MJ Fahy

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Q: When you were my age (9), did you like to read?

A: When I was your age I would read all the time (even in bed, by torchlight). I’d read everything – even the writing on shampoo bottles! I liked reading newspapers too.

Q: What was your favorite author or book?

A: My favorite author when I was very small (5 – 7yrs) was Beatrix Potter. Then when I was your age I loved Enid Blyton stories, especially The Magic Faraway Tree, Malory Towers, The Famous Five, and The Secret Seven.

Q: how do you get your story ideas?

A: From everywhere, I think a writer’s experiences in life often find themselves in their books. The cottage from The Magpie King is based on my grandparents’ house; it’s also the place where I was born. The garden even has an old willow tree too.

Q: is it hard to write a book?

A: For me, the hardest part is setting aside time to write and making sure I write every day. Silly little things sometimes break my concentration: like one of the dogs throwing up, or a new unidentified bird visiting the bird-feeder (I can see the bird-feeder from a window of my writing shed), so I have to grab my binoculars to look and suddenly I find another hour has passed by with no writing done!

Q: what authors do you like right now? Any lesser known ones you can recommend?

A: I have a wide taste in books, in all genres, so that’s a tough question. I very much like Joe Abercrombie’s writing; he writes gritty (lots of sword fights) stories with main characters who aren’t always very likeable. I enjoyed reading George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasies (A Song of Ice and Fire). And I like Angelika Rust’s fantasy novellas too. Some British children’s writers whose books I’ve enjoyed recently are M.G. Leonard (Beetle Boy, Beetle Queen, Battle of the Beetles), and Peter Bunzl and his books about automata (Cogheart, and Moonlocket).

Q: what is the best part of being an author?

A: Having someone say that they loved my book/s. There’s no other feeling quite like it. Also, I really like buying pens and notebooks (too much!), and going into stationery stores to look at pens and notebooks.

Q: any advice for a kid who wants to be an author?

A: Always have a pen and notebook with you! You never know when a brilliant idea is going to pop into your head, and being without the resources to write it down is maddening. And always believe in yourself, if you want to write, go for it! Never let anyone tell you ‘You can’t write’. Finally, Read! Read! Read! Reading everything and anything will make you a better writer; exposing yourself to different writing styles will help you find your own unique ‘voice’.

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