Saturday 8 November 2014

Star Struck - Challenged Readers Review - Author Interview with Anita Loughrey

Continuing on our  reluctant reader  Star Struck feature (to read the review press here)we have a lovely interview with the author of the fiction stories within the books, Anita Loughrey.

Anita writes teacher resources, fiction and non-fiction for children of all ages. She also has a column in the national writing magazine Writers’ Forum about authors and their research.

What was your favourite children’s book as a child?

One of my favourite book as a child was The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. That is why my recent trip to the Oxford Story Museum was like a childhood dream come true. They have a wardrobe and you walk through the fur coats into Narnia. Magic!

What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?

One of my favourite books for children as an adult is Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. When I grew up, I want to write just like him.

What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?

I think it is the characters in children’s books that make them so inspirational.

How did you get the opportunity to write for the Star Struck series?

Steve contacted me through Facebook and asked if I was interested in doing the project. I thought it sounded exciting so said ok.

I first met Steve Rickard the editor and co-author of the Starstruck series at a Educational Writers’ Group event at the Society of Authors. He was talking about Ransom Publishing and the sorts of books they published. Afterwards, we chatted and exchanged business cards. I served on the Educational Writers’ Group committee for four years and believe that events such as these provide valuable networking opportunities.

Are there any challenges / rewards when writing a book for challenged readers?

When writing a book aimed at fourteen year old with a reading age of seven, you must try and tell the story as succinctly as you possible can. You don’t want to use long descriptions and ambiguous words. I tried to include some dialogue on each page and gave myself a word limit for each page too. On top of this you have to remember that we were aiming the books at a female, teenage market so the stories had to be interesting and relevant to teenage girls. I tried to make all twelve of the books funny and where possible include a little twist at the end.

Jenny Ertle, Steve’s wife and partner at Ransom Publishing, came up with the subject for each of the books. There are some great titles but some of them were a challenge as I did not know anything about Modern Dance, or Street Style for example. But I did a bit of research on the Internet and managed to come up with some ideas for stories. I think the hardest one to write out of both of the Starstruck series was the one on Musical Theatre. I love Musical Theatre and have been to see lots of shows so each time I wrote something it just felt wrong. The story I ended up with was based on a real conversation with my then teenage daughter and it still makes me laugh when I read it.

What is it like being half of Cathy West?

It is fun. I have enjoyed working for Steve Rickard and Jenny Ertle from Ransom Publishing. I think it helps we have a similar sense of humour.

We have some Star Struck books to give away! Just tweet #StarStruck to @BookshelfSpace or e-mail us with Star Struck in the subject bar.

Good Luck!

1 comment:

  1. Great interview. I totally agree with events to network. I met Steve at the SCBWI Conference in Winchester last week and we chatted about Ransom Publishing. It is much easier to approach publishers and agents when you've met them in person.


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