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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Monday, 22 July 2013

Author interview - Katherine Hetzel

And here's the last of the 'Reading is Magic' authors. Look out for cheese...again!

What was your favourite book when you were a child? Difficult. I was such a bookworm, I don’t think I can pick just one. I liked Enid Blyton – but can’t remember whether it was the Secret Seven or Famous Five I liked best; I do remember a mystery involving a Siamese cat with a painted tail…The Magic Faraway Tree, The Enchanted Chair (or was it The Wishing Chair?). 

What did you want to be when you grew up? I can’t remember having any real idea until I was thirteen. I had a student teacher in Biology, who did microorganisms with us - moulds and bacteria and the like. Seeing the colonies of mould growing on agar plates made me realize I wanted a job where I could do exactly that - grow bugs!

Which children’s books have you read recently? Hollow Earth, by John and Carole Barrowman, to see if he writes as well as he sings. I think his singing’s better…Also read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book – stunning story, with a twist at the end I really did not see coming and fab illustrations by Chris Riddell.

What’s your favourite snack? Cheese and crackers, (told you!) or a bag of Wheat Crunchies, bacon flavour.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? I’ve never thought about this…I’d have to say I'd like to be a character on Discworld, Terry Pratchett's series. I really like Vimes, the policeman, so perhaps I could be a character working with him? I'm short enough to be a dwarf - but I don't fancy having a beard...

What do you do when you’re not writing? All sorts! The nice stuff includes knitting, sewing, drawing, singing, arranging flowers, having lunch with my hubby, spending time playing games with my kids. The not-so-nice stuff is ironing, cooking, hovering, washing – everything that keeps my house and family running smoothly. 

Is there anything that scares you? Losing my teeth. I can’t even watch in cartoons when the teeth get cracked and fall out! I used to have dreams about it – I would wake with the sensation of things rattling round in my mouth, and have to check all my teeth were still there. *shivers at the memory*

What story are you working on at the moment? I have completed a full length novel, called 'Ring Seekers' which is being pitched to agents at the moment, so I am working on a collection of Granny Rainbow stories because my son wasn't content with just one story about the Black Shadow - he wanted a story for every colour of the rainbow! I have an illustrator working with me on this project, which I may self-publish. I'm also beginning to collect ideas for an historical story - all about an event that happened in my home town about 200 years ago and resulted in the demise of the Luddites. (If you don't know who they are, checkout the Horrible Histories site and find their Luddite song!)

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Author interview - Baz Baron

You know, we're getting to the end of these interviews, and cheese features quite a lot in the snack department! Here are Baz's answers to our questions...

What was your favourite book when you were a child? I had two, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and Fair Stood the Wind for France, a a war-time novel by English author H. E. Bates,

What did you want to be when you grow up? I wanted too be a joiner/carpenter, but ended up being a Master Baker/Confectioner

Which children’s books have you read recently? Born to Run, The War of Jenkins’ Ear, The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and other books by Michael Morpurgo.

What’s your favourite snack? Cheese.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? Jack Barclay - dragon keeper in my WIP, The Dragon and Turkana Boy.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I love being out in the countryside walking and camping.

Is there anything that scares you? Waiting for critiques against my writing.

What story are you working on at the moment? Along with “The Dragon and Turkana Boy” I am writing a story about a baby hedgehog that is tragically separated from his mum. “Prickles” is the working title. And it all ends well.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Author interview - Jody-Klaire

Today, it's Jody-Klaire who gets to tell us some more about herself.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
When I  was little I had a lots of books that I loved, the scarier the better.  I particularly loved a poem about a headless horseman!  Mr Men books, Baa the sheep and the Beano and Dandy.  As I got older I read some Goosebumps but I would have to say that Harry Potter is still my favourite series for children.  From the moment I read 'Goblet of fire' I was hooked. (I don't do things in order).

What did you want to be when you grow up?
Well, I wanted to be a lot of things from carpenter to airline pilot but music called to me from an early age along with poetry.  I was composing poetry and songs pretty early on and I wanted to stand on stage in an open air stadium and hear the crowd singing the songs back to me that I had written. Writing seemed like a natural step and I love being able to create worlds and people and play around with them.

