Behind the Scenes of The Best Mum with Penny Harrison

March 25th, 2021
Jump into this blog post as we speak to the lovely Penny Harrison, all about her new book, The Best Mum!

Tell us about your new book, The Best Mum. How did you come up with the idea?

This book was inspired by a dear friend, who is a super-star at so many things. And she roller skates! The first time we took our daughters roller skating together, I sat on the side, while she whizzed around ‘just like a swan’. I remember my daughter gasping and saying “Scout’s mum is the best mum”. That was the day this story started taking shape in my mind.

What was the process for writing this book?

I originally wrote this book all about Scout’s mum. In fact, that was the title. But thinking of all the incredible and inspiring mums I know, I felt it would be stronger if I made it about a range of different mums. This allowed for more diversity and visual interest, with a different family on each alternate page. Scout’s mum had to stay, however, and she had to be the roller skating mum!

Do you have any routines or rituals when you work?

I like to sit with a story idea in my head for some time before I start to write it down. I love savouring the possibilities and nutting out the concept. I’ll go for long walks and think about it while I’m driving or working in the garden. Then I’ll start writing it in a notebook. I love keeping a pile of gorgeous notebooks full of blank pages, just waiting for a new story to reveal itself. I’ll take a notebook with me everywhere and write while I’m watching my son play tennis, or waiting for my daughter to finish school. Then, when I have a rough draft, I start typing.

What is the most challenging thing about being a parent?

We expect so much from ourselves as mothers. We feel we have to be and do all the things. Of course, it always looks so much easier when other mums do it – well, for the kids, it does. And who hasn’t heard that heartwarming phrase from their child on occasion: “My friend has the best mum!” I think cutting ourselves a break, accepting that we’re all doing the best we can and looking after ourselves can be one of the most challenging aspects. That – and helping with maths homework!

And the most rewarding thing?

I love seeing my kids grow into the sensitive, kind, talented and sweet human beings that they are. I love seeing them spend time together, despite an age gap of nine years, and I love the laughs and the cuddles.

What or who is your biggest inspiration?

My two children, who are both so funny and creative. And my own mum, who raised five kids on a cattle farm and filled our childhood with books and music. If only she’d taken me roller skating…

What do you do in your spare time?

Haha, what spare time?! Being a mum is pretty much an around-the-clock gig isn’t it. I love gardening and painting and reading, but I can guarantee that the moment I sit down with a cup of tea and a good book, someone will cry out “Mu-um”!

What was your favourite childhood book?

I adored everything from LM Montgomery, especially Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon. And Gene Zion’s The Plant Sitter was an absolute favourite picture book of mine.

Thank you for answering these questions for us, Penny!
You can find Penny on Twitter, Instagram and on her website.

The Best Mum

There are so many AMAZING mums in the world: the chefs, the singers, the athletes. But every mum does one special thing that makes her The Best Mum.
What makes YOUR mum the BEST mum?

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