All posts by Matthew Pegg

3 question interview: Debbie Moon

Here is the fourth micro interview with guests who will be speaking at our upcoming  Wolves and Apples event. Wolfblood’s Debbie Moon answers our three searching questions.

1. What was your favourite book when you were a child, and why?
The Grey King, by Susan Cooper. A heady mix of Welsh myth and legends in a 1970’s setting, full of dark lords, strange boys with golden eyes, magical creatures, and a powerful sense of the landscape of north-west Wales. It had such a profound impact on me that I ended up moving to Wales as an adult!

2. What is your top writing tip?
The best advice I was ever give was “don’t get it right, get it written”. A completed story gives you security. You can rewrite, reorganise, throw out whole sections, and yet always have the original version to refer to or revert to. A half-written story can’t be polished or perfected, because you don’t know what it is yet. So get it finished, however terrible you think it is, and then you can whip it into shape.

3. What is the best thing about writing for children?
Probably their enthusiasm for stories. Children experience so much of the wider world through stories, and they embrace them passionately, and get very attached to characters and relationships within them. Adults may treat television as wallpaper, there but ignored: children almost never do.

 

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3 question interview: Jonathan Emmett

Here is the third of our micro interviews with our Wolves and Apples guests. This time it’s the turn of picture book author Jonathan Emmett to answer three questions.

1. What was your favourite book when you were a child, and why?
I had lots, but the one I usually single out is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. As an adult I can appreciate that it’s beautifully illustrated with a deftly written text that reads wonderfully aloud, but as a four-year-old it was the sheer nightmarish scariness of the Wild Things, with their “terrible roars”, “terrible teeth”, “terrible eyes” and “terrible claws” that drew me in. Their wildness was in stark contrast to the tameness of most other picture book characters then and now. The book was criticised by parents and withheld from libraries for being “too dark” when it was first published, but that darkness is hugely appealing to many children.

2. What is your top writing tip?
Always try to finish what you start. You might not be happy with what you end up with, but you will gain useful experience for your next project.

3. What is the best thing about writing for children?
You’re writing for an open-minded audience that has no preconceptions or prejudices about what you should and should not do in a book. So, generally speaking, you can be more playful and creative when writing for children.
And, if you can write books that children will enjoy reading, you’ll be helping to give those children a head start in life. Research has shown that children that read for pleasure do better in maths, vocabulary and spelling than those who rarely read and consequently gain advantages that last their whole lives.

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Last few days before Wolves and Apples on Oct 3rd. Last chance to book.

As we enter the last few days before our October 3rd writing event, Wolves & Apples, some places are still available. The event is aimed at aspiring writers for children and young people, across books, TV and Theatre.

The latest version of the programme with some updated information is available here or download a pdf version here: Wolves&Apples Programme V2.0

Congratulations to Debbie Moon, writer on CBBCs ‘Wolfblood’, which has been nominated in the Best British Children’s Television category by The London Screen Writer’s Festival

For more information on Wolves&Apples click here.
To book your place visit: Wolves & Apples on Eventbrite

 

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3 question interview: Polly Nolan

This is the second micro interview with our Wolves & Apples guests to whet your appetite for the event on October 3rd.

We asked Literary Agent Polly Nolan these three key questions.

What was your favourite book when you were a child, and why?
I loved everything that I read so that’s almost impossible to answer!  Sometimes I wanted to read difficult, gritty books and sometimes I just wanted to escape from everything with books that were like chewing gum for the mind.  I haven’t changed as an adult. A tough day at work sends me running for easy escapism. Other days, I want to read something that will challenge me, educate me and make me think.

What is your top tip for writers?
If you’re writing for yourself, enjoy it.  If you’re writing in the hope of publication, avoid sending your manuscript to agents too early. Once you’ve typed ‘The End’, go back and rewrite the beginning. Polish the book. Proofread it.  Work on the bits that you know deep down aren’t right. And once you’re ready to send it out, don’t! Put it in a drawer for as long as possible first (ideally six months, though – understandably – most people find that virtually impossible).  Take it out and re-read it then. You’ll be amazed – and probably embarrassed – by what jumps out at you once you’ve had a bit of distance from it.  After you’ve addressed those problems (and then got people to whom you aren’t related to read it and give you an honest opinion), it’s probably ready to start sending to agents.  The biggest stumbling block for new writers when looking for an agent is that they send their work out too early.  Avoid this at all costs. It’s heart-breaking for the author, and for the agent.

What is the best thing about creating work for children?
As an agent and former publisher, I’m a step or two removed from actually creating work for children.  That privilege falls to authors, illustrators, playwrights, animators and scriptwriters – and I look at them all with envy!  I can still clearly remember the joy of reading a book as a child and then going out to find that door in the hill to another world, that talking animal, that magical creature hiding at the bottom of the garden, that baby bird with the broken wing . . . I still have the same thrill (without the freedom to explore, sadly) when a manuscript lands on my desk and transports me from the 200 unread emails and piles of editing to a different place.  To be part of an industry that gives children that thrill is brilliant, and being part of something that imparts to a child the sheer delight of reading – a gift that will stay with them forever and see them through the highs and lows of life – is humbling.

 

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3 question interview: Tanya Landman

We asked each Wolves & Apples guest three questions to tell you a little bit more about them.

First up is 2015 Carnegie Medal winner Tanya Landman.

What was your favourite book when you were a child, and why?
A. Stig of the Dump. It’s got everything – humour, mystery, adventure, magic. I read it to my children because I’d loved it so much and it was every bit as brilliant as I’d remembered – it made the three of us double up laughing.
 What is your top writing tip?
A. Daydream. Everything starts there. Get a clear picture in your head of who you’re writing about and what the setting is. If you can imagine it really clearly the writing will flow.
What is the best thing about writing for children?
A. Getting out and meeting the readers. They have so much energy and enthusiasm I’d  like to bottle it.

Interested in writing for children and young people? Book your place on our Wolves & Apples event.

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