The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth has been shortlisted for another children’s book award, in Stockport this time. The lovely people who organise the awards sent out questions to all the authors on the list so that they could post the answers on their website.
I don’t know about other authors, but I always enjoy being interviewed about books and writing (especially if I’ve got time to work on the answers!) and the questions asked of children’s writers are generally much more fun than those asked about writing for grown-ups.
Here is what they asked, and what I replied:
What was your inspiration for this book?
The names Gully Potchard and Clemency Wrigglesworth popped into my head from nowhere and I had to explore who they were. They sounded like characters from a children’s book (I was writing for adults at the time) and old fashioned and slightly comical, so that gave me the tone and setting. After that it was fun all the way!
What was your favourite book as a child?
So many but I will opt for the Just William books by Richmal Crompton, because they still make me laugh, and Anna Sewell’s classic Black Beauty, which I read over and over, although it still makes me cry!
What were you like at school?
Very well-behaved and responsible at junior school (a prefect, always in choir and orchestra, dance clubs etc) but this tailed off soon after I went up to ‘big’ school and I was more of a rebel and class comedian.
What advice would you offer to budding writers?
You’re only a writer if you write – having great ideas is the easy bit! Getting them down, shaping them, and finishing is much harder. Daydreaming is good, and so is being bored – believe it or not – it makes you use your imagination. Look at the world around you like an anthropologist, or an alien, and see what you see. Read lots, including books outside your usual comfort zone. I would say that, wouldn’t I?
Can you tell us about any new projects you are working on?
My next book, The Dangerous Discoveries of Gully Potchard, is complete and will be out this August. Now I’m writing a detective story with an unlikely comic heroine, set in the 1920’s, and a historical novel that isn’t funny at all.
What has been your favourite children’s book this year?
Again, so hard to choose. Um…Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll, and Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans, although the last one is not brand-new.
The Stockport Children’s Book Award was launched in 1995. The aims of the project are:
- to raise the profile of reading for pleasure
- to offer children access to some of the best new fiction
- to increase parents’, teachers’ and school librarians’ awareness of new fiction
- to create a community of readers in Stockport by:
- providing opportunities for children to meet authors
- providing a forum for reading and an opportunity to share books