In just a few days time award-winning authors Tim Bowler, Gillian Cross, Geraldine McCaughrean and Sally Prue will be visiting Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester and Bristol, as part of the Oxford University Press Author Roadshow. In the run up to their tour I had the opportunity to ask them about their experience of being on tour and talking with their readers. In today’s post I share what Tim Bowler and Gillian Cross had to say.
FCBG: What’s the funniest / most unusual question you’ve ever been asked by a member of the public when at a book event?
Tim: Have had lots of weird questions but a boy once asked me in all seriousness if I had a helicopter. When I said, ‘No, but I’ve got a jet,’ he went, ‘Wow!’ Oh, dear….
Gillian: “Why did you slide feet first up the stairs?” (Luckily I had an answer.)
FCBG: If you could programme a fantasy literary festival, which 5 authorsillustrators (alive or dead) would you invite to speak and why?
Tim: Fantasy Festival guests would have to include: Homer (to find out who the hell he/she was), Shakespeare (to worship), Keats (more worship), RL Stevenson (just to talk about Treasure Island and tick him off for making Jim Hawkins desert his friends in the stockade), and Arthur Ransome (because I meant to send him a fan letter as a boy but left it too late and he died before I could do so).
Gillian: I’d have Eleanor Farjeon, as a magical storyteller, Simon Armitage to give a fantastic poetry reading, Philip Pullman because he’s so passionate about books, Charles Dickens (to read about how Sykes murdered Nancy, of course), Frank Cottrell Boyce because he’s inspiring and very funny, and – oh drat, that’s five already! Can’t I have some more?
FCBG: For those of us not able to make your events on this tour, can you share a little of what you’ll be talking about?
Tim: I’ll be talking about Sea of Whispers and how the book came to be written.
Gillian: Suppose we had to be refugees? Suppose there were two English boys who had to run away to France . . .? Those were the questions that gave me the idea for After Tomorrow. I’ll be explaining where those questions came from and how I tried to make the book authentic. I’ll also talk about making footballs out of plastic bags – and how creepy it was when things I’d written started coming true . . .
FCBG: Thank you Tim and Gillian! I hope you get some great questions from readers on your tour next week.
Gillian Cross has been writing children’s book for over twenty years. Before that she took English degrees at Oxford and Sussex Universities, and she had various jobs, including working in a bakery and being an assistant to a Member of Parliament.
She is married with four children and lives in Dorset. Her hobbies include orienteering and playing the piano. She won the Carnegie Medal for Wolf and the Smarties Prize and the Whitbread Children’s Novel Award for The Great Elephant Chase.
Tim Bowler is one of the UK’s most compelling and original writers for teenagers. He was born in Leigh-on-Sea and, after studying Swedish at university, he worked in forestry, the timber trade, teaching, and translating before becoming a full-time writer. He lives with his wife in a small village in Devon and his workroom is an old stone outhouse known to his friends as ‘Tim’s Bolthole’.
Tim has written twenty books and won fifteen awards, including the prestigious CILIP Carnegie medal for River Boy. He has been described by the Sunday Telegraph as ‘the master of the psychological thriller’, and by the Independent as ‘one of the truly individual voices in British teenage fiction’.
Do return tomorrow to the FCBG blog when I’ll be putting the same questions to Geraldine McCaughrean and Sally Prue.