MJ's debut Feed was published earlier this year by Chicken House. Fourteen-year-old Lola lives in a world where an alien race has invaded the Earth, taking humans away during their nightly raids. When her father is taken, Lola knows she has to go after him. But when she deliberately gets herself taken to one of their ships, even she isn’t prepared for the horrors that await her.
Oh no, did it have to be zombies! I’m such a wimp I’d probably be hiding in the nearest cupboard or under a hedge. So help would definitely be needed. I think Charlie Higson would be a good choice, he seems to know a thing or two about zombies, although many of his characters end up dead, so maybe not. Maybe we should laugh in the face of danger and have the brilliant David Walliams on our side, and who knows, maybe zombies still have their sense of humour intact. Has anyone ever tried telling a joke to a zombie?
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.)
What a decision. I’d love to go back to any time and see how accurate the history books are, maybe find out what the Romans were really like. But I don’t want to be stranded there by your cheap time machine. Maybe the future would be a safer bet, 500 years or so, then I could look up my ancestors and find myself amongst them – okay, maybe that would be a bit weird.
3. What's your favourite thing about writing for kids?
They’re such an honest audience, they tell you what they think and that’s brilliant. Children love books, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Plus, I’ve never really grown up.
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 want to be invisible. Can you imagine the places you could go and visit, it would be brilliant. All those restricted and roped off areas in museums. Or, if that’s not possible I’d like to be able to fly. Birds have such a superpower, I hope they appreciate it.
5. What's the scariest thing you've ever done?
This is a difficult one for me, because as I’ve already mentioned, I’m such a wimp. I try and avoid danger at all costs. I did go on a Woody Woodpecker rollercoaster once – terrifying. I won’t even go in a lift unless I have to. Maybe one day I will force myself to do something scary, so watch this space!
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?
That less is more. I think any first time writer is amazed when they first work with an editor. The amount of stuff that can be cut, leaving your story the room to breathe and grow. I’ve learnt so much. I write now with a totally different way of thinking.
I didn’t know a huge amount about the publishing world, so I’m still learning every day. I know it’s a big business, but I’ve been amazed at how supportive and friendly other authors have been, it’s a bit like becoming part of a family.
7. What would your daemon be?
Ha, knowing me it would probably be a sloth. I’d like a turtle, but the water thing might be a problem. I don’t know, maybe a white mouse. Always wanted one ever since I watched Play School as a kid, and it would sit neatly in my pocket.
8. My book(s) don’t have dragons, but they do have... flesh-eating aliens, aliens with fiery eyes and aliens with blue hair, in fact a smorgasbord of aliens. Oh, and a dog too.