Author Interview: Jess Butterworth 

Hello everyone!

Today, I’m incredibly excited to welcome another author for a Q&A; the incredible Jess Butterworth, whose stunning debut Running on the Roof of the World I absolutely adored (you can read my review in this post). Onto the questions!

Hi Jess. Welcome to Golden Books Girl, and thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me!

My pleasure! I’m delighted to be here.

1. To start off, can you sum up Running on the Roof the World for anyone who hasn`t read it yet in 5 words?

Contemporary Himalayan adventure, featuring yaks!

2. I absolutely loved the setting of Tibet in the book. What inspired you to set the book there? Is anything in the book based on your own experience of living in the Himalayas?

Absolutely. My father was a trek leader and we lived on a remote foothill above Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama and a Tibetan community in exile is settled. My mother’s family lived in London, where I was born. Growing up, I would always write about the Himalayas when I was in the UK and missing the mountains or my dad and grandparents who still lived there.

I wanted to introduce readers to events I care about deeply, but really it wasn’t as planned out as that. Tash’s voice appeared in my head one day and wouldn’t leave.

The vulture tree is based on a tree I saw about ten years ago, with many vultures perched on its branches. It’s something I’ve never seen again on my visits since, and an image that has stayed with me.

Another real life moment I drew from was when my sister and I once walked down the mountain at dusk and saw a bear up a tree. Needless to say, we backed away slowly and luckily left the bear undisturbed. My sister is a singer and from that moment onwards she would always sing at the top of her lungs as we walked over the foothills. We were taught never to sneak up on the leopards and bears; you’re safer if they can hear you coming and will choose to get out of the way.

The glacier scene came from a time I was trekking with my Dad and we camped by a glacier. Later, we used our sleeping mats to slide down the glacier. It was fun, but bumpy!

During my research trip, when I was close to the India/Tibet border, after acclimatising, I went up to 18380 feet, and very much felt the effects of being at such a high altitude. So that made it into the book too!

3. The difficult political issues in Tibet are very prominent throughout Running on the Roof of the World, as Tash`s parents are arrested by the Chinese soldiers for being rebels. Was it a challenge to explore such a brutal situation and still aim the book at middle grade readers?

I definitely spent time making sure that the book was truthful to its setting whilst still appealing to middle-grade readers. I wanted to write a story that was relevant to today and it was important to me to include those moments as they’re grounded in real events. Writing in first person helped and allowed the reader to see the events through Tash’s eyes, whilst still giving a sense of the bigger political picture. I included moments of lightness and laughter, and an overall theme of hope, and I focused on the universal aspects to make it relatable to younger readers.

4. What was your favourite scene to write in the book?
So many! I loved everything about writing about the mountains! Sliding down glaciers was one of my favourite, hiding with Eve, and the ending.

5. Speaking of writing, do you have any unusual writing habits? What are your writing routines like?

In the past few years, I’ve had many different jobs at the same time as being a writer, from working as a bid-coordinator, assisting in a vintage furniture shop, to nannying. In between them I was often travelling to and from India which means that my writing habits changed regularly. They mainly consisted of writing wherever and whenever I could! I do know that I work best in the mornings, when I can wake up and write straight away. I like to start a new idea in a notebook before transferring it to my computer.

Right now, for the first time ever, I have an office and office assistants, Luna and Bo Bo, the Maine Coon kittens, which is exciting.

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6.  Do you have any tips or advice for writers reading this interview?

Read as much as you can. If you’re stuck for inspiration, think back to the things you loved doing at the age at your protagonist or the things you feel passionately about. So much of writing is re-writing; Running on the Roof of the World ent through at least ten full drafts. Practice patience; everything takes a long time! Most importantly, don’t give up! Everyone has rejections.

7. What other activities do you enjoy apart from writing?

Trekking, dancing, reading, camping and being outside, being with friends, yoga, watching live music, travelling.

