How author Aaron Blabey found happiness through greedy and selfish Pig the Pug
Aaron Blabey is ruminating on the problems with exploding belly buttons. And kids whose heads fall off when they whinge too much.
He’s explaining how those themes might be a touch dark for some publishers.
I’m barely blinking by this stage, however, as we’ve already mulled over a pug named Pig who is mean and nasty (not to mention a money spinner) in most every way. And how a unicorn called Thelma, who is actually a Shetland pony in disguise, has struggled with the trappings and artifice of fame.
In the world of Aaron Blabey, it all makes perfect sense.
Almost overnight, the Australian writer and artist is a riotously successful children’s book author. But success has been a long time coming. His is a story of a creative talent who spent 15 sometimes miserable years finding the right outlet to express himself.
A talented artist as a child, he stopped painting because others were better than him. A successful actor, he hated acting. And a career as an advertising writer left him so unhappy he would sit in tears under “the sobbing tree”, as he called it, near his Sydney office.
Now 42, Blabey is savouring the runaway success of two children’s book series. He’s been awarded a Book of the Year Award by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and a NSW Premiers Literary Award for Children’s Literature. His stint at the recent Sydney Writers Festival was a sellout.
Young readers can’t get enough of his Bad Guys books, a comic strip based series about a group of misunderstood man eaters, led by Mr Wolf who tries to convince his pals – Mr Snake, Mr Shark and Mr Piranha, no less – that instead of being killing machines, they should work for the forces of good.
Pig the Pug, on the other hand, is the story of a horrible hound who relentlessly terrorises his pal, a sausage dog named Trevor, stopping only when karma, in the form of a bowling ball or a tumbling from a window, catches up with him.
Arranging lunch, Blabey cuts to the chase. He’s in “deadline hell” and can’t take a day to come to Sydney.
“I have 15 new books slated for release between now and the end of 2018 so I’m running wildly beyond capacity,” he tells me. So we’ve arranged to meet at Sanwiye Korean restaurant in Katoomba.
“I go there most days and order exactly the same thing so that I don’t have to expend thought on what I’m going to eat,” he confesses.
Oddly enough, the staff are relieved to see him.
“I was in here literally every day for a year but a month ago I stopped because I just had too much work and I’ve not been able to stop for lunch,” he says. “I came in this morning to tell them