A Word With ...

A Word With ... - blog post image

I am delighted to welcome author Lindsay Littleson as my guest today. If, like me, you enjoyed The Awkward Autumn of Lily McClean check out the prequel, The Mixed Up Summer of Lily McClean, and look out for Lindsay's new book,  Guardians of the Wild Unicorns which will be published later this year.  


Thanks to all the Student Interviewers who have sent in questions for today's guest, and to you Lindsay for answering them today. 

Who’s your favourite music artist?

No particular favourite artist, but lots of favourite songs.I save my favourites on Spotify playlists with titles like ‘party ’, ‘quiet’ and ‘ironing’ (I rarely listen to the last one).

What is your favourite film?

A. My favourite film of all time is Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s a very old, black and white film, but it’s truly magical and the ending makes me cry every time. I also love Disney Pixar’s Up, for the same reasons.

If you could acquire any talent or superpower what would it be?

I would love to be able to sing well, as I’m embarrassingly bad.

I’d choose flight as my superpower as then I’d never have to fly with Ryanair or Easyjet again.

Who is your favourite fictional hero?

I have two favourites. Katniss from The Hunger Games and Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird. They both have dignity and integrity and I love that in a person.

Who is your favourite fictional villain?

Miss Trunchbull from Matilda is a real horror, but Dolores Umbridge is truly evil, so she wins.

Which is your favourite character from your books?

That’s an impossible question to answer, as it’s a bit like being asked which of my children I love most! I figure that if I don’t love my characters, I can’t expect my readers to engage with them. I even get fond of my villains. Miss Arbuckle in A Pattern of Secretswas great fun to write, because she’s so rude to people.

If you could be any fictional character which one would you choose?

The trouble with fictional characters is that for a story to be really interesting/exciting/funny/scary the author has to give the main character a really hard time. The character might get their happy ending but they have a tough time on the way. If they don’t, then the story tends to be dull. So, am I coming in at the happy ending, or at the beginning of the story?

If you could meet any character from history, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

I’m writing a book about the Titanic disaster and so if I could meet anyone from history, I’d like to meet Captain Smith in Southampton on the 11thApril 1912. I’d tell him not to travel at speed through a field of icebergs.

What’s your favourite occupation when you’re not writing?

A. I love to read, but haven’t actually got much spare time, as I teach full time and write in my weekends and holidays. Sometimes, I have to admit, my favourite occupation is doing nothing at all.

What’s your fantasy profession?

Being a children’s author was always my dream career, although in my dreams I was earning much more money.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your days what would it be?

Macaroni cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food. Although I guess I’d get bored eventually, as Frances does in Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban, which is one of my favourite picture books.

Who are your favourite children’s authors?

Too many to name, but here are a few…Jacqueline Wilson, Katherine Rundell, Joan Aiken, Edith Nesbit, Abi Elphistone, Michael Morpurgo… I think children’s writers have a really difficult task, as their stories have to grip readers from start to finish. No droning on allowed.

Is there a book you love to reread?

I don’t usually choose to read a book more than once but I have read Jane Eyrea few times. And I read Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH andThe Hobbit to each of my four children in turn and enjoyed both books every time!

Do you have any advice for young writers and storytellers?

My advice would be to use post it notes to plot your story, and then once you are clear about what happens and why, focus on writing it all down, without worrying too much about spelling and grammar. You can sort all that stuff in your second draft. The plotting and storytelling come first.

What can we look forward to from you next?

Guardians of the Wild Unicornsis coming out in February. It’s a fantasy adventure set in the Scottish Highlands. The Titanic Detective Agency is coming out later in 2019. I’ll leave you to guess where that story is set!

Thank you so much Lindsay - it sounds to me like you have four very lucky children and a lucky class of students too! I'm with you on your superpowers - love it - and on doing nothing but most of all the ironning. I think I'd put all me least favourite songs on that playlist! I've just re-read and adored Joan Aiken's Wolves of Willoughby Chase so that should be appearing on The Bookshelf very soon.

In the meantime, you can find out more or contact Lyndsay through her website here.

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Teachers - have you discovered @BookPenPals? A new initiative pairing authors & illustrators with schools to make reading recommendations via postcards. They're pretty oversubscribed, but if you're interested it might be worth getting your name on the waiting list. They have some fabulous authors on board.