A big bundle of spidery goodness has just hit the shelves in the form of Milton The Mighty. I couldn’t resist ushering Emma Read into My Book Corner to tell us all about him…
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
I like desolate places – think deserts/moors. My favourite film is the 1978 Death on the Nile and I love badges, hats and notebooks (of course!)
Milton the Mighty illustrated by Alex G Griffiths, is your debut chapter book, has just been released. How did it come to be?
After being inspired by actual tabloid headlines I decided to write Milton’s tale of taking on fake news. I fell in love with him straight away, and once the manuscript was as polished as I could make it, I entered it into the Bath Children’s Novel Award. There, it caught the attention of Chicken House editor Rachel Leyshon and we signed a deal soon after. Which makes it sound so straightforward. It wasn’t!
When did you first get a glimpse at Alex’s interpretation of Milton?
I was in a meeting with my editor, Kesia Lupo and she’d just received some first impressions of Milton – I had no idea what to expect, as even I’ll admit, it’s hard to make a small brown spider look cute. But Alex had managed it brilliantly. Although they were just preliminary sketches, they captured Milton perfectly and I was thrilled.
Where is your favourite place to create?
I don’t have one particular spot – my brain just does its thing whenever it feels like it! I’m usually in a small corner of my bedroom at my desk but have also been known to type leaning on a stack of pallets in the garden, scrawl on the back of an envelope at the doctors’ surgery and dictate to my phone on the school run!
What’s on your TBR pile at the moment?
All of the books! There are too many fabulous books published recently to mention – currently I have Michelle Obama’s Becoming on Audible, Alvy Carragher’s The Cantankerous Molly Darling on my desk, Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom by the bed and Marisa Noelle’s The Unadjusteds on pre-order!
What’s your worst habit?
Hermitting. I don’t think that’s a word but let’s say it’s the thing I do when I don’t leave the house for ages – I can hermit for a long time if there is enough tea, books and Netflix.
The strangest question you’ve even been asked?
Apart from this one? My kids ask me the most wonderfully weird questions and I always pay attention in case one of them sparks a book idea! My first published short story was inspired by a weird question: If you were going to come back as a ghost what would you wear to haunt people in?
Your favourite word(s)?
My favourite word to write in cursive script is lily because it’s like writing while conducting an orchestra. To say aloud– I like intercontinental and cephalothorax (to keep it on a spidery theme).
What are your top tips for budding children’s writers?
Read widely, which is a common tip but an important one. Look for ideas everywhere, and never dismiss an idea as too peculiar, especially if it keeps needling at you. Practice your craft – the competition is tough.
Can you give us a glimpse / hint at your current WIP? (I can bribe you with cake!)
It’s not a secret that Milton will be getting a sequel – there will be a new adventure, new thrills, some new friends and a dastardly new villain. And flying – some unusual flying! (Victoria sponge for me please!)
Did we forget anything?
You can also find me mentoring unagented writers at WriteMentor.
Just for fun
Tea or coffee?
Tea. Unless there’s an almond milk latte on offer. This isn’t going well
Seaside or countryside?
Seaside. Preferably somewhere near the countryside.
Paper books or e-books?
Paper…. but if I’m reading for a competition – e-book!
Cake or chocolate?
Now this is getting impossible. Chocolate. No, cake. Chocolate. Hmm.
Write or type?
Type (manuscript) Write (ideas)
Poetry or prose?
Prose. (I’m getting better at this now)
Hot or cold?
Warm. (Sorry – I failed)