Nix at the 2012 Texas Book Festival
19 July 1963 |
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Authors are influenced by everything they've ever read. If you've read widely enough, it helps you create your own mix.
In any genre you're working in, you can always find a way to tell a particular kind of story. I love fantasy; I love science fiction. I love all kinds of fiction, in fact.
I loved publishing; I loved working in the book industry, but I've been writing pretty much nonstop since I was 19. I realized very early on that I would need a day job, and I wanted one that was in books.
I can understand the natural anxiety of readers when waiting for another installment of a favourite series, but I think it is much more important to get a book right than it is to have it appear on time.
Unlike the stereotypical author, I've never had a job as a short-order cook, but I love cooking hot breakfasts for lots of people, juggling the eggs and the bacon and the tomatoes and the fried potatoes and so on.
If only one in 1,000 people that I talk to goes on to write a good book, that's one more good book that I've helped along… and maybe it will be a book I love myself five or 10 years down the line.
I don't watch a lot of T.V., and I hardly ever have time to keep up with series, though I do love reruns of old favorites from my childhood like 'Dr. Who', 'The Goodies', and 'Get Smart.'
I like movies in particular, on video or T.V. I have lots of old favorites, like Danny Kaye in 'The Court Jester' or 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' or James Stewart in 'Winchester '73.' But I also like a lot of modern films.
I find the presence of the sea quite inspiring, and sometimes I do just get out and walk around and take in the sea breeze to try and clear my mind.
Writing for children, you do bear a responsibility to not include overt or graphic adult content that they are not ready for and don't need, or to address adult concepts or themes from an oblique angle or a child's limited viewpoint, with appropriate context, without being graphic or distressing.
I like to write books that I would have liked as a child, that would have got me thinking and imagining beyond the words on the page. In a way, my audience is always how I remember myself as a child.
I tend to think of stories and books as being for everyone, just with an 'entry reading age' rather than an age range.
There is a very big difference between writing for children and writing for young adults. The first thing I would say is that 'Young Adult' does not mean 'Older Children', it really does mean young but adult, and the category should be seen as a subset of adult literature, not of children's books.
In all my books, I try to have a strong element of realism underlying the fantastic.
With the 'Old Kingdom' trilogy, at least half the readers were older adults rather than younger adults. I wrote them for myself with no particular audience in mind.
I grew up in a house full of books and parents who read, which led to me to reading from a very young age. And reading seemed to naturally progress to writing.
Interestingly, it is often the younger members of the audience who ask the most sophisticated questions.
I studied writing at university, and I actually majored in screenwriting. Then I went to work as a bookseller and then as a sales rep and publicist and then various editorial jobs until I ended up with HarperCollins in Australia.