|Best critique partner a girl could have ~ author Karen M. Johnston|
What made you chose children’s lit? What inspired this particular story?
Even though BIG BOYS DON’T SPY is my second children’s novel published (my debut novel: THE WITNESS TREE AND THE SHADOW OF THE NOOSE hit the shelves in April 2009), it was the first novel I wrote. I decided to write for kids after reading aloud to my children every evening. We would come up with ideas for impossible characters and crazy plots, and I just had to write the stories down on paper to find out what was going to happen to them.
My eldest son, Thomas, was the main drive behind BIG BOYS DON’T SPY, a humorous novel about a twelve-year-old boy obsessed with spying. Thomas was a huge fan of James Bond and had (and still has) a fantastic imagination. He would give me all these ideas for gadgets and spy plots and twists that I just couldn’t ignore.
What was your favorite story as a child?
Being a British born writer, my favorite author as a child had to be Enid Blyton’s, I couldn’t get enough of The Faraway Tree series. I loved the idea that you could climb up a tree in your own back yard and escape through a hole in the clouds into another land. Ooh, just thinking about that makes me want to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and go on another adventure of my own…
What advice would you give a writer starting out today?
1. Savor the journey.
2. Don’t stress about the quality of the writing on the first draft—we all write rubbish that no one has to see. The real story is in the editing (you cannot edit a blank page).
3. And finally, as Woody Allen says, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” So show up and write every day.
What else can we expect from Karen E. M. Johnston, authoress?
Well, I just sent my first YA novel to my agent, so I am pretty excited about that, and I am now working on a second young adult novel. These pesky teenagers have worked a way into my heart and my soul and I just can’t ignore them.
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