As a child, Pamela was lucky enough to grow up in a house full of pets and go to a primary school where lots of spooky and weird things happened (well, in her imagination at least). As a student, Pamela's jobs included: fishwife, teaching basketball in America, phlebotomist and Artist Liaison for a (really bad) Abba tribute band. Now, when she's not writing or going out and about meeting readers, Pamela teaches philosophy to teenagers.
Her top selling stories include The Spy Who Loved School Dinners which won the Blue Peter Best Story Award and My Head Teacher is a Vampire Rat which won The Children's Book Award. Two of her books, Petunia Peri and There's a Werewolf in My Tent, were shortlisted for the Lollies - the Laugh Out Loud Awards.
Pamela lives in Dundee with her baby boy and their two awesome cats, Bear and Carlos. If she wasn't working as a writer and a teacher she'd like to open a luxury hotel for stray cats. Image by Chris Close
There's a Beast in the Basement (Baby Aliens series) (Nosy Crow Books)
Bestselling author Pamela Butchart tells us about the brilliant new addition to her 'Baby Aliens' series, There's a Beast in the Basement! Watch out for a scary creature in the basement, a creepy treasure hunt, and further chaos from Izzy and her friends.... Pamela Butchart tells us more!
Read a chapter from There's a Beast in the Basement
Q&A with Pamela Butchart
1. What happens in Izzy's latest school adventure, There's a Beast in the Basement?
Izzy and her friends suspect that there might be TREASURE in the school basement.
But then they hear WEIRD NOISES coming from down there.
So they send Zach's cat down with a camera strapped to her head and study the footage carefully. What they see is SHOCKING and CHANGES EVERYTHING. It's not treasure in the basement, it's a BEAST with SHINING EYES and it's coming to get them!
2. Why do you enjoy writing stories set in school?
I love writing about the chaos of primary school! I've spent my whole life in schools. My memories of primary school are particularly strong, so that comes in handy.
3. And what draws you back to writing about Izzy and her friends?
Izzy does. Her voice landed in my head ten years ago while marking pupils work in the library and I've never been able to shake it (thankfully!).
4. Was there a real life incident that helped inspire your latest story about a creature in the school's basement....?
I recently took over a shop where I live in Broughty Ferry and turned it into a creepy antique shop / my new writing den. I was told there was no basement. So I ripped the place back to the original Victorian shell and found… (can you guess?!) a hidden, forgotten basement! It was super-creepy and a big surprise!
5. What's the funniest / scariest thing that ever happened to you at school?
When my bum got splashed by the toilet and I knew it was the TOILET GHOST!!
6. Which of your characters are you most like?
Jodi. Definitely. 😂
7. The illustrations by Thomas Flintham are fabulous; which character's illustration is most like that character in your head?
8. What's the strangest question you've ever been asked about your books?
If I had to eat one which one would it be?
Only joking 😂 Although the answer would be There's A Werewolf in My Tent. It looks delicious!
9. Which of Izzy's adventures so far was your favourite to write? Do the stories make you laugh out loud as you write?
I love it when Izzy does a retelling. Writing Too Wee Or Not To Wee was definitely the most fun I've had writing.
The BBC asked me to do a retelling of Macbeth for BBC Schools and I enjoyed it so much that my publisher asked me to do a whole book of Shakespeare retellings! It was great find Shakespeare is full of chaos and jealousy and revenge. Just like primary school.
10. What have you got planned next for Izzy and her friends?
There might be a train…
11. Where and when do you prefer to write? (you promised to tell us a secret the last time we asked!!)
Duh, DUH, DUH. I now use my creepy old antique shop full of old toys and scary paintings as my writing den. I love it! It's very atmospheric. The books might get even creepier. Come visit me!
(Editor.... We'd love to!)
12. Computer aside, what is always on your desk when you're writing?
Pen and notepad
My Ice cream scoop
A light-up tortoise
A photo of my wee boy
Sometimes my cats
13. What are your favourite things to do when you're not at your desk?
Go on adventures with my wee boy.
Hunt for creepy old antiques (I recently found a very creepy and awesome old Victorian doll's head…I might need to put that in a book!)
- There's a Beast in the Basement!
- The Secret School Invasion
- A Monster Ate My Packed Lunch!
- Wigglesbottom Primary: Dino Chick
- The Broken Leg of Doom
- Icarus Was Ridiculous
- There's A Yeti In The Playground!
- The Phantom Lollipop Man
- Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon
- Wigglesbottom Primary: The Shark in the Pool
- Baby Aliens Got My Teacher