Thanks for taking the time to do this interview, Judi. Tell us about your latest book, The Time Spell. The Time Spell begins in modern day Ireland, with a 12 year old girl who absolutely doesn’t believe in fantasy or magic. Despite this, she finds herself whisked back to 1912. She makes friends, and is beginning to settle in, when she discovers that she is aboard the Titanic. Now her dilemma is whether it is possible (or right) to change the past, and if there is any way she can save her new friends.
That sounds like an exciting mix – I love children’s literature and it’s definitely a book I’d choose to read. But now that you’ve established a successful writing career, how does launching a new book compare to the first time you had a book published?
There’s still a great sense of achievement when I see a new book on the shelves, but I have to admit that this is one occasion when the first time is probably the best.
On the O’Brien press website you were interviewed by a nine year old fan – how did this feel? How important is it for writers to be accessible to their readers?
Children can be harsh critics, so I always respect their comments. It was lovely to be interviewed by a girl who had put so much thought into her questions.
The accessibility of authors is a welcome change from when I was a child, and never thought of authors as real people. I think it’s great that so many readers write to me, or e-mail me, and I hope my replies will trigger even more enthusiasm for reading.
I know what you mean; always had my nose in a book as a child but the writer was an elusive creature. Now you’re a writer, how do you manage to balance writing with the public side of things; festivals, school visits, readings, TV etc?
It’s a bit of a dilemma. Writers are supposed to be tortured, introverted souls, and yet, without public appearances, it’s very difficult to sell books. Luckily, as a teacher and parent, I’m comfortable amongst groups of children, and I really enjoy doing readings. Unfortunately though, I have to limit the amount of events I do, as it is easy to become swamped, and find there is no time left for writing.
How do you switch from writing for children to adult literature? And what challenges does the transition create?
I haven’t written a book for adults since I started writing for children, so haven’t had to cope with that transition for many years. Sometimes I get a yearning to address a topic that would only be appropriate in an adult novel, but as my children’s books are doing quite well at the moment, it’s easy to put those yearnings aside.
What’s next for you?
I like knowing what’s next so am very comfortable as I am writing two sequels at the moment. Eva’s Holiday will be out in August/September this year and the as yet untitled sequel to The Time Spell with be out in Spring 2012.
Thank you so much, Judi, for taking the time to answer these questions. I look forward to seeing you at Listowel.
Judi Curtin will be holding school workshops as part of the Writers Week festival on Wednesday 1 June, 2011 in Listowel Library.You can also view a video of Judi talking about her role as a writer on TV3 here.