As Pie – Review & Meet The Author”

  1. Tracy Nixon says:

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

  2. Tracy Hanley says:

    I loved the topsy and tim books

  3. stuart hargreaves says:


  4. Kerry Taylor says:

    I loved Peter Pan!

    And the Brambly Hedge books – the illustrations were beautiful!

  5. Anthony Harrington says:

    mine was The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

  6. Heather Keet says:

    What a great gift for my nieces! #DreamTeam

  7. 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

    • Gary Sheppard says:

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

  8. 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

  9. Pam lorimer says:

    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

  10. Mrs Lighty says:

    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

  11. Kimberly says:

    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

  12. Aleena Brown says:

    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

  13. 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

  14. The illustrations look lovely too. What a cute book! #DreamTeam

    • Gary Sheppard says:

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

  15. Jo Carroll says:

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

  16. sweet book! Looks like Little Button is loving it 🙂


  17. Ooh, my daughter LOVES birds so this might be right up her street. Interesting to hear from the author too! #DreamTeam

  18. I still have all my CS Lewis Narnia books and Roald Dahl books from my childhood, lovely to share with my own kids #dreamteam

  19. I loved Peter Pan! Definitely adding this to our huge collection of books!

  20. amy bondoc says:

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

  21. Lucy At Home says:

    I loved The Magic Faraway Tree when I was little, also Winnie the Pooh and Peter Rabbit #dreamteam

  22. This looks absolutely darling! I am in the states, so I am unsure if I can win the contest but I did some entries anyways. Good luck everyone! #DreamTeam

  23. Nige says:

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

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

  25. Jeannette says:

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

  26. Wow – love reading info from authors. Probably as I have it in mind somewhere.. #bigpinklink

  27. Chloe Wood says:

    Ah this looks fab! #DreamTeam

  28. ohmummymia says:

    Sounds like o lovely book! I didn’t know that author-shame

  29. Surrey Mama says:

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

  30. This sounds like something I’d enjoy! Love the interview with Gary, I’d love to be a children’s author, so great to read his perspective! #DreamTeam

    • Gary Sheppard says:

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

  31. 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

    • Gary Sheppard says:

      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 🙂

  32. Jane Taylor says:

    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.

  33. What a sweet little book! #dreamteam

  34. Chloe says:

    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

  35. RawMum says:

    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!

    • Gary Sheppard says:

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

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

  37. What a cute book. The illustration is so bright and happy.

  38. Nat says:

    I love the sound of this book, and the illustrations look fab. There’s nothing like a children’s book that you as a parent actually enjoy reading, again and again! It’s interesting to hear about the author’s journey as well. Very honest, which is brilliant!

    • Gary Sheppard says:

      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 🙂

  39. Nat says:

    Oops sorry, forgot to add I popped over from #dreamteam

  40. Aww lovely. My fav book was burglar bill #dreamteam

  41. Nicola says:

    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 says:

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

  42. Nicola says:

    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!

  43. 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

  44. Solange says:

    Tiptoes The Mischievous Kitten

  45. Jo Hutchinson says:

    I always loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar

  46. That looks like a really cute book. We love to read! #DreamTeam

  47. 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

    • Gary Sheppard says:

      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 🙂

  48. Jaki says:

    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!


  49. 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 says:

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

  50. Helena says:

    Great to read words of encouragement and more from a writer. #DreamTeam

    • Gary Sheppard says:

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

  51. Victoria N says:

    The Very hungry caterpillar was my favourite!

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

  53. emma walters says:

    i loved my victoria plum book

  54. Lorraine Stone says:

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

  55. Zoe F. says:

    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 🙂

  56. Katie Skeoch says:

    My Winnie the witch books!

  57. Lisa Wilkinson says:

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

  58. Sarah Ann says:

    I used to love the Enid Blyton Famous Five books.

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

  60. Rich Tyler says:

    The MEG & MOG Books

  61. Diana says:

    Alice in Wonderland : )

  62. Katy Malkin says:

    Watership down and the Famous Five. Always loved reading.

  63. ellie spider says:

    I was a huge fan of Roald Dahl growing up 🙂

    Lovely article and hope the book does well it sounds lovely

  64. Andrew Hindley says:

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

  65. Emma Davison says:

    The famous five books

  66. Lynsey Buchanan says:

    The Magic Faraway Tree

  67. pauline black says:

    I loved the Narnia collection by C S Lewis.

  68. Tee simpson says:

    Spot was my fave

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