Sally Rippin - author of Polly & Buster

Author Q&As

Tell us about your book – what inspired you to write it?

Polly and Buster is the story of the friendship between a wayward witch and a feelings monster in a world where witches and monsters don’t mix. In a way it was written to try to help explain segregation to children and how quickly the fear of the unknown can be escalated to create hatred of the other. We try to teach our children to be fair and kind and to treat everyone equally, yet when they look at the most influential players on our world stage, they see everything but this playing out. I hope this series might show them that strength can be found in friendship and through kindness in what might otherwise seem a fairly dark and depressing world right now. 


If you could live as one of your characters for a day – which one would you choose and why?

Well, I pretty much live all my characters as I am writing them – they become so real to me, and most of them are a mix of me and the people around me anyway, but I’d be pretty happy if I was ever offered a ride on a broomstick or suddenly woke up with the ability to cast spells – so I’d have to go with Polly or Miss Spinnaker.


Which book would you want to read again for the first time?

Sally: Oh gosh, I’m not sure. A book seems to capture a moment in time for me and if it arrives just as I need it, it stays with me forever. Other great books I’m sure I’ve delved into at the wrong time and never even been able to finish them. I rarely go back and read a book a second time. There are too many new ones I want to discover!


What was your favourite book as a child?

Charlotte’s Web was the first book that moved me to tears and showed me how the act of reading could become a true act of empathy.


We know you are a talented writer, do you have any hidden talents?

I illustrate the Polly and Buster series as well, but you probably already knew that. I can speak French and Chinese – does count as a 'talent’? I’m not sure. I kind of think a talent is perhaps something that comes naturally to you. Most things I have to work pretty hard at to be any good at them.

Can you tell us what you are working on now?

Sally: The third book in the Polly and Buster series. The second one has just gone off to print and is due out in June. I love these guys so much. I don’t know how I will ever say goodbye to them!