In honour of the fabulous Doodeedoo being released today, here is a great interview with author Tony Gilbert:
What books or authors have influenced your writing?
As a children’s author, my original and best influence would have to be Roald Dahl. Now, that’s not to say that my writing style is even remotely similar but ‘Revolting Rhymes’, for example is right up my street. I love the mad rhymes and crazy stories and I have tried to incorporate that type of thing into both ‘Doodeedoo’ and ‘Super Fred’.
Are you a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’?
What’s plotting? I’ve tried plotting my work before but I end up fighting with myself and it completely changes during the actual writing. I think, what the hell, I’ll write and see what happens. You don’t plot life, you roll with the punches and that is what I try to do with my writing.
Do the illustrations come first, or the writing?
In regards to my picture books this is? Writing first, every time. After all, the illustrators are the ones with the talent, all I do is put a load of crazy words together that shouldn’t rhyme, but really do.
Why have you chosen your particular genre?
To tell you the truth, I haven’t. I love writing my picture book rhymes but I also write novels for older children (‘The Youngest Knight’ comes out early 2015 through Ghostly Publishing) and adult fiction (recently my work has been featured in a JWKFiction anthology, ‘Terror Train’ and my own short story/poem collection, ‘Driftwood From The Specific’, comes out within the next two months). I’m constantly trying different styles and age ranges and I’m not ready to tie myself down to one in particular just yet.
What inspired you to get writing?
Truthfully it’s a rather dull and cliché story. I have always been a big reader and one day I went to my book shelf and realised there was nothing I fancied. I could, of course, have popped down the library or down to the bookshop, but no, I decided to jump into a life of hardship and write my own.
Is your book based on any real life experiences?
Of course. In fact, Doodeedoo, the monster made out of socks and superglue went to the same school as me. Unfortunately I lost contact with him shortly after year six. I think he passed his eleven plus and went to grammar school, though I can’t be sure.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a writer?
I don’t thing I find it a challenge really. Is it a challenge to sit down and write down the weird things in my head? Is it a challenge to come up with ideas? Not really.
I know a lot of people struggle with rejection, bad reviews etc, but they don’t really bother me. I know not everyone will like what I have done, but I do, so there!
What are you reading right now?
I am reading Elgon Williams – ‘Fried Windows – In A Light White Sauce’.
I am finishing up a poetry book which has been completely written by the pupils at the school of two of my children. It is something we decided to do to raise money for the school library.
Also, finishing up the editing of my short story collection, ‘Driftwood From The Specific’. This is a prime example of my not sticking to a particular genre. As well as poetry, it contains horror, scifi, noir and general fiction.
Writing wise, I am currently about 2000 words into my first full length adult novel.
Tell us a little about your book, and who it would appeal to.
Doodeedoo is based on the Frankenstein’s Monster story. Created by a tiny mouse with terrific sewing skills, he is scared and lonely. When he goes missing, the mouse has to search the house and find out why he ran away.
The illustrations are by my super talented wife, Sammy.
I have aimed the story at children the same ages as my own children, so anywhere from 0 to 10.
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