Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Author Interview: Kate Foster

I'm delighted to have Kate Foster here answering my questions about her new book, Winell Road. Yay! Before I jump into the questions, here's a look at her MG Sci-Fi Winell Road.

Twelve year old Jack Mills lives at 5 Winell Road and probably has the world's weirdest neighbours. Like freakishly weird. And to top it off, he lives with Mum (nosy, interfering, a hideous cook) and Dad (unsuccessful inventor of the Camera Belt and Self-Closing Window). All in all, it's a boring, embarrassing, dead-end place to live. So when Jack arrives home from school one day, a close shave with a UFO is the last thing he expects. But the fact it doesn't abduct him, and that no one else - not even Mum - sees the gigantic flying saucer hovering over the street, adds a whole new layer of strange. Soon after, an alien encounter threatens Jack's life and he becomes embroiled in a galaxy-saving mission. With the assistance of his new neighbour, frighteningly tall Roxy Fox, he discovers Winell Road is hiding secrets - secrets Jack might wish he'd never uncovered.

First of all, I just want to say that I really enjoyed Winell Road. A. MA. ZING. Congratulations on getting such a fabulous book out into the world! Where on earth did you find the inspiration to write a story so full of adventure? 

Thank you so much! I will always get a buzz from receiving positive feedback about Winell Road. I was a long time in labour with it! The full-on action just happened that way, to be honest! I certainly planned for it to be fairly fast-paced. Although I didn't write the book just with boy readers in mind, I do have three sons, one of whom is an incredibly reluctant reader, so I know what a lot of boys look for in books, and in life, so letting the pace drift too much would have been a mistake. Even the 'quieter' scenes of the book have some tension or an element of creepiness to try to ensure attention stays put. But fundamentally it's an adventure story, so there was no time for scenes of reflection.

I particularly enjoyed finding out more about all of the aliens, and I was amazed that you came up with so many great names for them. How did you go about coming up with so many different species? 

The aliens came from all over the world with lots of imagination thrown in. For example, the Go'Draughts are based loosely on the moai from Easter Island. I have a fascination with ancient creations like these and I'm convinced a lot of them were left here by visiting aliens; it's the only conclusion my brain comes to. I also adore etymology, and all of the alien names are jigsaw puzzles of old words, all adjectives and nouns associated with that particular alien. Sounds like I went to a lot of trouble, and I did, but all in the name of fun!

I love the character Roxy Fox and I kind of thought that eventually Jack and Roxy would make a good pairing. Do you think they’d ever take that leap when they’re a bit older?

I couldn't possible divulge any information about Jack and Roxy's future. Goodness no. I mean, they're only twelve and thirteen respectively, far too young for any of that funny business. But there's a definite attraction. *insert winky face*

The ending blew me away—I did not see it coming! When you wrote the book, were you aware that it would end that way? (Without giving too much away, of course!) 

Yes. The ending was the first scene I plotted and wrote. It was all based around a scene in one of my favourite movies (True Lies) that still gives me goosebumps even though I've watched it a hundred times. The rest of story spread roots from there.

I love Jack’s adventurous side, but what I found particularly clever was the way you created him to be brave, yet a bit scared at the same time. Was this a difficult aspect of the book to write? 

Not at all. Jack is a mixture of two of my sons. They both summon courage when they need it, but are always a little apprehensive. They sit back and observe, take it all in, consider whether they should get involved or not. And I love them for it. These are all such endearing qualities in boys. So many of their male school friends have been over-confident, speaking and acting without thinking first, and so very sure of themselves. I'm not saying these are necessarily bad traits, but because boys like my sons don't immediately jump out from the crowd, doesn't mean they're not special or brave.

Talking of difficulties—what was the hardest part of the book to write, and which bit did you love writing the most? 

The entire first draft. Getting each scene from my head on to paper. I am a perfectionist and I do not like failing, so when the perfect words don't come straight away, I get super frustrated and convince myself I shouldn't be a writer. So I guess this leads on perfectly to what I love the most, and that's the editing! Reshaping the book sentence by sentence is the best; working out whether the character leaps or jumps, smiles or grins, strides or struts, are all things that give me great pleasure!

I want MORE Winell Road. I feel that it could go in so many great directions. Will there be more. Please? Please? Please? Please?! 

 Aw yeah! Totally. There will be at least two more books. The second is written, although it needs a polish or two, and the third is plotted--to a degree. But until I get writing it, I can't be sure if it will work out precisely this way.

There were some really funny moments that I laughed out loud to. Does writing humor come naturally to you? 

Humour is a huge part of my life and my family's life. We are a sarcastic bunch. Life can be so serious at times, particularly for children, and so if I can provide a small window of light, a giggle and snort, for someone, and not just in my writing, then I'm a happy bunny.

If you were an alien in Winell Road, which one would you rather be? 

 A Keu'Panaca--they are self-healing.

Now for a quick fire round!

Unicorn or Pegasus? Pegasus

Cat or Dog? Dog

Ketchup or Mayonnaise? Mayo

Rain or Sun? Sun

Salad or Chips? Chips

Kindle or Book? Book

Finally – if you were stranded on a planet far, far away, what one thing would you want to have with you? My family

Thank you so much for answering my questions, Kate! To find out more about Kate and her book, Winell Road, you can visit her website, twitter, or go direct to amazon

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