If you’ve visited my blog or my Twitter lately you will have seen that I have raved about a certain middle grade book A LOT, namely The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Philips. If you’ve missed my review, you can check it out here. I was therefore over the moon when I got the chance to ask the (very lovely!) author of the book some questions. Big thank you to TheWriteReads for making this possible as part of the current #UltimateBlogTour, and also big thanks to Jack for taking the time to answer my questions! I don’t want to waffle on for a long time now because Jack’s answers are hilarious and outstanding and brilliant, and this was most certainly the best author interview I have ever done, but just so you know – this was not all! Tomorrow my lovely friend Ellie will post the second part of this interview with her questions and Jack’s answers on her blog ReadtoRamble, so make sure to check that out too!
Without further ado, let’s get straight into the interview!
Ebenezer was searching for a particularly “bad“ child in the orphanage. As a child, do you think you were on Santa‘s naughty or nice list?
Definitely the nice list – I have the rollerblades and the ruffled shirts fresh from the fireplace to prove it.
The truth of the matter is that I was an insufferable goody two-shoes. Part of the reason I wrote Bethany was because that’s the sort of child I wish I’d been; crude, confident, and cavalier about of the consequences of shoving a worm up someone’s nostrils.
Were you a child that enjoyed reading? Did you have a favourite children‘s book growing up?
If it were not for a certain Mr Snicket, it’s likely that I would have never taken to reading, let alone writing. His books show that reading can be as exhilarating and scream-inducing as the most ill-tested of rollercoasters. I blame him for how most of my life has turned out.
Was becoming an author always your dream?
From about the age of 10, yes. There was a creative writing competition in school. I submitted a wonderful tale brimming with tea and treachery, and imagined that I’d be soon invited to rewrite all the great classics in literature’s history.
Sadly, and quite rightly, the judges did not care for my Magnus Opus. I have been writing ever since in an attempt to get them to overturn their woeful decision.
Why is there a bird shop in the book? Why do birds – of all animals – play such an important part in it?
I’ve been deeply suspicious of birds for quite some time. Anything that can swoop down and shock you with a nasty quack or coo unsettles me greatly.
I introduced the bird shop primarily to have an excuse to get revenge on as many of the creatures as possible. In future books I plan on taking a similarly mature approach to dealing with my other phobias; small-talk with someone you sort of know, and the sound of a poorly-played harp.
Do you have a pet bird – or would you like one? If so, what would you name him?
I love Turkeys. I name them all ‘dinner.’
Ebenezer is over 500 years old – wow!! Will we find out more about his life with the beast in the sequel?
If Ebenezer gets out of the first book alive, it would certainly seem a pity not to find out what he and the beast got up to over all those years.
Ebenezer and Bethany read lots of comics together. Do you like comics? Do you have a favourite?
Oh yes. I started a subscription to the Beano when I was 10, and I haven’t yet had the heart to cancel it.
If you could live for five centuries, what would you do with all your time?
Probably get very bored.
Imagine how terrible it would be to live for that long. A couple of years would feel like an afternoon, all your friends would keep on dying around you. If you achieve anything, you’ll soon see the memory of it fade away.
I think about a century and a half, spent under the protection of eternal youth elixirs, would be about the right amount to go for.
Why is Ebenezer so afraid of growing old? Are you?
Nothing looks fun about the ageing process. You’re wise but no-one listens to you. You have all the free time in the world, but you probably can’t do anything useful with it, like dancing or rally-car driving. I’m totally on Ebenezer’s page, on this particular matter.
If you could live in the world of one of your favourite books, where would that be?
All the books I enjoy would be far too terrifying to live in. Except for perhaps The Inimitable Jeeves – I think my nerves could just about handle the world of pick-me-ups and entanglements with villainous aunts.
If you had a beast in your attic like Ebenezer, what would you want it to spit out for you?
Apparently, Anthony Hopkins wrote a script for an unmade Hannibal Lecter film. I’d get the beast to vomit out that, or perhaps even the man himself. Tony would be charming to have around – I’d keep him perched atop the mantlepiece at all times.