Children’s Author Interview: Philip Caveney

In 2008 the author of the Sebastian Darke books, Philip Caveney, answered some of our questions about his stories and writing methods.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

Which of your books was the most difficult to write? Why?

The first Alec Devlin book, Eye of the Serpent. It’s set in Egypt in 1923 and every fact had to be triple-checked.

Which of your characters is most like you?

Max, the grumpy buffalope from the Sebastian Darke series. Like me he always expects the worst.

How do you write your books? Do you plot and plan in detail, or do you develp an idea as you are writing?

I create the character and the setting – the story just evolves.

Why do you enjoy writing for children?

Because there are no rules – the only limit is your imagination!

What advice would you give to young writers to help them improve their stories?

Keep asking yourself “what if” – and make sure we see the events through the eyes of your characters.

Where do you write your books?

In my study at home – it’s a mess!

Check out Philip Caveney’s website.

Children’s Author Interview: Heather Vogel Frederick

Heather Vogel Frederick, author of the Spy Mice series and The Mother-Daughter Book Club series, answered some questions asked by The Book Base.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. Also anything by Edward Eager.

Which of your books was the most difficult to write? Why?

The very first one, because I’d never written a book before and had no idea what I was doing!

Which of your characters is most like you?

I’m a cross between Oz Levinson in the Spy Mice books and Emma Hawthorne in The Mother-Daughter Book Club. I wish I was as brave as Glory but I’m not!

How do you write your books? Do you plot and plan in detail, or do you develop an idea as you are writing?

I am mostly what they call a “seat of your pantster” – I like to tell myself the story as I go along. I’d be bored if I knew exactly what was going to happen. I like to be surprised along the way.

Why do you enjoy writing for children?

Because they are the best audience – enthusiastic and blazingly honest! Books mattered desperatley to me when I was a child – and it’s gratifying to write for that kind of reader. Plus, you can cut loose and have fun when writing for a younger audience.

What advice would you give to young writers to help them improve their stories?

Number one most important thing: READ. Read as much as and as widely as you can. Soak up the language, the tempo of the best stories. Like a musician listening to the best music, reading wonderful books will influence the way you play your instrument – or in a writer’s case, the way you write.

Where do you write your books?

Mostly at home, in my favourite armchair, on my laptop. Occassionally I’ll venture out to a coffee shop to be around other people!

Check out Heather Vogel Frederick’s blog.