Siobhán Nolan, Author of “Old Man Harry”

What is your book about?

My book, Old Man Harry, is children’s book about a strange little girl who adopts a cat. As they grow up together, they have adventures and Harry proves to be more than your average house pet.

How long did it take you to write your book?

It took me about 2 and a half months start-to-finish to come up with the idea for my book, develop and illustrate the text, then accompany it with words.

What challenges did you face as you wrote this book?

I was working on a bit of a deadline (because it was a class assignment) and it took me a while to visualize and make the characters come to life.

How has your background influenced your writing?

I have always had a love of children’s literature, and growing up with a quirky little cat helped me develop the story that is based on him.

Do you have a favorite snack food or favorite beverage that you enjoy while you write?

I love the white cheddar Cheez-its, or the goldfish snack crackers. This might sound a little crazy, but Harry loves them, too.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on the second Old Man Harry book, where his family adopts another kitten, and Harry has to make some major adjustments and learn how to be a brother.

Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

Because I’m going to be an elementary school teacher, I write for my future students, and for the children I babysit and work with currently in my school internship. They are the best critics of my work as I engage in the writing process. Also, they can be honest to a fault, but I always welcome their feedback and ideas.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, I haven’t. I didn’t even consider myself a writer until I saw my book in print. That was only a few weeks ago, but there’s something so powerful about that moment when you hold your published work in your hands for the first time and can truly say to yourself, “Wow, I did it. I’m a writer.”

What writer influenced you the most?

Because I love children’s books, I have grown up loving Tomie DePaola. He is a consummate storyteller and his illustrations are full of warmth and love.

Where do you get the names for your characters?

I pulled the names of my characters from real life. Harry is a real cat, and Little Beth got her name from my middle name, Elizabeth. Spoiler alert: I am Little Beth.

Describe your writing in three words.

Silly, relatable, fanciful.

What is your favorite place, real or fictional? Why?

The Outer Banks. I have been vacationing there with my family for as long as I can remember, and it’s also where I adopted Harry.

What do you wear when you write?

Sweatpants and mismatched socks. I can’t write unless I’m comfortable and cozy.

Who designed your cover?

I did! That was my original copy for the assignment I turned in for my class, but it also worked out perfectly for the published copy


Old Man Harry is available from Second Wind Publishing.