8. What has been your  exciting moment of being an author so far?
The book launch for sure! I got to see it in a Waterstones window display and gave my first public reading.

9.  If you could have written any book by another author, what would it be and why?
Matilda by Roald Dahl because it has remained one of my favourite books.

10. Finally, before we go on to the quickfire questions, are you able to say anything about your next book? I can`t wait to read it after your amazing debut!

Aw, thank you! It’s called When the Mountains Roared and is inspired by my Grandma who smuggled a kangaroo joey out of Australia. It’s an adventure set in the mountains of India, about a girl who is determined to protect the wild leopards of the mountain from poachers.

QUICKFIRE

Can you give us three random facts about you?-

In the Australian outback, I got bitten by a brown snake and airlifted to hospital.

I have three younger sisters.

I edited Running on the Roof of the World while I was in India, during monsoon. I was often enclosed in a cloud. If I opened a window, the cloud would drift inside. My pillow went mouldy.

Favourite animal?-

Yaks and leopards (couldn’t choose!)

Favourite chocolate bar?-

Yesterday someone gave me pomegranate dark chocolate and it is my new favourite thing!

What`s your Hogwarts house?-

Gryffindor

Best book you`ve read this year?

The Huntress: Sea by Sarah Driver

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed writing the questions and organising the post with Jess, who has been an utter delight (and was kind enough to send me the gorgeous photos throughout the post to use)

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Maz Evans

Hello everyone!

Today I`m thrilled to welcome Maz Evans ( the delightful author of Who Let the Gods Out, which has been one of my favourite books this year) . I’m also very excited about reading the sequel, which comes out today, soon​ .Let`s get started with the interview!

Continue reading “AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Maz Evans”

Character Q&A… Noah Grimes from Noah Can`t Even

Hello everybody!

Today I have a super exciting post to share with you all- a character Q&A with Noah Grimes from the hilarious Noah Can`t Even! I hope you all enjoy reading his answers as much as I did when they pinged into my email inbox…

Hi Noah. Welcome to Golden Books Girl, I`m so excited to have you!

Thank you, Amy. It is a delight and pleasure to be here. I am sick of Simon getting all the glory for what is basically MY WORK. He is like that person who does a group project with you at school, DOES NOTHING, makes you do EVERYTHING, and still takes the credit. Anyway, this is not about him, so let’s get on with it…

For anyone who hasn`t read Noah Can`t Even, can you sum it up in 5 words or less?

Load. Of. Badly. Written. Lies.

On a similar note, can you describe yourself in 140 characters?

Intelligent and nice boy, nearly 16, probably going to be a Prefect next year (not bragging but it’s true).

One of the first things that attracted me to the book was the cover. Did you/Simon have any say on it, and do you feel it suits the book?

No, it was all done with anyone bothering or having the common decency to mention it to me! The cover is appalling and is clearly meant to titillate. I would have preferred a nice flower on the front, a majestic bird of prey, or maybe a picture of all my awards and certificates from school. If the book is about me, shouldn’t the picture be something to do with me?! I don’t even like bananas. They are a devil fruit.

One of my favourite things about the book were the embarrassing situations you got yourself into. If you were to choose your most embarrassing moment ever, what would it be?

Well, the time when I wet myself on the Year 8 trip to the London Dungeon was pretty awful. Everyone thought it was because I was scared when the out-of-work actor dressed up as blood-crazed monster jumped out at me, but the truth was I was suffering from a bladder infection, which is a genuine medical condition and NOT A LAUGHING MATTER. However, everyone did laugh and they had to cordon off a section of the attraction for health and safety reasons. I had to wear a pair of PE shorts for the rest of the day, with no pants underneath, which was very drafty and unpleasant.

And, if you`d like to get your own back on Simon for writing about all of your mishaps, would you be able to tell us one of his most cringeworthy moments?

