It’s time for the next King’s CROWNing Authors (Cajoling Random Observations Now) interview. Please welcome, Lucy Coats.
- How would you describe YA to an alien using only colours?
How do you feel when you burn the red heat of Mars? Dive into the cool blues of Neptune? Does a black hole brush your soul with fear? Does the white light of the stars fill you with joy? Do you cry at the beauty of the fiery orange of solar flares? How does your green (or pink or purple or brown or turquoise) heart feel when yellow comets kiss? Look at an Earth rainbow, mingling the whole palette of light. All these diverse colours of emotion are encompassed within YA’s thin white, rectangular wood-pulp pages, meant for the nearly-grown of any colour at all – or any planet.
- City skyline or mountains?
Mountains. Their jagged or rounded peaks, the way the light falls on them differently every day according the weather or season, the way they cut the clouds or are cut by them, their sturdy, deep-rooted, unchanging magnificence. All these mountainy things get into my writing head, calm it, let ideas flood in and grow, sometimes slow like a shifting pebble, sometimes fast, like an avalanche.
- When was the last time you played shadow puppets?
Not so very long ago – maybe within the last year. I was trying to re-create the wolf I used to make on the bedroom wall as a child to scare myself. He was long-muzzled with a rhomboid eye and sharp pricked finger-ears. He always ate the princess my mother made.
- Define: the smell of sulphur. But only using household objects.
Open the bleach (carefully). Smell it. No, not quite there, though the catch at the back of the throat is near. Better open the silver polish. Yes. That’s it, close enough. That acrid scent of pinkness on tarnished black metal, wrinkling the nose and the fingers. Alternatively: set out an egg in a very warm place. Wait a month till utterly rotten. Crack open. Go straight down to Hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect €200.
- When is the average old bear cool enough for kids books?
Some old bears of an average sort are never cool enough for kids’ books. Those are the ones with closed minds full of fluff, who have forgotten what it is to be a bear. The others, the old bears as cool as a mountain stream in summer, have minds full of possibility and young hearts. They have never stopped reading kids’ books.
- A clockwork toy or a snow-globe as a paper weight?
A snow globe, but it must be an old glass one from an antique shop in Vienna, or from a Turkish market piled high with mysteries, and the snow, when shaken, must hide wonders that change with every turn. A snow globe is always a door to magical places.
- What does having a book you wrote published taste like? Use only savoury foods for your answer.
Like the first bite of crunchy toast spread with mature cheddar cheese and a homemade chutney made from green tomatoes, apples and spice. The textures in your mouth are both soft and hard, sweet and perfectly sour, and the flavours blossom slowly against your taste buds, lingering and changing into a perfect whole that warms the heart and soul.
- Ask the alien for directions to a bookstore. Use the answers from question 9, 2, and 4 as the basis of your answer.
If the rotten egg is Hell, and the book I want to read has a fiery orange sun flare at its heart, do I pass to the left or the right of Neptune to buy one? Or should I go via the nearest black hole instead? Is there a bookstore at the end of the Universe?
- Please ask me a question.
If you were the hero Cú Chulainn, what modern foods would you most crave, and which would you most dislike. Why?
Um, coconut bars is what I crave most. I just think that as they grow so high up that maybe they could help me ascend all the agro. I mean it’s cool being a hero and all, but most of the time I just wana be a hero on my own volitional and save me self not the world. What I wouldn’t like…I suppose Hot Dogs, everyone knows that you can’t eat a dog. Most of my best friends are Irish Wolfe Hounds for crying out loud.
Thank you for your wonderful answers and interesting question.
About Lucy Coats
I grew up in a little Hampshire village on top of a hill. Most of my childhood was spent outdoors, so I got very good at knowing the names of trees and flowers, and at spotting animals and birds in hidden places. Both my mum and dad are Scots, so every August we’d make the long trek northwards to smell some heather and visit the family. I took in a lot of Scottish folklore at the same time, which proved handy when I was writing Celtic myths.
I was (and still am) a complete bookworm, so if I was sitting up a tree (trying to get out of chores, usually), you could guarantee that there was a book with me in the branches. Usually, those books came from my local library, as my poor parents couldn’t possibly have bought me all the books I got through.
“rippingly funny…offers food for thought on everything from absentee parenting to the mistreatment of animals (even immortal ones).” Publishers Weekly US starred review
Coming in May 2015 from Orchard, Cleo (UKYA paranormal/historical novel about the teenage Cleopatra VII)
Follow Lucy on Twitter
Follow Lucy on Facebook
Follow her on Instagram
Lucy teaches a regular Guardian Masterclass on ‘How to Write for Children’ Why not book now?
Lucy is represented by Sophie Hicks at The Sophie Hicks Agency