Three Quick Questions: Norman Jorgensen #15

All through October, Alphabet Soup is celebrating turning three. We have heaps of writers and illustrators stopping by to answer THREE QUICK QUESTIONS and today’s visitor is Norman Jorgensen, author of The Last Viking and In Flanders Fields (and many other books, too!)

"The Last Viking (cover)"

1. Where do you like to write?

Down in my back garden, beyond where the pirates, kid-eating dinosaurs, scary monsters and teenage vampires all lurk, I have a studio surrounded by huge trees. The walls are painted bright red and on the wall behind my computer I have prints of old square-rigged sailing ships.  I also have a model of a WW I fighter hanging from the ceiling, and piles and piles of books.  It’s a bit of a Boy’s Own paradise, I’m afraid. It is not as tidy as a ten-year old’s bedroom, but at least a million times worse.

2. Can you name a book you’d recommend to our readers?

I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow–a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards: “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest—Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!” in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have been tuned and broken at the capstan bars.

It starts like this and just gets better and better. It is Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, of course, first published in 1883, and I re-read it every few years, mostly to remind myself why I want to be a writer. All pirate books and movies, including Pirates of the Caribbean, have been inspired by this one book, and it is the perfect read for a dark and stormy story night while huddled up under the covers with a torch.

Treasure Island (cover)
Norman Jorgensen recommends Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

3. Can you offer a word or phrase that kids could use for inspiration if they have writer’s block?

Then what happened?


What is the worst thing that could happen next?

Find out more about Norman Jorgensen and his books on his website and check out The Last Viking blog.

© October 2011 “Three Quick Questions with Norman Jorgensen” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow, when we’ll hear from poet Jackie Hosking! And don’t forget to enter our birthday giveaways … )