Michelle grew up in Gloucestershire. Before she started writing funny stories for children, Michelle wrote copy and devised websites for some of the world's biggest brands. She always dreamed of becoming an author like her hero, Roald Dahl. She shares his birthday and his love of chocolate, but she is much, much shorter. Michelle lives in Frome with her husband and young son and daughter.
BWB: What gave you the idea to write A Beginners Guide to Bear Spotting?
MR: Walking in the woods in Canada. Various family members gave us conflicting advice on what to do if we encountered a bear. For example, "Don't use soap or perfume, bears are attracted to it" versus "Do wear perfume, they'll realise you're human and stay away". Or "Wear something bright so you don't get shot by a hunter" versus "If you wear something bright the bears will spot you and attack." There were so many of these crazy tips that by the time we went to the woods we were convinced of our own doom. Thankfully we didn't have to put our muddled knowledge to the test.
BWB: David Roberts is renowned for illustrating fantastic bears. Was he your personal choice to illustrate A Beginners Guide to Bear Spotting?
MR: David Roberts is renowned for illustrating fantastic *everything*. I've been a fan since forever and I couldn't believe it when I heard he would be illustrating my story. I still can't quite believe it, actually.
BWB: Who is your favourite fictional bear?
MR: Winnie the Pooh. I love the pairing of A.A. Milne's voice and E.H. Shepard's drawings. The humour and tenderness that runs through their books is exquisite.
BWB: Why do you think bears are such a popular animal in the picture book world?
MR: I really don't know why it should be that bears have such timeless appeal. It's not as though bear is a man's best friend, after all. And as you'll find out in 'A Beginner's Guide to Bear Spotting', real bears certainly aren't as cuddly as the stuffed variety. I wonder why bears are the go-to stuffed animal? If someone had thought to create a different soft toy all those years ago, might this blog post be about the enduring appeal of the gnu? The mind boggles.
BWB: Any plans to work with David again?
MR: Happily, yes! A follow up to Bear Spotting is on the way - and I still can't quite believe my luck.
Huge bear cuddles to the fantastic, Michelle, for taking part in my Q&A and being super generous for offering a personally signed copy of A Beginners Guide to Bear Spotting to one lucky tweeter! If you want to enter visit twitter here and RT and follow. To find out loads more about Michelle and her amazing work, visit her website here. A Beginners Guide to Bear Spotting to available to buy now in all good bookshops and on the Bloomsbury website.