Friday, 18 September 2009

Featured on Friday: Michelle Harrison

Michelle Harrison grew up in Essex and now lives in Oxfordshire with her partner. She is an author and illustrator and works for a children’s publisher. Her debut novel, The Thirteen Treasures, won the Waterstones’s Children’s Prize in January 2009.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
I work in the dining area of my flat, sometimes at my desk but mainly sitting on a day-bed as it’s more comfortable and closer to the window. I work here because it’s quietest (my partner, Darren, plays guitar a lot)!

I tend to work best during the day but only manage this at weekends as I work full-time as well as writing. Much of my writing is done in the evenings because of this.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
My favourite author as a teen was Christopher Pike. I read nearly all of his books, many of them several times. I also loved the Point Horror series.

Some of my favourite YA authors at the moment are Anne Cassidy, Sarah Singleton and Marcus Sedgwick, so my tastes haven’t really changed. I’ve always liked dark stories with twisty plots and elements of fantasy.

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
The Merrybegot by Julie Hearn, Good Faeries, Bad Faeries by Brian Froud, and a blank notebook for me to write in.

4. Do you prefer writing or illustrating?
I get equal satisfaction from both and find that the balance between them works really well.

5. Why did you decide to weave a mystery into The Thirteen Treasures?
For me the mystery aspect was the main thread of the story, everything else was woven around it. I’ve always been intrigued by mysteries and suspenseful stories, especially involving missing people.

6. What inspired you to write about faeries?
A couple of things come to mind: stories of fairies in the garden that my older sister told me when I was a child. Then later, I was introduced to the fairy art of Brian Froud and Arthur Rackham during my Illustration course, which challenged my perception of fairies and led me to think about the darker side.

7. Did you do a lot of research into faerie myth and folklore before you began writing The Thirteen Treasures?
I didn’t do so much research before as during, although I’ve always been interested in folklore and mythology. As ideas developed, I read more and began targeting my research on fairies as I went along.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I’ve just finished working on the edits for my second book, The Thirteen Curses, which is a sequel to The Thirteen Treasures and is due in January 2010.

In this story Red becomes the main character as she continues to search for her little brother, James, who was stolen by fairies. After making her way to the fairy courts she is set a task to complete for his return – but she soon discovers that there is more to the task, and getting her brother back, than she ever imagined.

Thank you very much, Michelle! You can visit Michelle at her website here and read my review of The Thirteen Treasures here.

Sophie

7 comments:

  1. Cool interview! I haven't heard of this series yet...but I'll check it out on AMAZON :-)

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  2. Brilliant interview! I thoroughly enjoyed reading that. Thanks!

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  3. I really need to read this series. Great interview!

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  4. I still need to read the first book too (have heard bunches of praise for it) just like the Amy above me:-D gREAT interview!
    The covers could be more creative though...
    -amy

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  5. I love dark and twisted. These sound great and nice interview with a wonderful author. I love the covers.

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  6. I loved this book so much and am so happy it was also my first ever UK purchase since I can't get it in Canada yet (grr!). AND I even bought The Merrybegot on Michelle's suggestion. Perhaps I should actually read it one day. Oops. I have so many books!!

    Thanks to both for a wonderful interview!

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