What do children’s writers and illustrators read in their spare time? In this series of interviews with B.C. book folks, we discuss everything from guilty reading pleasures to the best literary villains. If you’d like to share some favourites of your own, please leave a comment!
What books are on your end table right now?
The Game of Thrones by Martin RR Greenwood which isn’t strictly YA or kids, but it’s fantasy and phenomenal. The level of detail in the worldbuilding is so amazing, and it’s all seamlessly woven into the books; The Edge of Mysterion by Richard Rene, the sequel to Mysterion, another fantasy which is looking even better than the first book; Bessie by Chris Albertson, a bio of Bessie Smith, a blues and jazz singer of the early 20th century (and it still feels very odd to write that!); and a reread — Bearer of the Saint by Donna Farley, an historical YA fiction about a young boy who was one of the group who carried St. Cuthbert’s coffin around England for a number of years when the Danes invaded. Her research is exhaustive and the realistic detail in the book really adds to the experience.
What series did you read growing up?
Narnia, which I loved so much I ached for it to be real, so I could go and live there, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Seven Cousins, all of which are eminently re-readable even now. I loved the Noddy books and Rupert the Bear is still one of my favourite reads after all these years. Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, and the Bobbsey Twins were what hooked me on mystery, and the Witch World series by Andre Norton – great SF for angsty teenagers, which I was, in spades.
Best place to curl up with a good book?
On or in bed, with the duvet pulled up around me; curled up on the couch with the cat in the bend of my knees, the fuzzy rug over me and a fire crackling in the grate while the rain drums on the windows; at dinner (really! We read at the table and share the best bits with each other), in the bathtub (we have a bookcase in our bathroom), in the leather chair in the library, surrounded by books; on the back deck with iced coffee and the summer sun dancing through the Gary Oak leaves while the birds squabble at the feeder; in a coffee shop enjoying a mocha; on the ferry, in my study, everywhere but the car.
Who’s your favourite literary hero?
Granny Weatherwax from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series — I want to be her when I get old. er.
If you could have dinner with three writers or illustrators, who would you choose?
Oh boy. Ask an easy one. All of them. Everybody whose ever written something I liked. Terry Pratchett, because he makes me laugh, and there’s too little laughter in the world. Andre Norton, who wrote some of the best SF for teens in the world and whose work I’ve always enjoyed. Chris Crutcher, one of the best YA authors out there, to pick his brain about how to write so honestly and in such a real way.
To learn more about Bev. and her work, please visit her website.