The Kidlit Interview Series
The interviews will be posted every Tuesday for the foreseeable future, so pop back regularly to find super-talented authors like Katherine Rundell, Stephanie Burgis and Inbali Iserles answering crucial questions like who they'd want riding alongside come the zombie apocalypse.
THE HERE BE DRAGONS 8 KILLER QUESTIONS
Simone de Beauvoir of course; no one else will do. But she's probably a zombie herself at this stage (which could actually be of some help). Wait, am I supposed to be able to drive in this scenario? I'd better learn quick. There are few things I can actually do apart from writing.
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.)
Well, we know quite a lot about the past, but nothing about the future, so quite logically that's where I'm going. I'll set the time machine to 2114 (tick-ticktick-tick). Yes, only a hundred years - I want to be fairly sure there will still be humans around. 2114 should be ideal; I'd love to read about what happened in the meantime, and to see what progress - or lack thereof - humanity has accomplished. I'm an optimist, though. I think it will be good. At least, I'm willing to bet British bathrooms won't have separate taps anymore.
3) What’s your favourite thing about writing for kids?
Meeting the kids. I've really grown to value these moments enormously: they're completely unique experiences. Meeting the young readers, asking them about what they liked in the books, asking them about what they didn't like, and generally telling them stories and hearing theirs. It's not only fun, it's mind-boggling: those kids know things that were swirling around in my head only two years ago! I like it when adults read my books, too, but the main aim remains talking to children.
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?
Well, I prefer that to being turned into a character from an adult book. Can you imagine being Leopold Bloom? Nightmare. I'd like to have the cheek, the energy, the fearlessness and the quirkiness of Pippi Longstocking. And the strength would also be very helpful; not for lifting horses, though that could come in handy sometimes, but, as I discovered when I last moved house, for carrying those stupidly heavy boxes of books from place to place.
5) What’s the scariest or strangest thing you’ve ever done?
Unfortunately, my life is extremely unscary and non-strange, partly because I exorcise those demons in the form of children's books. But as a teen I once spent a night in a haunted castle in Scotland, in a bedroom which had belonged to a tragically-dead eighteenth-century little girl. My cousin and I didn't get a wink of sleep: we left all the lights on, and spent the whole night shaking with terror, wondering where those murmurs in the walls, childish laughs and sounds of rushed footsteps could possibly come from. I think the hotel had probably hidden a record-player somewhere to scare the tourists.
6) What’s something you wish you’d known about publishing when you started out?
I wish I'd known that it was an activity that forced humble introverts to become pretentious extroverts - at least superficially. I wish I'd known it involves being able to subtly (or not-so-subtly) promote your books in 140 characters max. This is the aspect I don't like, I must confess, the aspect that makes me cringe a bit (a lot).
7) What would your daemon be?
A cat, which is the most banal daemon in the Ivory Tower. I would go to lunch with the other academics and our respective cat daemons would politely ignore each other while we made small talk. Sometimes a scholar would come along with his or her different daemon - a parrot, say, or a zebra - and we would throw them distrustful side-glances.
8) My books don’t have dragons, but they do have... pregnant ducks.
Allan Boroughs, author of Ironheart!