Author Interview: Chris Priestley

Chris Priestley, author of The Dead of Winter and Mister Creecher, answered some of my questions about his writing habits and favourite books.

Here are his responses:

What were some of your favourite books when you were a child?

I loved anything to do with Greek myths. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis stands out. And I loved historical fiction – especially Rosemary Sutcliff, Henry Treece and Leon Garfield.

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

They all have their own challenges. The Dead of Winter was tricky I think because I had been writing short stories and a novel is very different.

Which of your characters is most like you?

All writing is autobiography to a lesser or greater degree – even when it doesn’t seem like it. All of my characters are formed from my imagination – but none are really like me.

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

A bit of both – I have a plot and plan because I have to show a synopsis. But I feel no obligation to stick to anything but the main thrust of it.

Where do you write your books?

Either in my office in my home or in my studio – a place I rent across town from where I live.

Why do you enjoy writing for children and teenagers?

Because they are such enthusiasts. I know that’s not the caricature of teenagers – but if they like what you do they are incredibly positive and loyal.

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

Give yourself a decent start and plan where you are going. You don’t have to stick to it – but it will make your life easier and it will mean that you will be less likely to give up.

Many thanks to Chris for contributing to our Author Interview series.

Make sure you check out his blog.

Michael Morpurgo: Facts and Trivia

Here are some facts about Michael Morpurgo, the UK children’s author of War Horse, Kensuke’s Kingdom, The Butterfly Lion and Private Peaceful (to name just a few).

  • Several of Michael Morpurgo’s books feature wars and conflicts, and Michael’s interest in military matters developed at an early age. His Uncle Peter died at the controls of a bomber plane, and his Uncle Francis was the leader of a French Resistance cell.
  • Michael enjoys watching television, particularly documentaries.
  • Michael Morpurgo doesn’t read all of the reviews of his books that appear in newspapers, magazines, on the radio and on the internet. He used to, but he kept forgetting the praise and focused too much on the negatives.
  • Elephants are his favourite animal.
  • His favourite writers are Ted Hughes (the poet), Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island.
  • Michael can only write when it’s really quiet.