authors, teachers' resources

“Lights out!” (Sandy Fussell)

Sandy Fussell is visiting today, to tell us about what she got up to after ‘lights out’ when she was growing up! Sandy Fussell is the author of the Samurai Kids books (The first book in the series, White Crane, is pictured below), and Polar Boy. Her latest book is Jaguar Warrior, and the fifth Samurai Kids book — Fire Lizard — will be out in September 2010.

"White Crane (cover)""Jaguar Warrior Cover""Polar Boy cover"

"Sandy Fussell photo"
Sandy Fussell

I had a strict childhood. There were so many rules. Reading in the bedroom, in bed, under the covers, or otherwise was definitely not allowed. I wasn’t a rule-breaker to begin with but …

Rule Number One was bed time at 7.30pm. That’s doubly hard to take when you are in Year 12  and it’s summer daylight savings time, but my mother wasn’t one to argue with about anything. Her house, her rules. Rule Number Two was no more than one hour’s homework. That was also hard in Year 12 when I already had one subject over the scheduled 12 unit limit. Mum believed homework was set by teachers who didn’t get their work done during the day and she wasn’t going to help make up for their shortcomings. *sigh*

So I began doing my homework under the bed covers. My partner in crime was my grandfather who lived next door. He worked in the local coal mines all his life and firmly believed in the importance of a good education leading to a better job. I didn’t have any money so Pop bought me a torch and kept up the supply of batteries. Mum knew something was up but she couldn’t catch me. I was quick at turning off the torch and hiding the evidence. Mum thought I was reading in bed and removed my bookcase from my bedroom.

That didn’t seem fair to me. So after my illicit homework was done, I read, read, read. I was a huge science fiction and fantasy fan and luckily so was the school librarian. I loved those series of big thick books. It was pure escapism. From Frank Herbert’s Dune to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Empire, to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and William Horwood’s Duncton Wood.

In some ways not much has changed. Last night I finished Tallow, the first book in Karen Brooks ‘Curse of the Bond Rider’ series. The second title in the trilogy, Votive, isn’t out until March 2011. I don’t want to wait – that’s what I really want to read under the covers now. Right now! It’s a story of wonderful scope in very way – the world building, the characters and the narrative itself. Other titles on my immediate list are The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson), Thai-riffic (Oliver Phommavanh), Beatrice and Virgil (Yann Martel) and the last two books in the ‘Rangers Apprentice’ series.

There are winter days when I would be happy to stay in bed and read under the covers all day!

© 2010 Sandy Fussell

Visit Sandy Fussell’s website to find out more about the author and her books!

"Undercover Readers logo"Alphabet Soup magazine is celebrating the launch of Undercover Readers (our new reviewers club for kids)!  If you’d like to join the Undercover Readers Club, you’ll find an information pack you can download from the Alphabet Soup website. As part of the celebrations, we have a different children’s author or illustrator visiting Soup Blog each day until 29 June 2010 to talk about what they used to read after ‘lights out’ when they were growing up. So be sure to check back tomorrow!