The Kidlit Interview Series
THE HERE BE DRAGONS 8 KILLER QUESTIONS
Do I go practical (Charlie Higson or Darren Shan both have experience) or pleasure (if I have to baracade myself in a 10th floor flat and drink water from the loo with them, I'm going to need to enjoy their company). Actually, Charlie Higson is pretty funny, isn't he? Higson it is.
2) Look, I got a time machine on eBay! Where do you want to go? (Said time machine may possibly malfunction and leave you there. Possibly. It was *very* cheap.)
eBay's a contemporary wonder of the world, isn't it? No question this time, its Europe 410AD. Why such a specific date? Well, that's the more-or-less official end of Roman Britain, the beginning of the Dark Ages. I'd want to go and shine a ruddy great torch on the Dark Ages. What was happening? Why? What was it like for the people? Then, I'd come back and write a book about it. And if the machine doesn't bring me back, then I'll just learn Latin (or German) and lump it.
3) What’s your favourite thing about writing for kids?
Short books! (joke!) (not a joke). I like the range of possibilities. If you want to write more than one genre, you can, by writing for different age groups. You're not tied to one thing. Also, your audience is always changing (as kids grow up!) so you have to stay on your toes. I like the challenge of writing for an audience whose culture isn't my own.
4) A witch has cast a spell on you (sorry about that) and you’ve woken up as a character in a children’s book – what’s your special talent or power?
I'd own a TARDIS. I trained as an archaeologist and time travel would be my number one special skill.
5) What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
I lived in Melbourne for a year (that isn't the scariest thing, don't worry!) and I did a lot of walking. I crossed the Overland Track in Tasmania. It has no roads, no shops, no phone signal. It takes 7 days to cross and you have to carry everything you'll need in a backpack - all your food, camping equipment, first aid... If you don't walk fast enough, you might run out of food... Also, there were LOTS of leeches. It got so that I didn't mind them on my body, but I was very worried about getting one on my eyeball...
6) What’s something you wish you’d known about writing when you started out? What’s something you wish you’d known about publishing?
I wish that I had known that writing and editing are two different things. I used to panic when I realised my first draft was terrible. Now I expect it to be, that's what editing is for. And the one thing I wish I'd known about publishing? Maybe that it's a job like any other. You don't feel that your whole life is over if you have a bad review at work, and you shouldn't feel that way if you get a bad review as a writer.
7) What would your daemon be?
A dog. No question (Biff already thinks she's it).
8) My books don’t have dragons, but they do have... ordinary children being very brave and seeking adventures.