Thursday, 12 April 2012


1/ How long have you been writing?

I guess my story writing began when I was an insufferable little teacher's pet obsessed with getting gold stars for story writing homework. Now, on the Authonomy website, it's a top 5 gold medal I'm after! (Not a lot of personal growth obviously...) I wrote a few short stories and of course bad backpacker poetry during my 20's when travelling overseas. I once met a Poet Laureate in Kathmandu who caught me ripping off William Blake's style - but I guess that's kinda a compliment that he identified Blake at all in my ramblings!
Cousin Felicity and the Eels of Misty Point is my first serious attempt at a full length novel.

2/ What made you come up with the idea for your latest book?

The idea came from the amazing books like Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and the Moomins that my father used to read to me as a child. I wanted to create a book that could be an entertaining, suspenseful, 'old skool' read which kids could enjoy because of the personality of the narrative voice and the characters, with no dragons, zombies or vampires in sight. The motivation came from channelling a big ball of anger into some furious writing after being continuously turned down for job interviews by government agencies.

3/ Who's your favourite author of all time?

Hmm, Can I sidestep that question a touch and describe the type of writing I love? For me, the narrative style and/or voice are of paramount importance; I can't stand overwritten, pretentious narrative. Writers with a spare, powerful style like Peter Hoeg and Richard Russo are fantastic. In children's writing, of course Mark Twain and the Scandinavian writers (it's in my blood!) like Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jannsen. Stories rick in personality, humour and plot.

4/ What do you think is an important ingredient for any children's or young adults book?

I think kids love to learn and explore and that can be gaining visual or literal knowledge. Harry Potter - even though I'm not a big fan of the writing style, the intricacy and complexity of the world J.K. Rowling created meant there was much to explore for readers. Enough to sustain seven books! I also think children like a little bit of playfulness and even absurdity with language. You see this in classics by Spike Milligan and in books today like Horrid Henry. I think children respond to rhythm in language - those infectious rhymes in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are another great example. Finally, I think characters need quirks! Roald Dahl gave his characters depth by making them quirky and a touch unpredictable. In my book, Daniel's sister Sophie is a 'tough kind of soft' ( which Daniel likens to toilet paper.) because she is the captain and toughest tackler in the boys rugby team, and yet her half of the room looks like it has been hit by a pink candyfloxx bomb. Kaal Kaczmarek's book, Cousin Felicity and Eels of Misty Point, is a comedy suspense caper for MG, YA and FY

(Forever Young) readers and is expected to be published in July 2012

(Forever Young) readers and is expected to be published in July 2012

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