Hugest, warmest welcome to children’s author, Claire Barker. I adored her latest novel, Picklewitch and Jack. So I’m delighted that she’s popped into My Book Corner today, to answer our questions.
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
I am a children’s author living in wild Devon. I write magical, funny fantasy books for 7 to 9-year-olds, mostly about unusual friendships.
Picklewitch and Jack, your latest middle-grade adventure novel, has just hit the shelves, how did it come to be?
There was a sign in the next village, scrawled on a board. It had an arrow pointing down a lane and said : ‘BEWARE- WITCH’S DEN’. every time I passed it, it got me wondering. . To start with I assumed it was part of a child’s game but then I started to consider the possibility that it wasn’t. The idea of a witch living amongst us, but not at all fitting the usual mould began to take root. I’m interested in oddball characters behaving badly so sensible Jack was the perfect foil to her chaotic nature. Once I’d come up with the idea of the pairing, the dramatic tension between the two was irresistible.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I write in a caravan. I’d call it a shepherd’s hut but then I’d have to hunt down David Cameron. It has a tiny stove called a Pipsqueak, a fold down bed, a comfortable chair, bookshelves and a window that looks out over the fields. The only sound is birdsong.
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
The Midult ‘I’m Absolutely Fine’ and Daisy Johnson’s ‘Everything Under’.
What’s your worst habit? I am untidy and rather chaotic. And I fall asleep in films.
The strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
A child once asked me if I married my illustrators.
Your favourite word(s)?
Numinous, because it is a beautiful, rare word that describes a beautiful, rare experience.
What are your top tips for budding children’s writers?
Write the story you wanted to read as a child.
Character comes first. Ask your character questions and they will show you the story they want to live in.
Good writing causes the reader to feel things.
Can you give us a glimpse/hint at your current WIP? (I can bribe you with cake!)
Haha! You are a naughty pickle. No, but suffice to say I’m working on four currently. My head has ‘shopping centre’ levels of activity.
Did we forget anything?
If you are anything like me then it’s very possible. It’s a very good question though.
Just for fun
Tea or coffee? Tea
Seaside or countryside? Seaside
Paper books or e-books? Paper
Cake or chocolate? chocolate
Write or type? write
Poetry or prose? poetry
Hot or cold? cold
Thanks so much Claire. You can find out more about Picklewitch and Jack here.