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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?

or

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 … )

Posted in authors

Three Quick Questions: Sandy Fussell #13

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 Sandy Fussell, author of many books including the Samurai Kids series, Polar Boy and  Jaguar Warrior.

Monkey Fist by Sandy Fussell"Jaguar Warrior Cover"

 

1. Where do you like to write?

I write everywhere—even at the school bus stop. I like to sit in the sun and draft longhand but when it comes to the ‘spit and polish’ I work on a laptop in my office.

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

I am very fortunate as a reviewer to have an advance copy of The Outcasts, the first book in John Flanagan’s new Brotherband series. I think it’s even better than his Ranger’s Apprentice books and I loved those. The Outcasts is released 1 November.

the outcasts
Sandy Fussell recommends The Outcasts by John Flanagan

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

I have two favourites. ‘snizzle’ which I used in Polar boy (a snizzle of snow’) and ‘screak’ (the screak of a bat) which I used in Samurai Kids 2: Owl Ninja. I collect unusual words and often use them as inspiration or to give a description more impact.

Find out more about Sandy Fussell and her books—visit her website and the Samurai Kids website.

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

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow, when we’ll hear from 8-year-old poet Frederique!)

Posted in illustrator

Three Quick Questions: Mark Wilson (#7)

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 Mark Wilson, author and illustrator of many books, including Ben and Gracie’s Art Adventure and  The Little Wooden Horse.Ben and Gracie's Art Adventure (cover)

  The Little Wooden Horse (cover)

1. Where do you like to write/do your artwork?

At the beach or around the coast somewhere. I love rock pools and rocky headlands.

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

The Mr. Badger series, by Leigh Hobbs. The most brilliant little pen and ink drawing on page after page!

 

Mr Badger (cover)
Mark Wilson recommends the Mr Badger series by Leigh Hobbs

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

Two words … Stay cool.

Find out more about Mark’s books and illustrations on his website!

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

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow, when author Cristy Burne answers our Three Quick Questions.)

Posted in info

Three Quick Questions: Tania McCartney (#6)

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 Tania McCartney, author of the ‘Riley the Little Aviator’ series. The latest is the series is Riley and the Grumpy Wombat.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat (cover)

1. Where do you like to write?

In my trackie dacks. All hail the trackie dacks! I write from within these dacks … though of course, I don’t use my legs to type. I suppose I could get little teensy trackie dacks made for my fingers? I also like to write in cafés with my laptop, although I don’t wear my trackie dacks to the café. If you saw my trackie dacks, you’d know why.

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

I read the new Dr Seuss book—The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories—and it wasn’t even published yet, so I felt very special seeing it so early. My heart was thumping out of my chest when I first picked it up. It thumped so hard, I had to give the book a hug to calm my heart down. I know I don’t need to recommend a new Dr Seuss book, because if you’re a reader, you’ll know how good the book will absolutely most certainly be. So I won’t say a thing. Except “read it”!

 

The Bippolo Seed (cover)
Tania McCartney recommends The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr Seuss

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

Onomatopoeia. (That’s all those funny words that sound like something—crash, tinkle, splash, squelch … you can use them to kick-start any sentence.)

Tania’s latest book—Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: a journey around Melbourne—is out now. See more on Tania’s books at www.taniamccartney.com or visit her book character Riley at his own blog—www.rileyaviator.blogspot.com. Make sure you stop by www.kids-bookreview.com for some really cool book reviews and author/illustrator interviews, too!

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

(Psst … see you back here tomorrow, when author- illustrator Mark Wilson answers our Three Quick Questions.)

Posted in info

Three Quick Questions: Oliver Phommavanh (#1)

Hurrah! It’s October!

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 we are thrilled to hear from Oliver Phommavanh, comedian and author of Thai-riffic and Con-nerd.

Thai-riffic! (cover)con-nerd (cover)

1. Where do you like to write?

In libraries, surrounded by books and other nerds who are studying.

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

Northwood by Brian Falkner— a wonderful adventure book with weird things going on.

northwood cover
Oliver Phommavanh recommends Northwood by Brian Falkner

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

Passion! (Write about things you love.)

Find out more about Oliver Phommavanh and his books by visiting his website and his blog.

(Psst … tomorrow illustrator Frané Lessac answers our Three Quick Questions!)

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