Nightmares Are Made Of This

Adults should never underestimate the power of a child’s imagination – from clowns to parental lies about bogeymen or monsters who live under the bed in an effort to get your child to behave – these figments of imagination run riot in tiny minds!  Exploring the topic of parental lying, Singaporean author/illustrator Trivia Goh, has got together and published a collection of local lies commonly heard in Singapore and presented them in a book of gorgeous illustrations and light hearted rhymes.  Nightmares are never far from anybody’s mind during spooky Halloween week, so I caught up with the delightful Trivia to find out more …… 


Hi! I’m Trivia Goh, a 24-year-old artist, illustrator and designer based in Singapore. I studied at the School of Art Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University, majoring in Visual  Communications. Currently, I’m working towards my dream of living off my art.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Nightmares Are Made Of This” – a children’s book for adults, touching upon the topic of parental lying; the lies parents tell their children to get them to behave as desired! Where did you get inspiration from to write this passionate book?

Thank you very much! The inspiration stemmed from the culture here in Singapore, where, every so often you’ll catch wind of a parent telling scary lies to their kids to get them to stop crying, to stop running, to stop talking…it is all very instrumental and the stories they come up with are incredible. (I have to give them that!). Some stories are passed down for generations while others are just made up on the spot to instill that momentary fear. I like my works to be meaningful so I decided to illustrate these dark stories for parents to better see what kind of imagery they are putting into their childrens’ head and henceforth be more mindful of their words.





As well as being published author, you are also an accomplished illustrator too. Growing up, were your career aspirations writing or art based or did your dreams follow a different path?

When I was growing up I thought I’d be an artist. But somewhere along the way I got caught up with all the expectations to get a “real” job. So I allowed myself to go down a more commercial path of a designer. But I think I’m back on track now!

Your book contains a collection of local lies that are commonly heard in Singapore, presented with illustrations and light hearted rhymes. What was the lie most used on you as a youngster growing up in Singapore? What’s the funniest, oddest or your favourite “lie” in the book?

The one about the watermelon seeds! My mum used to tell me not to eat watermelon seeds otherwise they’d grow a watermelon in my tummy. I always thought to myself that the seeds are germinating in the tummies of those who ate the seeds. The oddest lie in the book has got to be the one where parents tell their children not to pick their nose because there’s a fanged worm in there and it will bite their finger if they do. It took a while to figure out how the illustration would be like if they do and the whole time I was thinking that is such an odd thing to say!


Your book though is meant to be educational for adults – to make parents aware and be mindful of their interactions with the young ones and not to under estimate the power of a child’s imagination. Although you are based in Singapore, is your book available to purchase overseas? Do you offer a digital format (eg Kindle) as well as the giant sized book and smaller sized version?

Yes the small sized graphic novel ( 20mmx 80mm) is currently available online on my website, at My Imagination Kingdom (an independent bookstore) and soon it will be up on the shelves of Kinokuniya. I felt the need to get this out there to the world and not just in Singapore. The giant book is making an appearance again at My Imagination Kingdom at a meet the author session and I’m looking to make it available for sale in future.

If you had to write a book in a different genre from “Nightmares Are Made Of This”, what genre would you pick?

I’d pick children fiction and fantasy. Those books are precious precious gems. I once read a children’s picture book about picking stars and I learnt a whole lot more on how to grow as a human being from that book than any adult self-help book I’ve ever read. When we create the impossible things, we inspire people to do the impossible.


Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

I’m looking at a part 2 for Nightmares Are Made of This, and this time with contribution of parental lies from people all over the world. (I’ll make an announcement on my Facebook page  when this will be in time). For now, I’m focusing on illustrating and I will be compiling my works into little books on a regular basis. I’d like to cover topics that seem very trivial but matter a lot. It is how it is with little things.

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

I like reading fantasy and fiction. My current favourite is The North Star by Peter H Reynolds. My usual reads include JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

If you could visit any place in the world to give you some book/illustration inspiration, which place would you love to venture to & why?

Gruyères, Switzerland! To visit the Giger Museum! H.R Giger, Tim Burton and Edward Gorey are great inspirations I live by.


When you’re not writing and illustrating, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I like to watch movies. The romantic comedies, fantasy films and animations provide a very good form of momentary escapism and that really brings fresh perspective to things.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Denim shorts and baggy shirt with plain black flats – they go with everything! 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Yep! I frequent & – to feel human.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A blue grey bridesmaid dress. A friend of mine is getting married in November!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. Adds a little edginess!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your book.

My Website :

My fb page :

Meet the author session event pg: 82549393434355 /

My instagram : @trivialities

Thank you Trivia for taking time out to chat to us about your wonderful book and illustrations. A lot of people I know find clowns scary, but for me it’s the humble cow … no particular reason why… so what gives you goosebumps dear readers? Do share your secrets!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Trivia Goh.

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24 thoughts on “Nightmares Are Made Of This”

    1. Thanks for visiting Carol – it does make you stop and think about the rumours, tales and lies that surround us and how our minds visualise things!

  1. Such simple idea, yet so Brilliant! I wouldn`t know about her if it wasn`t for you, good job! 🙂
    Every parent lies from time to time and I still remember some stories my father made up for me 😀 Gosh, sweet memories

    1. Meeting Trivia & reading her book made me think twice about what visions are portrayed through my words when over exaggerating the truth to my children!

  2. This sounds great – love the concept! I think there is a fine balance. I don’t agree with the people who think that you should not tell any lie to children or encourage any belief in things that don’t exist – imagination and magic are so important for children. But, yes, you do need to be careful about causing trauma with things that will be too frightening in a child’s mind.

    I love the book ‘Great Lies to tell Small Kids’, which also comes from the idea about how often we tell lies to little children, but comes up with really silly ones. Like: strictly speaking, the tomato is not a vegetable – it’s actually a type of dolphin.

    1. I agree – there is a fine balance. I listened to comedian John Bishop a while back and he came up with a smashing idea which I since borrowed with great success: if you have a small group of children (or even just two) and they have done something naughty, eg scribbled on the wall – and all are denying responsibility – tell them to stick out their tongues because if they are telling lies their tongue would go green. The ones who are innocent will gladly poke out their tongues; the guilty party not so much! It really does work! 🙂

  3. The illustration of the kid with the eyeballs out on the floor gives me the creeps. I am Indonesian. So, we have our shares of similar lies that parents told us when we were kids. The watermelon seeds growing in your tummy is familiar.

    1. I’m sure I was told a similar thing about watermelon seeds, but it was eating apple pips – I was told trees would grow in your tummy if you ate them! 🙂

  4. Wow, those illustrations are gross……….grossly awesome! I would probably read this entire book. But I don’t think my storytime kids would do well with it 😉

    1. It is more adult orientated – a warning if you like, of what is visualised by a child when, as an adult, you tell children such untruths! The book is highly readable – recommended. 🙂

  5. Very true what she’s saying. We adults can still learn a lot from children’s books , it’s a shame that books aren’t as fascinating as the internet to most kids. I still remember my books I read as a child. Values!

    1. There is a drive at the primary schools in England, at any rate, to encourage the reading of books and to become members of the library. My sons do have kindles but they don’t use them – they prefer books! I use a mixture of both. My husband and I are both avid readers – my husband prefers books. I wonder if because we are bookworms that our enthusiasm rubs off onto our children.

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