Which children’s books have you read recently?
I'm a big kid and so I still like reading children's books. I'm going back through the Mr Men series and I re-discovered a massive favourite of mine called 'Please Mrs Butler'.  For anyone who wants to be transported back to assemblies and the Nit-Nurse it's a must. It is very funny and many of the themes would still make anyone still in school chuckle too.

What’s your favourite snack?
Crisps, Chocolate, cake... sometimes together! Now I'm hungry...

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?
I'm not quite sure I'd want to be in a book.  I know what I put my own characters through!  If you threatened me with Maths, I'd have to say one of my own characters as at least then I could make sure they came out on top!

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Sleep... eat.... dream about writing...

Is there anything that scares you?
Yes, everything scares me... in fact I'm hiding behind the couch typing as we speak...

What story are you working on at the moment?

Well,  with my other hat on, I write thrillers.  I've just finished one novel and the next that I'm playing around with is a very scary encounter on a ship.  I've really enjoyed writing about Chester though and so I've written ten extra stories about his friends and family.  I've illustrated them and so with a little bit of Wispy's help, you may see it very soon!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Author interview - Gary Henson

Gary is our over-the-water author, from the good ole US of A! Here are his answers...

What was your favourite book when you were a child? 'The Mad Scientist Club' adventures by Bertrand Brinley. Wonderful, crazy adventures by kids.

What did you want to be when you grow up? Astronaut, working on Mars or the Moon.

Which children’s books have you read recently? Dr. Suess and Mickey Mouse adventures with my granddaughters.

What’s your favourite snack? Cheese and crackers.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? Merlin the magician.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Read. Play guitar. Play games. Normal kid stuff! ;-)

Is there anything that scares you? Liberal Democrats! Yikes! Also the shadows that move on my bedroom walls... oops that's a book I'm writing. Never mind...


What story are you working on at the moment? 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp'. It's book two in the Arlo and Jake Series.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Author interview - Jules Anne Ironside

Today, it's Jules Anne who's going to tell us a bit more about herself...

What was your favourite book when you were a child?  Moonfleet by J. Meade Faulkner (Really. The part in Blackbeard’s tomb always freaked me out)

What did you want to be when you grow up? A Vet or a writer.

Which children’s books have you read recently? Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman, Sabriel – Garth Nix, The Hunger games – Suzanne Collins

What’s your favourite snack? Yoghurt covered raisins

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? Hermione from the Harry potter books, Katniss Everdeen or Alia from the Dune books.

What do you do when you’re not writing? A lot of martial arts, running, reading. Oh, and I do go to work J

Is there anything that scares you? I’m not very fond of slugs. I also am a little bit shy of people reading what I’ve written…

What story are you working on at the moment? A children’s book. It’s an alternate history where two key events have never happened and people with magic have to hide very carefully from the fingermen (inquisition type people) as the penalty for being born with magic is very severe!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Author interview - Chris Lakin

A day late posting (completely forgot to do it in the excitement of my son getting stung by a bee and me falling over in the kitchen when I tried to get ice for him!), but here's Chris's answers:

What was your favourite book when you were a child? Tom Sawyer.

What did you want to be when you grow up? A soldier, and drive the biggest things on the road.

Which children’s books have you read recently? Too many to mention, but my all time favourite is 'Stig of the Dump'.

What’s your favourite snack? My fingers? Or maybe the odd Snickers.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? Doctor Who, I like travelling.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Researching, lol, it's just as much fun.

Is there anything that scares you? The rent man, the gas man, the tv detector van, but most of all the bank manager (he's nasty).


What story are you working on at the moment? 'Captain Griswold' and 'My Gran's Garden'.



Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Author interview - Vanessa Wester

Vanessa's turn today... 

What was your favourite book when you were a child?

I can’t say I had one… I read loads of books and I had authors I liked to read.

If I had to choose one, it would have to be “The Magic Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton.

I remember going into the bookshop with my dad and being captivated by the covers. Books were expensive growing up, so I spent a lot of time in the library and second hand bookstores.