Oh, I would never be so petty and cruel as to tell you about any of Simon’s cringeworthy moments, like the time he was 13 and doing the high jump at sports day, and was only wearing loose-fitting boxers under his PE shorts, causing him to accidentally reveal his BOY PARTS to the Year 10 girls who were doing the judging… oh whoops, I’ve said it now, oh well. SEE SIMON, IT’S NOT VERY NICE HAVING ALL YOUR PRIVATE EMBARRASSMENTS BROADCAST FOR THE WORLD TO SEE, IS IT?

I know you have a complicated home/school life, and face quite a few problems throughout the book. If a genie granted you three wishes to change anything about your life, what would they be?

To be a self-made multi-billionaire with all the trappings of wealth, including a private island, massive yacht and a Nespresso machine.
For the school to guarantee that I would definitely be Head Boy in the Sixth Form, and it didn’t need to be voted on or anything.
For gran not to have dementia and to be alive as long as I was.

Related to the above question, if anyone reading was facing similar issues to you, what advice would you give them?

Talk to a responsible adult. Unfortunately, all the adults in my life are COMPLETE MORONS who are SELFISH and completely wrapped up in their own SORRY CATASTROPHES of lives, so are useless and I’m better off sorting things out myself. (Except for Gran, of course, who is quite helpful, so if you’ve got a gran you’ll probably be OK).

From reading the book, I don’t think you`ve ever been abroad on holiday. If you could choose any country to visit, where would you want to go and what would you want to do there? And who would you take with you?

Well, NOT FRANCE, because of the incident on the Year 8 French residential trip… um, maybe Iceland, because I don’t really like a lot of heat / people being naked on the beach, and Iceland is nice and cold. I would definitely take Harry as he is my favourite person and the ideal travel companion in that he doesn’t selfishly hog all the arm-rest.

Tell us 5 random facts about you, preferably ones that DON`T appear in Noah Can`t Even

My middle name is a closely guarded secret. It begins with ‘O’ but that’s as much as I will tell you – other than it was my mother having a laugh.
I can’t do mental arithmetic.
My favourite breakfast cereal is Coco Pops.
When nobody is looking I sometimes still get my Lego out and build designs for airports, high security vaults and secret government research facilities because I find it quite interesting and it’s a legitimate academic exercise, I’m not playing with toys or anything.
My favourite Agatha Christie novel is ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’.

Finally, can you give us any juicy titbits about your 2nd adventure, which I believe Simon is currently writing?

Well, it all starts when the French Exchange students come to visit, and like everything in my life, nothing runs smoothly. There’s a drag queen involved, quite a lot of cheese, and an aggressive goose.

Quick-fire round:

Favourite animal?

A Noah-potamus. Lol!

Favourite chocolate bar?

A Cadbury’s Flake. Very sensuous!

Haribo or Skittles?

I like both, but probably Skittles because they’re just a bit more mature, you know? Haribo is kind of for kids really.

Miss Marple or Poirot?

Miss Marple. Especially when she is played by Joan Hickson, who was my favourite TV Miss Marple ever.

Inspired by your mum`s job- Beyoncé or Jay-Z?

My mother and her excuse for a ‘tribute act’ has put me off all forms of popular music. Instead, I enjoy listening to my ‘Spa Reflections’ album, which is a compilation of haunting chords and various wispy sounds of waves and wind, designed to relax you, during a massage treatment, for example.

Thanks again for being interviewed Noah. Hope you enjoyed answering these as much as I enjoyed writing them 🙂

Thank you. I feel I have been a good guest and I’m sure you are grateful. May I just remind everyone that I am on Twitter – @noahgrimes12 – unlike certain members of my Year who are busy snap-chatting appalling parts of their body to one another, I am making witty observations and informing people about my life, like a responsible, law-abiding citizen.

Thank you all so much for reading my interview with Noah, I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, I seriously recommend following both Noah and Simon on Twitter; they`re hilarious! If you`ve read Noah Can`t Even, I`d love to hear what you think of it in the comments below or on my Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

See you soon with a new post,
Amy xxx