Unless you’ve been in outer space, and I’m sure a few astronauts are reading this, you know that the BAD GUYS chapter books are some of the most beloved and popular books for growing readers. Ever. We’re talking about a mega-fandom of 7- to 10-year-olds.
Today, I’m thrilled to share a recent interview with Bad Guys creator Aaron Blabey, author of Pig the Pug, Thelma the Unicorn, and a new book series coming September 5, 2023, called Cat on the Run.
AARON BLABEY is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with over 45 million books in print. He is the creator of three globally popular book series – The Bad Guys, Pig the Pug, and Thelma the Unicorn. His series The Bad Guys has spent well over 100 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list and was adapted into a thrilling animated movie by Dreamworks in 2022, on which Aaron served as an executive producer. Aaron’s books have won countless awards, including recognition from the REAL Awards, INDIE Book Awards, Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Australian Book Design Awards, and Children’s Peace Literature Awards.
Author Interview with Aaron Blabey
Question from Ellie, age 12: What prompted you to write about villains?
AARON: I like characters who are complicated, characters that have complicated emotions and motivations. It makes them much more interesting to me. Sometimes their behaviour might seem villainous, but that’s usually because they’re dealing with something in their life that they can’t quite control. I like characters who go on difficult life journeys. Except Pig the Pug. He’s just awful. But that’s what makes him funny – he just won’t learn his lessons.
Question from Owen, age 9: How did you come up with your characters’ personalities?
AARON: They’re often a lot like me. Or people I know. Or people I’ve met. Or people I’ve seen. It depends.
Question from Roy, age 8 (shown above): Which character did you come up with first? And which is your favorite?
AARON: On a single day, I invented Pig the Pug, Thelma the Unicorn, and all of the main Bad Guys. I know that sounds bananas, but it’s true.
Questions from Melissa Taylor, founder of Imagination Soup:
Melissa: Do you have a favorite book?
AARON: As a kid, I always loved Tintin and the Secret of the Unicorn. I loved the combination of genuine mystery, dry humour and propulsive action.
Melissa: Kids love your humor. Is that because you’re connected to your child self? Or is it a matter of putting yourself in the shoes of a kid when you’re writing?
AARON: I wrote my books, especially The Bad Guys, directly for my youngest son because I knew what would make him laugh. Happily, they seems to have made a lot of other kids laugh, too.
Melissa: Are your books getting banned? Anything you want to say about that?
AARON: Not that I know of…I’ve literally been too busy making them to notice. I’ve been making THREE graphic novels a year. That’s a LOT of work. Half the time, I can barely remember where I am…
Melissa: I love your sneakily complex main character in your new book, Cat on the Run. What was the inspiration behind this character?
AARON: I have always wanted to put a complicated female character absolutely front and centre. I have my female squad in The Bad Guys, but Cat On The Run has given me the chance to dedicate an entire series to a female character with messy foibles, remarkable strengths, complex emotions, and high-stakes motivations. I love her a lot.
Melissa: What do you hope readers take away from Cat on the Run?
AARON: I hope they have the most fun they’ve ever had with a book. Or at least as much fun as they’ve had with The Bad Guys. 🙂
Melissa: Thank you so much, Aaron!
Readers, if you don’t already own all of Aaron Blabey’s books, here are the links.