Night of the Living Ted!
20th Oct 18

Night of the Living Ted!

Think zombie teddies with witches and you're heading in the right direction for this hilarious new series by BARRY HUTCHISON, which begins with NIGHT OF THE LIVING TED! Just in time for Halloween!!

When Lisa Marie and her step-brother Vernon pop into town to get their dad a birthday present, they discover the Create-a-Ted shop is offering free Halloween bears. While making the grisly bears is fun, what happens after midnight that night isn't something to be laughed at...

This new series for 7+ readers is brimful of twists, battered bears and magic, and a mystery to solve!

We asked BARRY HUTCHISON to tell us more about NIGHT OF THE LIVING TED:

Q: Why did you want to write a book with lots of scares in it!

A: When I was young, I was terrified of pretty much everything in the world. Dogs. Cats. Goldfish. High places. Confined spaces. Wide open spaces. You name it, I was scared of it. It was only when I started growing out of that constant state of terror that I realised how much fun it was to be scared.

That feeling of your heart racing and your knees knocking is really exciting, so I wanted to try to recreate that with some scary books. They're funny, too, because I think screaming with fear and screaming with laughter are quite closely connected.

Q: In the book, step-siblings Lisa-Marie and Vernon find themselves in a battle against some armed, and dangerous, teddy bears. Seriously - teddies? Evil??

A: My gran used to collect old dolls and teddies, and her house was full of these creepy, threadbare things with eyes hanging out and ears missing. They used to terrify me, so they were partly responsible for the horrible teddies in this book.

I also think it's fun when the less obvious things turn out to be scary. Anyone can make a giant flesh-eating monster scary, but a cute and cuddly teddy bear? That's a fun challenge to write.

Q: Which of your toys spooked you the most as a child?

A: It wasn't actually a childhood toy, but one I was given as a gift when I was about 25. It was a talking interactive Yoda from Star Wars, that I placed next to my bed. It's supposed to react when you do anything to it - lift it up and it tells you to put it down, for example. One night, I was woken up around 3am by Yoda whispering in a low, scratchy voice: "See you, I can."

I almost died with fright, and it spent the rest of its life at the back of a cupboard in another room.

Q: To write this book, you would need to know how to 'build' teddies. So, were (m)any 'build-a-bears' harmed in the making/researching of your book?

A: Both my son and daughter were OBSESSED with Build-a-Bear when they were younger. I've spent hours in those shops, waiting in line for the stuffing machine, and typing up birth certificates. I'm pretty sure I could fill in for staff members if they ever get sick, I've been through the process so often.

I always thought there was something creepy about them, too, though. When you first walk in, you see all those racks with unstuffed teddy bear skins. Just these limp pieces of fur with glassy eyes gazing hopefully at the children in the shop, pleading to be taken home. There's something a bit disturbing about it. Or maybe that's just me...

Q: Your evil teddies come in all sorts of shapes and evilness. Which one do you feel gets the best costume?

A: I think the witch bears have it pretty good. Not only do they get flying broomsticks, they get all-powerful magic wands, too. The other bears can't really compete with that. All the werewolf bears can do is howl a bit and pee against lamp posts, for example, which isn't nearly as impressive. I also like the alien bear costumes, but only because I'd really like to have my own jetpack.

Q: Aside from the costumes, do you have a favourite bear, or two, in the story?

A: My two favourite bears have to be Grizz and Bearvis (not necessarily in that order.) I love how evil Grizz is - he just does what he wants, and doesn't care about the consequences.

As a lifelong Elvis Presley fan, I loved writing Bearvis and throwing in lots of little Elvis references. Writing his dialogue was a lot of fun, too, and I found myself saying it out loud in an Elvis style voice when I was writing it. I was also singing, 'A Little Less Hibernation' for months after writing the book.

Q: And do any of Lee Cosgrove's illustrations of the bears stand out for you?

A: All of them! Lee's illustrations are all amazing, and I'm lucky to have him working on the books. The first appearance of Bearvis really stands out for me, but there isn't a single illustration that doesn't perfectly capture the characters. It isn't a bear, but the illustration of Vernon with a giant head literally made me laugh out loud. The expression on his massive face is priceless.

Q: Do you have more adventures planned for the Teddy Bear Animator machine?

A: Yes! There are two more books planned in the series. Next up is 'Revenge of the Living Ted,' which will be coming in 2019. If you think the teddies in this book are scary, just wait until you meet those guys.

Q: What are you writing now?

A: Right now, I'm putting the finishing touches to the third Living Ted book, ready for Lee to start work on the illustrations. After that, I'm writing another in my 'Space Team' science fiction comedy series for adults, and a few episodes of an animated series for US TV.

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