Margaret Wild - Interview (August 2017)
What five words best describe you?
Determined, optimistic, quiet, bookish, lazy.
What prompted you to sit down and write your first story?
It hadn’t occurred to me to write for children until I started reading lots of books to my own children. I loved many of them, especially Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat by Jenny Wagner, illustrated by Ron Brooks.
I wrote three stories and they were all accepted for publication. The best known of them is There’s a Sea in My Bedroom, illustrated by Jane Tanner. I felt very lucky that I had found my niche.
If you could invite one author, dead or alive to dinner who would it be?
What an impossible question! There are so many wonderful authors to choose from –
Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Patrick Gale, Pat Barker, Hilary Mantel, Jane Gardam, Carson McCullers, Rose Tremain, Alice Munro, Adrian McKinty, Cormac McCarthy…Actually, I think I would choose Michael Robotham. Although he writes very scary thrillers, he comes across as being so generous, affable and thoughtful, that he would make a very pleasant dinner companion.
Is there any part of the creative process you don’t like?
I like it all, really. I’m very happy when I get a new idea and extremely happy when the story is written. I also enjoy the editing/polishing stage because all the hard work has been done, and now it’s a matter of trying to make sure I have “the best words in the best order”.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Probably a bit of both. I think about my stories for a long time and only actually start writing them when I feel they are ready. I have to know how a story begins and how it ends before I can sit down at the computer.
What excites you about the future of children’s books?
Children’s publishing seems to be flourishing, in spite of the competition of so much social media. And new authors and illustrators are bursting on to the scene all the time, which is great.
What’s the funniest thing a child has ever said to you during one of your presentations/talks?
A kindergarten child commented that I had lots of muscles. For a moment I felt chuffed and toned, and then I realised that she meant wrinkles! Oh, well.
What’s next from Margaret Wild?
I have a new picture book coming out in July called The Sloth Who Came to Stay which is illustrated by a very talented newcomer, Vivienne To. And in February 2018 I have a book called The Feather, illustrated by Freya Blackwood, whose work is, as, always, absolutely brilliant.