‘THE UPS AND DOWNS OF COMIC LOUIS'S LIFE MAKE FOR HIGHLY AMUSING READING.’ EVERYBODY LEARNS
When Louis’s parents are forced to swap roles there is total chaos. Dad serves up meals no one can eat, messes up all the laundry and worst of all, decides Louis is his new best friend. But you can’t hang out you’re your dad, can you? Louis decided dads just can’t be mums – but then he’s in for a huge surprise.
The latest hilarious instalment of Louis the Laugh’s best selling adventures.
‘In Louis Pete Johnson has created a boy who makes you laugh out loud.’ Sunday Times
‘Pete Johnson is an hilarious writer.’ The Mail on Sunday
PETE’S BLOG: MY BEST EVER LAUNCH
EARLY START . . .
Woken at five in the morning by a truly, ghastly din – three alarm clocks shrieking in unison.
But it had the desired effect – I leapt out of bed. And then I woke up really fast. After all, this was a special day. The launch of ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy,’ at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
I’d left home so early I had a carriage to myself most of the way to Sheffield. Now I could get used to that! Then I was met by Anna and David, from my esteemed publisher – Award - at the station on a very breezy day. Leaves rushed all around us as we were practically blown into The Crucible Theatre.
AT THE CRUCIBLE THEATRE . . .
Waiting in the foyer were the brilliant Jayne and Claire, from the School Library Service.
‘Are you ready for a very excited audience?’ asked Jayne.
‘Always,’ I replied.
I was miked up on the stage of The Crucible, famous, not least for its connection to snooker. It’s a perfect venue actually, large but somehow intimate and friendly at the same time.
Then I was escorted to the green room. I could hear the audience tumbling in while I paced around the room a bit. Yes, I still get nervous. But nerves can be your biggest ally – sending you extra energy – if you can control them.
Then I was led to the edge of the stage where I heard Jayne introducing me. Moments later, with everything feeling oddly unreal, I strode forward. There was such enthusiastic clapping my nerves melted away, even though a sly, little voice whispered in my ear. ‘You’d better not be an anti-climax after that welcome.’
MY PERFORMANCE . . .
And I was off. I’d been asked to talk about ‘The Ghost Dog,’ which some schools were using in the run-up to Halloween and ‘Traitor,’ which is a class reader in a number of Sheffield schools. So I spoke about them first,
Then I was on to ‘How to Train Your Parents,’ which got a huge cheer. And Louis the Laugh – its main character – who received an even louder cheer. I asked how many people had parents who could be a bit bossy sometimes. Just about every pupil put their hand up in the air, quite a number of teachers too!
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ . . .
After mentioning the next Louis book, ‘My Parents Are out of Control,’ which won a prize in Sheffield last year, it was on to the latest Louis, ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy.’
In this book Louis’s parents swap roles. And Louis’s dad starts his time in charge by stating it is time for Louis to tidy up his own room and then hands Louis a gift – his very own duster. When I asked the pupils how they would react to being given a duster their look of complete horror was wonderful to behold.
Louis’s ambition is to be a comedian and ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy’ is full of jokes. A surprising number of pupils wanted to be comedians too and had a go at telling some of Louis’s jokes. This was a real highlight.
They were a wonderful audience for the extracts I read out too. It’s always tricky knowing which parts to choose. My rule is to try and avoid anything that needs too much exposition. I am always looking for scenes which stand up by themselves.
After this came a super question and answer session. One boy asked me who had first inspired me to become a writer. When I mentioned Dodie Smith, the author of ‘101 Dalmatians,’ my favourite book from childhood, a girl jumped up excitedly and told me she had just started reading that very book.
SIGNING AND SELFIES . . .
Then came a marathon book signing. Gemma Books had provided a marvellous bookshop and the queue stretched right across the theatre, but everyone was very good-humoured. Award had produced bright, stylish bookmarks to give away to every pupil. There were also the now inevitable selfies. I’ve decided I much prefer being photographed from a distance, as I definitely look better that way.
I’ve promised to keep in contact with all the schools. (‘You’re going to be busy,’ murmured Claire) ‘I just want to keep this good vibe going,’ said one teacher.
