Friday 19 February 2010

Featured on Friday: Sally Nicholls

Sally Nicholls debut novel, Ways to Live Forever, won the 2008 Waterstone‘s Children’s Book prize. Season of Secrets is her sophomore novel.

1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
If I'm struggling, I'll go and write in a different place - this stops me getting too stale. I work best in the evenings, but have to train myself to write during the day, otherwise I'd never have a social life.

2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
As a teenager, I read a lot of science fiction - Terry Pratchett, Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, John Wyndham. As an adult, I have more favourite books than favourite authors

3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
Ooh ... hard question. The Norton Anthology of English Literature (both volumes), because it would take me ages to get through it and I'd hate to be stuck with nothing to read. And a big blank pad of paper (and a pen) so I could do some writing while I was there.

4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
Loads! Homer's the Iliad - because it's such a great story, so violent and descriptive, and because I'd love to write something which lasts that long. And Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, because it's so funny and clever and Cassandra is such a great character.

5. I loved all of the myths and legends in Season of Secrets. Was it hard to weave them into the story?
No ... the hardest part was working out what Molly was going to DO when she met the green man. And what to do with my villain! All the other stories were fairly easy, because I'd just finished writing Ways to Live Forever, where Sam is always telling stories, so it made sense for Molly to do the same.

6. Both Ways to Live Forever and Season of Secrets deal with loss in some form. Why is this such a prominent theme in your novels?
I like strong emotions, and I think young people do too - I certainly did when I was a teenager. I like big themes too - and death and loss are two of the biggest themes there are.

7. How did you tap into a child’s mindset so perfectly?
I have a good memory! And a small shoulder demon aged about ten who complains every time I put something unrealistic in there.

8. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
The book I'm writing at the moment is set in Yorkshire in 1349, at the time of the Black Death. It's very gruesome and - I hope - sad. I'm learning a lot of medieval England!

Sally also asked me to say hello to all my blog readers, so, ‘Hello!’ from Sally!

Thank you very much, Sally! You can visit Sally at her website here and read my review of Season of Secrets here.



  1. Yay, Sally! Hello back! I loved reading this interview - thanks very much to both of you. I love the sound of the next book, too.

  2. What a great interview! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great interview! I want to say hello back too :D

  4. Great interview!, I'm a new follower :)

    FYI, I just gave you an award at my blog :

  5. Cool interview! I liked Ways To Live Forever a lot, and I'll definitely be looking out for that novel set in Yorkshire at the time of the Black Death.

  6. Good interview, really enjoyed it.

  7. Hi Sally! Great interview :) Very excited for your next book! :)

  8. is this interviw real???
    i want to use it for schoolwork


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