It’s time for the next King’s CROWNing Authors (Cajoling Random Observations Now) interview. Please welcome, Jane Elson.
1. You have 30 mins to save the world, what will you snack on beforehand?
I would have a bag of Doritos, as they are always so satisfying in an emergency, especially when you don’t know when you will be able to eat again. Also I would eat a large bar of chocolate. Having written A Room Full of Chocolate it obviously became my favourite snack. Although chocolate gives you short lived energy, it would last the thirty minutes I would need to save the world. But for my five a day I would take a bag of apples with me. If the world was in destruction around me and I needed to save it, I would assume that modes of transport would come to a halt, so I would need to ride a horse. Apples are a good way of making friends with a horse so it would give both of us the energy to keep going and save the world.
2. What does writing mean to you?
Writing gives me space to be in another world which I love. The most exciting thing is that you can create characters who live on in children’s imaginations and that is the most amazing feeling. I have worked as an actor but obviously you only get to create characters that casting directors decide you have the right look for. As a writer there are no limits: you can create as many varied characters as you want.
A Room Full of Chocolate is semi autobiographical, so the fact that the story of my childhood is reaching a wide audience and children in other countries, who may be going through similar issues – well nothing can beat that. I recently had an email from an eleven year old in South Africa which really touched me. My second book How to Fly With Broken Wings was a truly exciting world to be part of as I was creating the story from scratch. Talking of worlds – I am loving being part of the Children’s Book World. It is so supportive.
My editor Naomi Greenwood and my publicist Caitlin Lomas at Hodder Children’s Books are amazing to work with and every stage of the journey to publication has been fun.
3. Define: Royalty, using body language only.
If this were a drama game where we had to do a mime – I would show royalty through Stillness. To be still while everyone else bustles around you creates the impression of high status. In days gone by Kings and Queens would have courts with jesters and all sorts of people bustling around them in order to elevate their own status.
4. Do you have a Sunny Day song?
Sing Sing Sing by Benny Goodman. While writing How to Fly With Broken Wings I listened to a lot of Big band Music to get me in the 1940’s mood.
5. Just how can on fly with broken wings?
I think a lot of people go through life with broken wings, yet achieve incredible things against all odds. A lot of the time having broken wings gives them the determination to do things they would never have done if their wings were not broken. In a more literal sense you hear amazing stories of war time planes who, having been shot at, manage to land or reach their destination against all odds.
6. Have you ever bungee jumped?
No, but I got on a horse for the first time in 12 years at Kentish Town City Farm – does that count as doing something brave? It was really exhilarating.
7. When was the last time you used a Bunsen burner?
Oh my there’s a question. Answer: a long, long time ago. I look at children today with their white coats and goggles in wonder. It was so different in my day. I guess health and safety had not hit us with their rules and countless regulations back in the day. Of course teachers were careful, they had to be, but to me bunson burners at school were terrifying. There would always be some joker causing a minor explosion, mixing chemicals or melting a biro over the flame and then we would have to leave the room because of the smell of burning plastic or worst, the school bully would hold it near to mine or some girl’s hair when the teacher wasn’t looking.
Willem in How to Fly With Broken Wings would be very careful with a bunson burner. It is so challenging to write a character with a different set of capabilities to my own. If I had a different sort of brain I would love to have studied the sciences and been a vet. I have in my time fostered and adopted rescue cats, which meant I found myself at the vets a lot. The staff at Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital in Camden were amazing at explaining various operations and proceedings to me. That is the nearest I’ve got to anything science related in my adult life!
8. There is none.
9. Why is MG striking back?
MG is a joy to be part of and so important. The books you read at this age stay with you for life. The characters become your friends and help you through the ups and downs of life. I can honestly say I remember the books I read at this age (When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Carries War. Ballet Shoes and My Friend Flicka) better than the books I read as an adult.
10. Please ask me a question.
What’s the loveliest place your imagination has lead you to?
Oh, when I was younger my imagination was a bright and hopeful place always imagining fun events. But now it’s gone quite dark. I think it’s to do with feeling safe. When one is young there is a lot of change, growing up to do, and a lot of compromising.
Now that I’m older I’ve a lot to be happy about; good qualifications, a husband and BFF, an interesting job, great hobbies, money and time to explore more learning opportunities. I’m so happy that I now can go dark! I am fully free to write what is really on my mind and what I want to understand more about. I’m now writing a YA book about an unplanned pregnancy and in Ireland women have no options. It’s dark, but there’s still hope.
Thank you, Jane. I loved your answers and your question.
About Jane Elson
Author of A Room Full Of Chocolate & How To Fly With Broken Wings published by Hodder Childrens Books.
Passions-animals, theatre, books & chocolate of course!
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