A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Book Birthday Interview – Nikki Sheehan interviews Elli Woollard for Swashbuckle Lil and the Jewel Thief


Lil is a pirate, a good sort of pirate, and when there is someone to save, 
she’ll do what is right (if it takes her all night). Yes, she’ll always be bold and be brave.

On a trip to the museum, evil pirate Stinkbeard tries to steal an old king’s ruby ring, and it’s up to schoolgirl and secret pirate, Lil, to stop him! In story two, Lil and her pet parrot are off to a birthday party. But when Stinkbeard and his pet croc turn up, it’s up to Lil to save the day.


Happy book birthday, Elli!

This is the second book in your new series, following on from Swashbuckle Lil: The Secret Pirate, which is set at Lil’s school, and you’re still rhyming like a DEMON! Have you always had this affliction? And if you can answer this in rhyme you get extra points)

The wicked fairy muttered as she fluttered through the sky:

‘What spiteful spells, what chilling charms, what witchcraft can I try?

I’ve done the Sleeping Beauty thing, but that one proved a joke.

All it took to break the charm was some besotted bloke.

I’ve thought to thwart the love life of that horrid little Cinder.

But balls, she says, are so last year   – she’s met some guy off Tinder.

I used to play the stepmother and gaze at my reflection.

But now I’m using Instagram my image is perfection.

And so with this young Elli brat I need another curse.

Aha! I think I’ve got it ; she shall always think in verse!’

Um, does that answer your question?

DEFINITELY! So how does this magic happen? Do you write the story out in prose first?

I generally sketch out the story first, either just in my head or on paper, but all the real writing is done in verse. Once I’m in verse mode my brain can struggle a bit to think in prose!

screenshot-2017-02-08-11-38-23I love Laura Ellen Anderson’s illustrations!

Isn’t she AMAZING? And what’s more, Laura’s nickname is Lil! I met her after we’d started on the first Swashbuckle Lil book, but I’d seen and admired her work for a long time before that. I was soooo excited when my editor told me who my illustrator was going to be! I think she’s captured the book perfectly. Also she’s got the most amazing hair I’ve ever seen, and I’ve got serious hair envy.

Who is the inspriration behind Lil?

I think she’s the naughty little girl I always secretly wanted to be! I was a right little goody-twoshoes at primary school, with vomit-inducingly good behaviour (until my teenage years. Ha ha!), but there was always part of me that envied my mischievous friends. I hated getting told off, but I could see that they had a lot of fun!

I love Stinkbeard. I particularly loved that even his footsteps smell. Who’s your favourite book baddie?

Oo, that’s a hard one! Roald Dahl is of course the master of baddies (you may notice that Stinkbeard bears some resemblance to Mr Twit), but I think I might have to say Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum, because he’s so brilliantly funny.

Thanks, Elli! Enjoy your day!

elli-013At the age of four Elli wrote her first picture book, involving her best friend, a tricycle accident, blood everywhere, and the author emerging as the hero. Several years later she completed an MA in social anthropology, moved out to Thailand, taught herself the language, and has since worked variously as a Thai to English translator, a copywriter for a domestic appliance insurance firm (about as interesting as it sounds) and an assistant editor in academic publishing. Continue reading… Books: WOOZY THE WIZARD: A SPELL TO GET WELL | WOOZY THE WIZARD: A BROOM TO GO ZOOM | SWASHBUCKLE LIL: THE SECRET PIRATE | THE GIANT OF JUM | THE DRAGON AND THE NIBBLESOME KNIGHT

NS2aNikki Sheehan

Nikki Sheehan is the youngest daughter of a rocket scientist and went to a convent school in Cambridge where she was taught by real nuns in habits. Her writing was first published when she was seven and her teacher sent a poem she had written into a magazine. She always knew she wanted to be a writer, but, for some reason she can’t remember she did a degree in linguistics followed by psychology. Nikki’s first job was subtitling the Simpsons. She then retrained as a journalist and wrote features about child psychology for parenting magazines and the national press. Continue reading…




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 9, 2017 by .
%d bloggers like this: