Anna Gain and the Same Sixty Seconds – Guy Bass

Illustrated by Steve May

Stars: *****

Anna LOVES being on time. She lives her life by the clock and everything has to be punctual. One morning everything seems to be getting in the way of her getting the school bus. Her brother. The neighbour’s cat. A local dog.

But, to her horror and surprise, at the end of a disastrous 60 seconds…the minute starts all over again. Anna has to attempt to change the minute – but how? Each time she does something differently – fixes problems, avoids chaos, helps friends – it doesn’t seem to help!

This is a hilarious story (I laughed out loud!) but also has a great message for children too. I think lots of children will relate to Anna in their own way and be willing her to succeed in escaping her forever-lasting 60 seconds!

Here, I’m lucky enough to have an interview with Guy Bass and Steve May!

What gave you the initial inspiration for the story of Anna Gain? 

GB: The name – I spend a lot of time these days thinking up punny names! It’s fun to try and build a story around them. Sometimes I get nowhere but as soon I thought of Anna Gain I knew I wanted to write a time travel story. Since Anna relives the same minute over and over, I liked the idea of slowing down or speeding up time for the reader. So, the same sixty seconds might go by in a sentence or take a couple of chapters.

Is Anna based on anyone you know in real life? 

GB: No – I do know some champion time-keepers but no one as obsessive as Anna. I think we should generally be cautious about the rules we impose upon ourselves – it’s easy to become trapped by them. I do always wear a watch though. You could set your watch by it.

There is a clear moral of the story, but if you could give Anna one more piece of advice, what would it be? 

GB: Tomorrow, today will be yesterday. Also, recycle.

SM: Umm…I’d say to make sure that whatever you like doing, whether it’s drawing, writing, singing, dancing, sliding on polished floors in your socks, dressing up as a robot with a box on your head (just me?) never worry about what other people are thinking, just enjoy it! (And perhaps ‘never eat anything bigger than your head’!)

What is your favourite type of clock? 

SM: Dandelion or Grandfather

GB: My watch, because I feel watchless without it. Close second is the Ghibli Clock in Tokyo, which does a lovely mechanical show four or five times a day.

Are you always late, or always early? 

GB: I’m early to being late and very occasionally late to being early.

SM: I tend to be early so I always make sure I have something to scribble on to pass the time (because some of my friends are ALWAYS late and I never learn)

The illustrations really enhanced the story! I loved the character’s expressions throughout. Which was your favourite to draw?

SM: It’s always great fun to draw chaos so drawing Anna getting tangled up with all the various animals was lots of fun!

What’s the best picture you can draw in 60 seconds?

SM: I drew this baby mammoth (but I cheated & wrote ‘mammoth’ after the 60 seconds was up!)

If you had to pick 60 seconds of your life to repeat, what would it be? 

GB: The last time I ate a bacon sandwich. Any minute would become maddening if you had to live it again and again but I reckon I could eat that sandwich a few thousand times before it got trying.

SM: Ooh, that’s difficult, maybe jumping into the sea on holiday in Cornwall with the sun out when I was 8 years old!

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