Interview with Local Children's Author Sam Copeland

Interview with Local Children's Author Sam Copeland

 Award-winning author of bestselling children's books, Sam Copeland hails from Manchester and now lives in Ealing, with his wife, three children and two cats. Sam's new book "Alex vs Axel" kicks off a hilarious identity-swapping series which has been picked as Waterstones Children's Book of the Month for May.

Illustrated by the talented Dotty Sutton, this book is an absolute delight for readers aged eight and up.

Congratulations on your book being selected as Waterstones children's book of the month for May! How does it feel to receive this recognition?
It's a dream come true! All an author ever wants is to see your book out there, and to have readers. so seeing great piles of your book in every bookshop is amazing.

What inspired the premise of Alex vs Axel?
It was inspired by some of my favourite books from the past such as The Neverending Story. I was always fascinated by books where a normal child was transplanted to a fantastical place, but then I wondered what it would be like if a ludicrous hero figure was also transplanted to our world.

Can you tell us more about the world-building process for Aërth and how you collaborated with illustrator Dotty Sutton to bring it to life?
All my previous books have been set in our world, so creating a whole different world was both challenging and liberating. It allows total freedom of the imagination, and that is a real pleasure for an author. Dotty then created images based on what I have written and she has absolutely nailed it. Her images are stunning.

In Alex vs Axel, both Alex and Axel face daunting challenges in their respective worlds. how did you approach balancing the fantastical elements with the everyday struggles that young readers can relate to?
Throughout all my books, children are facing all sorts of struggles. that’s because when I was a child, I faced a lot of big problems, and I felt very alone with them. I wanted to show children who read my books that they aren’t alone. That it takes real bravery to face up to those type of problems – we are all fighting metaphorical dragons.

Your previous works, such as the Charlie changes into a chicken series, have been highly acclaimed for their humour and imagination. how does Alex vs Axel fit into your broader body of work, and what sets it apart from your other books?
I think the same vein of humour runs through all my books. I start off with characters:  a friendship group that I care about, that I would want to be friends with. And then I insert those characters in extraordinary situations. I think I have done that in Alex vs Axel – but this time I have monsters. And ludicrous armour.

Are there any particular events or promotions planned to coincide with your book being chosen as book of the month?
Yes – I am doing a big tour! I am visiting lots of schools across the country and will be signing copies across loads of shops including many in London.