MEET THE AUTHOR
Cristy Burne is a science writer and children’s author. You might have read her adventure novels To the Lighthouse and Off the Track. If you love reading nonfiction keep an eye out for Zeroes and Ones: The geeks, heroes and hackers who changed history.
Cristy Burne’s brilliant award-winning Takeshita Demons series has recently been re-released as a series of e-books with new covers and a new series title: Hashimoto Monsters. Today we’re chatting with Cristy about the series!
Your Hashimoto Monsters series is quite different in style from your other junior fiction novels. What sort of readers will love this series?
These books are full of supernatural monsters, creepy chills and Japanese culture. They are scary, but they’re also funny and a little bit strange. They’re popular with kids who love fantasy adventure stories. I’d say if you’re aged between eight and twelve and you like the Goosebumps series, you’ll like to read these.
Why Japanese monsters? Did you read a lot of horror/scary books as a child?
I get scared VERY easily and I can’t watch scary movies, but I love action and adventure. And I *love* Japanese monsters. I lived for three years in Japan and studied Japanese monsters for even longer after that.
Japanese monsters aren’t always monstrous. Some are kind, some are sad, some are strange (like the one that sneaks up behind you to invisibly touch the back of your neck), some are insanely happy (like the Laughing Woman who just doesn’t stop laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing … which is a bit creepy, now that I think of it.)
Which is your favourite monster/demon? Why?
I love the aka-na-me, which translates directly to “Filth Licker”. This is the monster you really want for a friend. He’s loves to clean, so you don’t have to. In Japanese mythology, he comes out at night to lick dirty bathrooms till they sparkle … Seriously, could there be any better creature?
In my books, he also cleans laundries, kitchens, dirty faces, you name it. Plus his super-sensitive tongue can taste out clues. He’s like a detective in a frog’s skin.
I also love Betobeto-san, or “Mr Footsteps”. He’s Japan’s answer to that spooky feeling you sometimes get that you’re being followed. Because … drumroll … you ARE being followed. By Betobeto-san. The good news is Betobeto-san is a sort of oversized, invisible marshmallow on legs. He eats the sound of your footsteps (and then spits it out again), but he’s quite shy and not at all dangerous.
Do you have any tips for kids who want to write horror/scary stories?
Scary stories are scariest when you don’t let the reader know what’s coming next. So if there’s a zombie in the next room, don’t give away that information too early. Instead, drop little clues … Slow the action right down. Describe little details, so every creak and every moan, every scent and every sensation invades your reader’s mind. And let your character’s imagination run wild too… What we worry about and imagine might happen is often worse than what actually happens.
And most of all … have fun! Scary stories are so much fun to write because it’s fun to scare ourselves. Ghost story, anyone?
What is your current writing project (or what you might like to tackle next)? Can you tell us a bit about it?
I’m working on an authorised biography of Dr Fiona Wood, who is an incredibly inspiring person. She’s a doctor, a burns surgeon, the inventor of ‘spray-on skin’, and was Australian of the Year in 2005.
It is such an honour to work with Fiona on this book, and to learn about her life when she was a kid. Why did she decide to become a doctor? What was she like at school? What was it like to grow up on the coal mines of England and go on to become a famous Australian hero?
I’m also working on another adventure story for Fremantle Press (and this one’s going to have platypus, flash floods and lots and lots of LEECHES!), plus a fantasy-meets-science series I’m co-authoring with Denis Knight, called Wednesday Weeks.
So I’m super busy, but I try not to get overwhelmed. I just try to do little bits on each project each day.
- Check out the Hashimoto Monsters series as ebooks here.
- Contact Cristy Burne directly if you’d prefer physical copies of Takeshita Demons. (It’s the same series, but sports the original series title.)
- Get Book 1 in the series for FREE! (Available free from Smashwords if you order by 31 May 2020)
- Learn more about Japanese Monsters or yokai (妖怪)
- Read our 2009 interview with Cristy Burne here. (She talks about the head that inspired the books!)
- Free Teachers’ Notes and activities
- Visit Cristy’s website for news about her upcoming books!