Hello lovely blog readers! I have been wanting to start a little bookish Q and A series here on my blog for a while now, mainly because (a) I’m nosy, and (b) bookish people (I’m talking librarians, authors, bloggers, book pushers everywhere) are the best, and that is a scientifically verifiable fact*
*It might not be scientific. Or verifiable. But I feel it in my heart, and therefore, it’s a fact!
To start off my new series, I asked the wonderful, chocolate obsessed author, Chris Callaghan some questions.
Chris is the author of THE GREAT CHOCOPLOT, and believe me, the story is as awesome as the title. This was me when I finished it:
1. What was your path to publication? Did you query agents? Or go straight to publishers?
It’s a bit of an unusual path. I’ve spent 40 years writing stories for purely pleasurable purposes and even though I’ve dreamed of being published, I didn’t really think people like me could be published. So I never pushed my stories out. While I was a Stay at Home Dad, I wrote a story for my daughter as a Christmas present. Just after Christmas, a major publisher (Chicken House) announced an open day for children’s stories. I popped my story off in an email – for a giggle really – and they liked it!! Two years later it was published. Madness!!
2. What’s your writing process like? Do you pants it with no plan or are you a plotter? Are you first drafts messy or clean? Do you have to do loads of editing rounds?
I’ve tried writing long stories in the past without any real plan, but these always ended up as overly complicated messes. This story had a natural plan to it (six days leading up to a chocolate extinction!), so I planned what happened on each of these days and the story did the rest! The publishers said they were very impressed with my first draft – but we later spent two years editing it, so they couldn’t have been that impressed!
3. Can you give us a teaser about your latest WIP?
No WIP, I’m afraid. This book being published has always been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m trying to make the most of being a published author by visiting schools and libraries and sharing my story while there is still interest in it. And then I’m back to the real world. But I will always look back on my time as an author with huge fondness – I wonder if someday I might even believe that it really happened!
4. What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?
We are a very close knit family (my wife and daughter) and we try to spend a lot of time with each other. Whether that is sitting watching telly or wandering aimlessly around the shops, it doesn’t matter. As for hobbies – not really. I love listening to music. Properly listening to music. I believe you should give music just as much attention as you give a book.
5. What’s the one book that’s shaped your writing?
I didn’t read much as a child, so I’ve loved discovering children’s books with my daughter. I read Northern Lights a few years ago and was blown away by it. It completely opened my eyes to the idea of children’s books not just being for children – but for everyone. It hasn’t really shaped my writing (Philip Pullman has a slightly (!!) different style to me!), but it has certainly shaped my world. But I do have a huge soft spot for Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen & Arthur Robins. It makes me smile EVERY time I read it. And I’ve read it A LOT!
Quick fire round!
Tea or Coffee: Coffee
Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings: Lord of the Rings
Writing on your laptop or on pen and paper: Laptop
Favourite writing snack: Chocolate (obviously!)
Favourite author(s): Douglas Adams
Favourite book you’ve read in 2016: Oh, blimey! That is soooo hard. I hate rating books and putting them in some kind of order – the publishing world is OBSESSED with doing that. Books are so incredible subjective and individual. My moods and preferences change constantly. Quick fire round, you say? No, can’t do it … sorry!!
Thank you so much to Chris for being such a great answer-er! Also, this Q&A has made me want to eat ALL THE CHOCOLATE all over again. If you love books and want to answer my silly questions about them, PLEASE email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)!