Gianna Pollero was born and raised in Kent but also spent a considerable amount of her childhood in northern Italy, where the majority of her family live.
She originally trained as a journalist and is currently a communications manager for a schools' academy trust in Kent. In 2017, she completed the Curtis Brown Online Writing for Children course. Monster Doughnuts is Gianna's debut novel.
Monster Doughnuts (Piccadilly Press)
Look out for monsters and doughnuts, plenty of giggles and bags of adventure in Gianna Pollero's first book for children.
Here, Gianna reads the beginning of Monster Doughnuts:
In this Q&A, Gianna tells us about writing Monster Doughnuts, and how the story was inspired by her daughter:
1. What brought you into writing for children, and what is your day job?
As a child, I loved reading and writing, particularly funny stories about ghosts, monsters and made up places. I have always wanted to write books that would make children laugh and I wrote several stories for my own children before Monster Doughnuts - they have always been very honest with their feedback (good and bad!) which has been hugely helpful.
For my day job, I work as a Communications Manager for a Trust of nine schools in Kent, and I have been lucky enough to do some writing workshops with some of the pupils - great practice!
2. Doughnut-eating monsters? Do tell us more about your new book, Monster Doughnuts!
Monster Doughnuts is about ten-year-old Grace and her older sister, Danni, who come from a long line of monster hunters. With their parents missing, the girls are left running the family bakery - a cover for their vital monster-hunting work. When they meet the grumpy, ruthless, doughnut-loving cyclops, Mr Harris, they are faced with their biggest challenge yet - not only does he seem worryingly keen on eating the Prime Minister, he also has information about their missing parents.
3. What inspired the story?
The story was inspired by my daughter, Sophia, who came home from school one day and told me she had come up with a great idea for a character who I had to write a book about. She told me all about Mr Harris and, a couple of months later, Monster Doughnuts was born! Grace from my book is loosely based on my daughter - they're both kind, brave and feisty.
4. There are a lot of monsters in this book - which one did you enjoy finding out about the most, and which one scared you the most?
I loved creating all the monsters, from Sock Stealers to Tripper Uppers, but my favourite will always be Mr Harris himself. He is terribly rude, has a bit of a habit of eating people with very little warning and he smells, but he's very lovable and I am incredibly fond of him. In this book, Mr Harris's evil grandfather, Neville, definitely scared me the most. He's horrible!
Meet the 'Sock Stealers' and Mr Harris, two of the monsters from Monster Doughnuts, illus by Sarah Horne
5. Can you tell us a bit about Monster World? Which shop would you visit - if you had to...
Oh I would LOVE to go to Monster World! I'd very much like to visit their fast-food restaurant Burger Thing although I'm not sure I'd want to eat anything on the menu!
6. The illustrations by Sarah Horne are great - do you have a favourite?
I absolutely love all of Sarah's illustrations - she somehow got a glimpse into my imagination and drew everything from the story perfectly. It's so hard to choose just one favourite but, if I had to, it would be the drawing of the bakery, Cake Hunters, near the start of the book. She has captured it perfectly and I could look at that drawing all day.
7. We love your monster-fighting scenes, but did you ever feel sad about killing off monsters?
I generally only kill off the bad ones so I don't feel too sad about doing that! Maybe I'm a monster hunter at heart too?!
9. And why are doughnuts and pastries your monster-fighting weapon of choice?
I'm yet to find someone who doesn't like any type of doughnut, cake or pastry, so I figured that monsters are probably the same. And if you think about it, they're sneaky but effective weapons because they're irresistible! I have also always harboured a dream of owning my own bakery so it was a rather nice way of pretending that I do!
10. In fact there are a LOT of cakes in this story. What are the three cakes / pastries that you couldn't live without?
Only three? This is the hardest question ever. If I absolutely had to choose, I would say salted caramel buns, vanilla slices and lemon drizzle cake!
11. Will there be more Monster Doughnuts adventures?
I am delighted to say, yes, there will! My second book is out very early in 2022 and is called ‘Monster Doughnuts - Cyclops on a Mission'. The third book in the series will follow later in 2022. Hooray! I can't wait for everyone to read about more monster mischief.
12. Where and when do you write?
When I got my publishing deal, I bought myself a beautiful writing desk and I write all my books there. It's the perfect place for me to go into my little writing bubble and get lost in a world of monsters and cakes! I tend to write in the evenings, when I'm home from work and have got all my other home-related jobs out of the way. It's my favourite time of the day.
13. When you're not fighting monsters, what are your favourite things to do?
I think I'll leave the monster-fighting to Grace as she's very good at it! In my spare time, I love reading, writing new stories, spending time with my family and friends, cooking, gardening, walking, jogging, art and photography.