Holly Webb is an editor-turned #Author who pens the popular children’s book line “Pet Rescue Adventure” and has written an astonishing 114 books to date. The "Pet Rescue Adventure" series has proven to be especially popular among young readers who love animals. Holly lives in England along with her husband and three children and was happy to discuss her experiences as a writer.
Blasting News (BN): What first influenced you to write children's books?
Holly Webb (HW): I used to work as an editor for a children's publisher, Scholastic. Working with so many fantastic authors was an incredible training for writing although I'd never intended it that way.
BN: As a little girl, what were your favorite stories?
HW: I loved the Narnia books by CS Lewis. Frances Hodgson Burnett's books, “The Secret Garden” and “A Little Princess.” School stories, animal books—I read a lot!
BN: How did you get the idea for the "Pet Rescue Adventure" series? How many books are in the series overall?
HW: Soon after I left Scholastic to work freelance, one of my colleagues moved to Stripes who publish the series in the UK. She asked me to write a book about a lost kitten, which became “Lost in the Snow.” The gorgeous cover art got a lot of attention at Bologna Children's Book Fair, and it snowballed from there. There are now thirty-five books published in the UK and 23 in the US. I've written the next two, as well.
BN: Be completely honest, do you have a favorite?
HW: I really love “Lost in the Snow”, which was the first one I wrote, ten years ago. It was based on the stories my mum and I used to tell each other about our stray cat Rosie, when I was little.
BN: The Books focus mostly on dogs and cats. Have you, or might you, branch out into other #Animals?
HW: I've written about polar bears, reindeer, wolves and snow leopards! I've also written “Looking for Bear,” “A Tiger Tale” and “The Midnight Panda” which are about children focusing their emotions and fears on imaginary animals, being scared of the dark, for example.
BN: What do you think kids can do to help animals and/or better the lives of wild animals like squirrels, small birds, etc.?
HW: For pet animals, I really want my books to help children understand that pets are not possessions. Cats don't always want to be cuddled when you want to cuddle them. Dogs have needs for space, for walks, for the right food, for consideration from you always. They are their own, as well as yours. Obviously keep an eye out for wild animals in distress - but at that point, you're often better off calling in an expert if you can. I belong to several different animal and wildlife charities - sponsorships make great presents too.
BN: Do you have an agent at present?
HW: I do. For a long time I managed without, as I was lucky enough to have contacts in publishing from working as an editor. But about three years ago I realized that balancing my different work commitments was getting very tricky, and I needed help! My agent is fabulous. Having someone to help me think through what I'm really excited about writing has been wonderful. She's also very good at telling me say no to projects that I sort of know I can't fit in!
BN: What's the best part of being an author and where do you want your career to go from here?
HW: I work from an armchair. Seriously, the best part is getting letters and emails from children telling me they've read my books. It's so exciting. I loved to read so much as a child, and the thought of children now taking my characters and building them into their imaginary world is amazing.
BN: What's coming up next for you project-wise?
HW: I'm working on a sequel to “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (I previously wrote “Return to the Secret Garden”). It's called “A Little Suffragette” and it's set in 1911 about a young girl discovering women's struggle for the right to vote. My main character, Lottie, is one of the secondary characters in the original book. #Interview