Maggi Gibson has always been a big reader and her and her seven year old friends inspired Sassy, Cordelia and Taslima. She now lives in Scotland with her husband and two daughters.
1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
When starting a new book I like to try to write first thing in the morning at my desk- before real life starts to crowd my mind. But once I've got a story up and running I can become a bit obsessive, you know the way it is when you're reading a book you can't put down? Well, I become like that about writing and will write anytime, anywhere.
2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
When I was a teen there weren't books specifically aimed at teens. Also, we had to read a lot of the English classics at school, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, Silas Marner, plus Shakespeare, and it didn't leave much time for reading purely for pleasure. I hated when I HAD to read something one chapter a week. So when I was a teen, although I loved some of the books we were forced to read, I was almost turned off reading.
3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
Seriously Sassy, Pinch Me, I'm Dreaming and Crazy Days. Only joking! I have all of those in my head, so I wouldn't need to take them. Oh, this is a hard one! I would take To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, I Captured the Castle by Dodi Smith and something by my favourite author, Margaret Atwood. Probably The Blind Assassin, which I thought was an amazing book. I think I could read that over and over.
4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
I would love to have written Cupcake by Rachel Cohn. I think it's a brilliant YA novel. Quirky, but with a real heart. I also love Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. I found it quite magical, yet it's set in the real world. I love the central idea, that it's okay to be different, and that we should try to embrace difference and not squash it on other people.
5. Is music as important to you as it is to Sassy?
The reason I wrote about a girl who had a great singing voice, is because I really can't sing! I so wish I could, and I sing inside my head all the time, but when I sing out loud it coms out all wrong! But where Sassy sings to deal with her strong emotions, I write poetry. Not that different really. Someone else might get the same release from drawing or painting, or running or swimming. Where I am like Sassy is that I can be very passionate about things, have very strong emotions. For people like me it's important to have some kind of coping mechanism. I hope that my readers will follow Sassy's example and find their own way to deal with strong emotions, to turn what can feel like negative energy into something positive.
6. Why did you decide to make green issues and campaigning such a big issue in Seriously Sassy?
I think it's the big issue of our times, especially for children and teens. There really is a problem, and so much of our world is geared towards getting things for yourself and never seeing the bigger picture, the fact that if you're using lots of resources then someone else somewhere in the world or in the future might have to pay the price. Also, I think as individuals we're in danger of feeling powerless, of thinking we can't make a difference. I want all young people to know they CAN make a difference and that what they think and believe in and do is important.
7. I thought that Sassy’s voice was spot on. Was it difficult to think and write in the mindset of a thirteen-year-old?
Quite a lot of people have mentioned that. Actually, I don't find it hard at all to write in Sassy's voice. It just feels natural. I think a bit of me inside is thirteen still, and I just tap into that. Also, when I exchange emails with my younger daughter (well, she's 23 now!) we tend to write in that kind of teen-speak, so I suppose I had practice in that voice.
8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
I've got the fourth Seriously Sassy book all worked out and started, but I'm not sure when or if that will be coming out. Fingers crossed. I'm about to start today on a new series. I never quite know when I start an idea if it will suddenly veer off in a totally different direction from I intended, so I'm wary of saying too much! It will be about a group of girls, probably 11 years old. They will each be quirky in their own way. There will be boy-stuff in it cos I love the whole romantic thing, and I like creating cool boy characters. Beyond that, it's at such an early stage, I really can't say!
Thanks so much, Maggi! You can visit Maggie at her website here and read my review of Seriously Sassy here.