Interview with Shalini Boland: A Shirtful of Frogs

‘A captivating tale’

With 5 star reviews and a wide audience appeal, how did A Shirtful of Frogs come to be written in the first place? 
Delighted to have Shalini back under the Spotlight with this, a personal favourite which I have been waiting to see in paperback since I encountered it on Authonomy in ….2009, was it?

How did A Shirtful of Frogs start life ?

I was chatting to my father-in-law about his evacuation during World War II and thought it would be a good thing to record his story for the family. He was only five at the time and had a pretty terrible experience. The story grew quickly from a just few jottings.

Where did the frogs come from ?

Haha! Do you mean the actual frogs in the story or the Frogs title? The actual frogs came from a pond in Nan Clark’s Lane, Mill Hill, London. It’s haunted by an unhappy pub landlady.

It’s a brilliant title – was this the first title you thought of for the book, or were there others before it ?  

Thank you. It was the first and only title. As soon as I thought of it, I knew that was the one.

Plans for Frogs :  would you like to see it televised or dramatised for radio ?

I would adore it to be dramatised, but isn’t that every author’s secret wish? The only trouble is, I would be really upset if they made a bad job of it!

Have you more Timeslip books in the pipeline?

Not at the moment. I do have ideas for two more in the series, but I’m finishing off a couple of other trilogies at the moment, which will take me well into 2013.

Timeslip is a popular genre with both adults and children : what do you think the appeal is ?

I suppose it’s like stepping out of your regular life and being given a personal glimpse into another world. Where the reader is able to imagine themselves as the protagonist and imagine what they would do/how they would react in the same situation. And it’s fun when the person from the other time sees our world. It enables us to look at our o

wn time period through fresh eyes.

Which books from your childhood do you remember with the most affection ?

So many! My mum was a primary school teacher, so we always had hundreds of books at home.

The Phoenix and the CarpetE. Nesbit

The Magic Faraway Tree series – Enid Blyton

The Talking Parcel – Gerald Durrell

All Roald Dahl’s children’s books

Lizzie Dripping and the Witch (scared me silly, but I loved it)

Hans Christian Anderson’s tales

I could go on for several pages but I won’t.

Hans Christian Anderson

Hans Christian Anderson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think makes for a good childrens’ classic ?

It’s that elusive mixture of magical ingredients that all children’s authors strive for. Intrigue, excitement, a strong hero/heroine to identify with, humour and that ever-present page-turning quality – the end-of-chapter cliffhanger!

Tom’s Midnight Garden, A Traveller in Time, Children of Green Knowe – count among some of the most well-known Timeslip classics (although strictly speaking the Green Knowe books are perhaps more ghost tales) – have any of these or others had some influence in the development of Frogs ?

I read Tom’s Midnight garden when I was a child and so that probably played a part in a Shirtful of Frogs, but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t heard of the other two. A gap in my education which I’ll have to put right! I think I’ve probably taken a little inspiration from all the children’s books I’ve read; it’s hard not to be influenced.

Where can we find A Shirtful of Frogs ?

It’s available as an ebook and a paperback from most places. Here are a few links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble




Where can readers connect with you online ?

You can contact me or chat to me here:

My Blog




Thanks so much for having me, B. It’s been gorgeous as always J

Lovely to have you, as ever !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: