My Neighbours Were Hyenas
I always wanted to be a writer when I was a child,” says Julian Clary. “I think writing for children never occurred to me until my agent suggested it. It was a rather inspired idea because it’s very much more fun than writing for adults.”
And that is how the flamboyant TV personality came about creating his debut children’s book, The Bolds, a collaboration between Clary and award-winning illustrator David Roberts.
Mr and Mrs Bold are quite ordinary; they live with their two children in a very nice house in Teddington, they have jobs and are totally normal except for one thing: they are hyenas.
The Bolds have until now lived quite a banal existence, keeping their long, spotted tails and manic laughs under wraps, but when a neighbour gets suspicious it leads to a wacky adventure unlike any other.
Clary admits his inspiration for The Bolds came from directly his own childhood.
“Growing up, there was a family in our road who were all quite hairy… As a child I made up stories for myself that they were hyenas, and from there came the book.”
This isn’t Clary’s first foray into writing; between 2005 and 2008 he wrote a fortnightly article for New Statesmen magazine, while also penning the two novels Murder Most Fab and Devil in Disguise and his touching and frank autobiography A Young Man’s Passage.
He explains how writing for children is a very different process from his precious endeavours. “You must contact your inner child, which we all have. My inner child as a comedian is quite present all the time so it’s just flipping over to thinking like a child and your imagination takes over. You can just go with the flow.”
Clary found it to be a creatively liberating experience. “With an adult book you’d think ‘Well that’s a little unbelievable,’ whereas that doesn’t apply with children’s literature.”
Julian Clary’s The Bolds paperback is published by Andersen Press and is suitable for children 8+, RRP £6.99.