It’s always fun when I come across a funny book with an important message and get the chance to ask the author a few questions. Well…not so much me asking the questions but the interested 7 and 8 year olds in my class.
This is what they wanted to find out:
Did you always want to be an author and how did you get into writing children’s books?
Yes, I always wanted to be an author and an editor.
I loved English at school and enjoyed writing little stories in my free time. I went to university to study journalism and publishing, and then joined BBC Magazines as a junior writer. I worked on lots of different children’s magazines there for many, many years until I joined Penguin Books as a Senior Editor, and then came to Miles Kelly in 2013.
Why did you choose to write about dinosaurs?
My son, who’s seven now, has loved dinosaurs since he was a baby. We have a ton of toy dinosaurs in our house, dinosaur duvet sets, a giant cardboard T rex head (don’t ask!) in our lounge and too many dino books and DVDs to count! I find dinosaurs just as fascinating as he does, and we love all their strange, mysterious names.
What’s your favourite dinosaur?
Parasaurolophus! What an odd-looking dinosaur and did they use their crest to make that trumpeting noise for any other reason than scaring away predators? Did they actually talk to each other? My son and I also love that Granny can’t pronounce it!
When you were little, what was your favourite book?
I loved anything by Enid Blyton, and devoured C S Lewis’ books too. My absolute favourites were by Roald Dahl though – The BFG and The Witches especially.
What was the last book you read?
My son and I are just finishing Five Children and It (E Nesbit) and I’d forgotten how magical it is. Although the language comes across as quite old now, the idea of finding a sand fairy who grants wishes is timeless and some bits of it are really funny.
Have you written any other books? What were they about?
I wrote our Get Set Go Grammar books together with an educational consultant, and rewrote the eight fairy stories, which feature in our Get Set Go Reading Together series (helping children learn phonic sounds while listening to familiar stories). There are also two books about monsters sitting in my writing shed at home. I wrote them at university as part of my course, and really should revisit and edit them now.
How long does it take you to write a book?
The planning for a book takes the longest time. I like to have a plot structure in place before I start writing or I find I run out of ideas or don’t get to the end. The writing comes easily – the planning can take weeks or even months!
(I can already hear all the teachers shouting “Thank you so much for highlighting the importance of the planning stage!”)
Do you always finish your stories or do some of them end up in the rubbish?
Lots of my stories haven’t worked out at all, but I never throw anything away. You never know when you can take one idea from a story that didn’t work and knit it into a new story. No idea is a bad idea, it just might not be in the right story!
If you could have a dinner party, which three guests would you invite (dead or alive, no limits here) and why would you choose them?
Sir David Attenborough because he’s my absolute hero, and probably my son and husband because they’d NEVER forgive me if I had dinner with Sir David and didn’t invite them!
We were also very lucky to get a ‘How to draw’ guide from Louise Forshaw, the fabulous illustrator of Dinosaur Adventures. Why not try drawing Vicky the Velociraptor at home?
We all loved Velociraptor, a Speedy Tale, mostly because we often get ourselves into a bit of a pickle if we don’t take the time to stop and think about what we’re doing. A fantastic book that teaches us that rushing things without thinking them through is rarely a good idea.
The whole series of Adventure Dinosaurs in available in a bag including all four books, a puzzle and a colouring book. Perfect to keep little ones entertained over the summer holidays.
For a chance to win a Dinosaur Adventure bag, follow us on twitter @Magpie_That2 and retweet the blogtour image. Good luck!
A BIG thank you to Fran for taking the time to answer our questions and to Louise for creating the ‘ How to draw’ guide.
Velociraptor, a Speedy Tale, written by Fran Bromage, illustrated by Louise Forshaw and published by MilesKelly Publishing.