It was a fabulous event – my best ever launch.
Returning to Sheffield really was like coming home.
MASSIVE CHEER FOR:
YOU MADE THE LAUNCH SO SPECIAL
‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’
Pete answers your questions about Louis, ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy, and what exciting thing happened when he was cleaning his teeth . . .
With special thanks to the pupils of Sheldon School, Chippenham.
Gabrielle, St Albans: ‘Is Louis based on you?’
Pete: ‘The bad, annoying bits certainly are. Like Louis, I always have a lot to say for myself. But Louis is much braver than me – notably daring to be a stand-up comedian.’
Shone, Chippenham: ‘I am one of your fans from Sheldon School and I have read some of your books such as, ‘The Bad Spy’s Guide’ and ‘How to Get Famous.’ Your books really make me laugh but is it hard being funny?’
Pete: ‘Yes – and very scary. That’s why for the first draft of a story I never try and be funny. I picture all the situations and try and hear the character’s voice in my head as vividly as possible. That’s the key for me.’
Adam, Sheffield: ‘Louis is my all-time favourite character. Tell us something we don’t know about ‘My Parents Are Driving me Crazy.’
Pete: ‘Okay – it has one of my funniest and most disgusting scenes ever. This is when Louis reaches the final of a talent show. Only when he wakes up he has this vile vomiting bug. He should have stayed at home with his head in a bucket but instead he staggers to the final and then … Well read on.’
Hannah, Berkhampstead: ‘Is it true you got an idea for a horror book while you were cleaning your teeth? ‘
Pete: ‘It really is. I had the beginnings of an idea for a book called ‘The Creeper,’ but not enough to make it really fly. I was thinking and thinking, then while I was cleaning my teeth – Eureka – a great plot twist just flew into my head. With my mouth still full of toothpaste I started writing my idea down. It was so exciting.’
Will, Chippenham: ‘I read, but I do not read enough. What books of yours should I start with?’
Pete: ‘I would suggest starting with ‘How to Train Your Parents,’ then going on to ‘My Parents are Driving Me Crazy.’ Those are two of my very best funny books. Then for a contrast how about a spooky tale, ‘The Ghost Dog,’ and a thriller about bullying and a girl gang called, ‘Traitor.’
Kirstin: ‘I read that you start writing early in the morning. Is it hard being funny then?’
Pete: ‘It’s hard being funny anytime! But, I like to write for an hour before breakfast. It’s so quiet and peaceful and unspoilt then – and I can lose myself in my new story.’
‘HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS’ AND ‘MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL’ have now been translated into twenty-four languages. These books have been international best sellers not only in countries like Germany, France, Denmark but also Japan, China, Korea and Poland.
Why does Pete think the ‘Louis the Laugh’ books have built up such an international following?
‘I really wish I knew how these books are building up such a magical connection with readers around the world,’ grins Pete. ‘I know that whenever I do an event someone always asks. ‘Who is Louis really?’ ‘And can I meet him?’
Fans and publishers the world over are now eagerly looking forward to the third instalment of Louis’s adventures.
The translation rights to ‘MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY’ have already been sold to eight countries.
LOUIS THE LAUGH: MY SEVEN SILLIEST JOKES
What did the wig say when it was blowing across the street? I’m off my head.
I lost my dog so I put an advert in the paper It said ‘Here Boy.’
What goes ‘Tick Tick Woof.’ A dog marking homework.
(from HOW TO TRAIN YOUR PARENTS)
‘Doctor, Doctor I’ve just swallowed a bone.’ ‘Are you choking?’ ‘No, I really did.’
(from MY PARENTS ARE OUT OF CONTROL)
Why were the elephants thrown out of the swimming pool? Because they wouldn’t keep their trunks on.
Which famous painter always has a cold? Van Cough.
What do you call a pig that can do karate? A pork chop.
(from MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY)
A BONUS JOKE BECAUSE I LIKE YOU . . .
What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Frostbite.
(from MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY)
‘Sometimes there is nothing better than a really silly joke.’ LOUIS THE LAUGH (from MY PARENTS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY)