Thursday, March 31, 2011

An interview by Lily Bragge and some nudists

Friday is blog day. (Never mind that it says Thursday at the top of this post. It's definitely Friday. I must get that sorted out.) But a deadline looms. So today's blog is an old interview. Lily Bragg, journalist and author, asked me a few questions about my books.

In the interests of attracting extra readers to this blog, and improving a fairly dry post, I have included some nudists at the end. 

When you write your books, do you have a particular aim in mind?

I do want to make people laugh. I remember the books I enjoyed when I was young, and many of them featured comedy. But you can't expect someone to keep reading 45,000 words or so unless the characters do more than just tell jokes. Both I'm Being Stalked by a Moonshadow and Siggy and Amber contain many characters and situations remembered from my own past. There is social commentary in both of those books, but I try not to be too obvious. If you lay on the message a little thickly, you're going to alienate teenagers who know when they are being preached to and, quite understandably, don't like it.

Given that you are writing for young adults/and or children, do you want to impart anything specific, or is it just about storytelling?

The slightly tongue-in-cheek list at the back of I'm Being Stalked by a Moonshadow pretty well sums up how I think people should behave. It's not terribly deep. Being open-minded, generous and sympathetic are all there. So is regular flossing.

What, if any difference is there for you writing comedy scripts and books?

I find it very difficult to write comedy scripts in isolation. I've almost always worked with other writers. Writing books is a more solitary pastime. It's something that I enjoy very much but that I doubt I will ever do exclusively, for the sake of my own mental health.

Do you employ the same techniques for both disciplines?

I used to think that TV script writing was easier than writing books. With TV scripts you have to be able to plot and write dialogue, but not necessarily worry about the descriptive stuff - just give the art department a few clear, simple notes. Then I started writing with Andrew Knight for SeaChange. All the SeaChange scripts I wrote with Andrew ended up going through around seven drafts. My lasting memory of my time on SeaChange is that I had some titanic headaches.

What is the best/most satisfying writing project you've undertaken and why?

Writing the novel Tumble Turn was satisfying because I had left a good regular job in television so that I could write books, and yet I'd never written a Young Adult novel before. My first draft was very, very bad indeed. But I did six further drafts, working closely with my editor Dmetri Kakmi at Penguin. It was the start of a beautiful friendship. Dmetri edited my subsequent five novels, and we only argued when it was absolutely necessary; no more than three times a week. If he reads this he'll probably quibble about that last semi-colon.

Thank you for your time.

Here are the nudists.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do wish they'd wear gloves. One feels so naked without them.

Now this Anon is inensse-d

Just like Dmetri was.

(I think I'm finally grasping latin because inensse was my little word verification)

(oops it didn't work so I have another one... they'd use this one in the CBC confessional)