What did you want to be when you grow up?

I did want to be an author before the age of 14.

Which children’s books have you read recently?

I read “Superworm” by Julia Donaldson (brilliant books) to my youngest as a bedtime story the other night.

What’s your favourite snack?

Oooo… has to be anything with chocolate! Maltesers or Galaxy… YUM!

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?

I would be a unicorn… and have magic powers & immortality!

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Cooking, teaching math & swimming, reading, watch movies, walking and swimming for fitness.

Is there anything that scares you?

Heights!!!!

What story are you working on at the moment?


The finale of my Trilogy – so close to the end now…

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Author interview - Calum Stewart

With apologies to Calum, as this was meant to be posted yesterday! 


What was your favourite book when you were a child? – anything by Enid Blyton


What did you want to be when you grow up? – a footballer


Which children’s books have you read recently? – The Gruffalo and other Julia Donaldson books – Dr Seuss – The Cat in the Hat  (my daughter is 4)


What’s your favourite snack? – chicken pakora


If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? – Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island


What do you do when you’re not writing? – ride a motorbike


Is there anything that scares you? – my motorbike



What story are you working on at the moment? – a continuation of Pray Tell, Sir

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Laugh Your Socks Off Tour with Jeremy Strong.

Looking for funny books for children? You can't go far wrong with a Jeremy Strong!

Here's a link to the blog post I wrote yesterday, after attending the tour with my twelve year old son.

If you get a chance to buy a ticket, do go!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Author interview - Gail Jack

Number two author to answer the same questions...

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
ROBIN HOOD

What did you want to be when you grow up?
AN ASTRONAUT

Which children's books have you read recently?
HARRY POTTER and SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT

What’s your favourite snack?
CHEESE and APPLE

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?
IT’S NOT EXACTLY A CHARACTER FROM A BOOK, BUT I’D LIKE TO BE A NEW TRANSFORMER CALLED NOSEBLEED

What do you do when you’re not writing?
SLEEP and WORK AT MY REAL JOB

Is there anything that scares you?
THE THOUGHT THAT MY DAUGHTERS MIGHT NEVER LEAVE HOME

What story are you working on at the moment?

IT’S A SECRET…SHH!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Author interview - Stephen Mark

Stephen is the first of the 'Reading is Magic' authors to tell you a little more about himself...


What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I had any number, but if I had to pick one it would be The Hobbit – followed by Lord of the Rings when I was a bit older.

What did you want to be when you grow up?
 That’s easy; a jazz musician!

 Which children’s books have you read recently?
 The wonderful; ‘Bother in Burmeon’ by SP Moss. A terrific tale of a boy who travels back in time to adventure with his Grandfather.

 What’s your favourite snack?
 Ooh, that’s a difficult one! Probably a Twix.

 If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?
Strider/Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I play musical instruments – none particularly well, but I am a half-way decent saxophone player. Obviously, I love to read and there is always plenty to do on our big stone house and gardens in France.
  
Is there anything that scares you?
Infirmity, and not achieving my authorial aims.

What story are you working on at the moment?
I am turning Mr O’Rourke’s Shed into a full-length novel. When I read the story again in Reading is Magic, I realised that Davy Marr’s adventure had only just begun…


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Coming soon...a bit more about the authors.

We're still getting five-star reviews of 'Reading is Magic', which is fabulous news. It's great how, among such a wide variety of story styles and themes, everyone seems to have found at least one story that's their favourite. It's a huge boost to the authors to know that someone, somewhere, is enjoying what they have written. Do keep the feedback coming, as it'll inspire us to write more of the same!

Thought it might be fun to find out a bit more about each of our authors in the collection, so I've given them all a list of identical questions and will begin posting their answers over the next couple of weeks. If you want to find out what Jody-Klaire liked to read as a child or what Calum prefers as a snack, which character Vanessa would most like to be in a book or what Stephen wanted to be when he grew up, then watch this space!

And if there is anything you'd like to ask the authors after reading their biogs on this blog, why not post a question (what it is and who to) and we'll consider asking them something extra.