Friday, May 8, 2009

Interview with Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner is the amazing author of
I, Coriander
The Red Necklace
And the soon to come sequel to The Red Necklace, The Silver Blade
If you have not already read these books, you DEFINITELY should!
Here is the lovely interview:
Your childhood was abnormal because of your dyslexia, yet today you can claim it as a gift. What advice would you give to young adults who have similar setbacks toward their literary aspirations?
Never stop telling yourself stories, even if you can't write them down. Keep making them up. I always carry a notebook with me. I've long given up worrying about my spelling and just write things so that I alone can read them. For goodness sake, it doesn't matter. There are hundreds of people - thousands - millions that can spell and write fluently, but do they have the ideas? The idea is the gift. I have a head bursting with them. All my life, I've told myself stories. It was, and still is, my way of surviving.
Spelling and grammer are technical problems which computers have gone a long way towards helping to solve.

Both of your novels -- I, Coriander and The Red Necklace -- are historical fantasies. Why do you choose to write YA Fiction of this genre?
I'm always fascinated by the margins of history, what falls into the cracks of time to be lost in the bigger politicall picture. History has so many untold stories to tell there is hardly any need to make things up, it is all there, waiting to be looked at and used again.
Also, I feel history has a moat around it, and like a fairy tale we can look at the unbearable, safe in the knowledge that it all happened to "old style fools".

If you could meet one person from throughout history, who would it be?
An impossible question to answer. I think, though, if there was an invitation, I'd go for Charles II.

You also write and illustrate young children's books. Which did you begin doing first, YA or children's, and which is your favorite?
Never believing I could be a writer, I started with picture books. I was never happy with my drawings and always had a better image in my head. Then I started to write and thought the pictures in my writing seemed to be more what I was after, and that I could do what I wanted to do - create my own worlds.

Who are your favorite YA authors?
Meg Rosoff, Eva Ibbotson, Neil Gaiman, Malorie Blackman, Siobhan Dowd, Eoin Colfer and David Almond. A book that I take my hat off to is Tender Morsels by Margo lanagan.

How has being an author impacted your life?
Well, I think it has definitely changed people's perception of me for the better. That might be my paranoia. It has given me confidence to realize that at long last I have found what I truly love doing. I have to write a lot more letters, which I am not good at and I've had to learn about talking to an audience, which I now quite enjoy. But the greatest impact is that the writer and the dyslexic part of me have become very happily reconciled to each other.

What was it like when your first book was published? How did you feel seeing it on the shelves?
It was unbelievable, it's still unbelievable. I'm certain I'm going to wake up at any moment.

You have done a lot of theater work in your life. How has this impacted your writing?
Enormously. It made me understand the power of good narrative and how to hold your audience, never letting it go until the very end.

Is either of your protagonists (Coriander or Yann) like you in any way? If not, what inspired these particular characters?
All work, in some way, must have elements of one self to be true, to have passion. But I'm a collage artist - I take bits from here and there, nothing is wasted.

To find out more about Sally Gardner and her books, you can visit her site by clicking here.

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