I got the idea for Horrid Henry by accident. I was chatting to a friend who asked me to write a story about a horrid child. Horrid Henry was born on the spot. I was also interested in writing about sibling rivalry, and families where the parents decide that one child is “good” and the other “bad,” which is how Perfect Peter was born. I adore Perfect Peter, because I’m touched by his desperate need to be good, though Henry is obviously most people’s favourite.
Children often ask me if the stories come from “real life”. The initial ideas, such as dealing with nits, sabotaging a birthday party, or trying to earn money – in Henry’s case by selling Peter as a slave to Moody Margaret! – are usually sparked by everyday events and then given a “horrid” twist. Henry himself is the imp inside everyone. We all have aspects of Horrid Henry and Perfect Peter – the desire to be good, the urge to rebel – and sometimes it’s great to let the imp out.