INTERVIEW: Sally Rippin, author of School of Monsters, Hey Jack and Billy B Brown

By Olivia, Genevieve, Ale and Lexi

Introduction by Olivia 

Sally Rippin is one of Australia’s best-selling authors. She has written loads of kids’ books, like ‘The School Of Monsters series and ‘Billy B Brown series, and she writes new and exciting books every year. 

I felt excited and nervous to ask Sally questions and I really enjoyed talking to her.

Press Gang: When did you start writing books? 

Sally: So I’ve always found reading very easy, my mum was a teacher and so she always gave us lots of books, but I think I probably started making my own books at about your age [10]. So we moved around a lot as children and we lived in a lot of hotel rooms. So we had run out of books to read because they’re very heavy to carry around. So my mum would give us pencils and paper and we’d make our own books.

Press Gang: Were you homeschooled? 

Sally: No, but that’s a really interesting question and a fantastic follow-up. I wasn’t homeschooled even though my mum’s a teacher, so that could have been an option. 

We moved about every two years because of my dad’s job and we mainly grew up in Southeast Asia, so lots of countries around Singapore, Hong Kong, Brunei, and places like that. 

So we would just go to the international school. Except when we were living in Brunei because I was too small. Then I just went to the local kindergarten and I learned to speak the dialect of the children in the kindergarten. 

Press Gang: did you like reading when you were younger? 

Sally: I did. I loved reading when I was younger. I was very lucky because I found reading very easy so I learned to read even before I started school. I’ve never been very good at maths. I’m not very good at science, I’m really terrible at sport, but reading is just one of those things that I found really, really easy.

I was very lucky because if you find reading easy then it can make lots of other things easier. I know that because my youngest son finds reading hard, so lots of the schoolwork that he has to do is, is much harder because of all the reading that’s involved. 

Press Gang: What were your favourite books when you were a kid? 

Sally: Some of my favourite writers were people like, uh, Roald Dahl. He wrote a lot of very famous books like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and James and The Giant Peach. But my favourite was called The Magic Finger.

Press Gang: Do you have a tip for writing stories? 

Sally: When I have a new story idea, the most important thing is to get my ideas down while they’re still bubbling away. If I worry too much about spelling or making the sentences beautiful in the beginning, then sometimes all the ideas just go away. So a good tip for you, when you come up with a good idea for a story, don’t worry about what it looks like or who’s gonna look at it. Just get your ideas down while they’re bubbling away and you can come back and fix your spelling later. 

Do you have any siblings? 

Sally: I have two younger sisters and I’m very close to both of them. One of them is three years younger than me and the other one is seven years younger. I’ll tell you the name of my little sister cuz there’s a nice story around that

My mum and dad told my sister and me that we could name our new sister. I said Fiona Alice because they were my two best friends’ names and my little sister said Tinkerbell. So my parents let me decide because I think they thought Tinkerbell is a cute name for a baby but maybe not so great for a grown-up.  

Thank you Sally!

Kegworth Times is written and produced by primary school students at Kegworth Public School. Please support us by following us on Facebook and Instagram. 


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