Thursday, 21 August 2014

Getting to Know the Authors: Featuring Joss Stirling!

      Joss Stirling also writes under the pen names of Julia Golding and Eve Edwards. She is a multi-award winning writer for children and young adults. Watch the video below to find out more.
      Former British diplomat and Oxfam policy adviser, she has now published over thirty books in genres ranging from historical adventure to fantasy. Read carefully and you’ll spot all sorts of material from her diplomatic and Oxfam careers popping up in unexpected places. She has a doctorate in English literature from doctorate in English literature from Oxford.
      Studying for this prompted her to write her first novel, 'The Diamond of Drury Lane', set in 1790 and told by her intrepid heroine, Cat Royal. It went on to win the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2006 and the Nestle Children's Book Prize 2006 (formerly known as the Smarties Prize). In the US, 'Secret of the Sirens' won the honor book medal of the Green Earth Book Award. 'Dragonfly' won the 2012 Beehive Book Award, Young Adult Division, given by the Children's Literature Association of Utah and voted on by readers in schools and public libraries.
       Writing as Stirling, 'Finding Sky' is shortlisted for the German Children's Literature Award 2013 and 'Stealing Phoenix' reached the last three of the Lancashire Children's Book Award 2013.
        She is also a Fellow of the English Association. Over half a million of her books have been sold worldwide in many languages.
                                     What has she written?
                                   Under the name Joss Stirling, she has written Finding Sky, 
                                                                 Challenging Zed, 
                                                                 Stealing Phoenix, 
                                                                 Seeking Crystal,
                                                                     and Struck. 

I have already reviewed some of her books here:

The Benedict series:
Struck (Storm and Stone):

Look out for her newest upcoming novel!

Look out for her new novel Misty Falls, coming out October 2nd 2014! 

Now on to the review!!

1) How old were you when you started writing, in your opinion?
I started making up stories at Primary School. I still have them.  They are heavily influenced by whatever I was reading or watching then so a story might start with a Narnia style 'through the wardrobe' experience and sudden take a left turn into space (I was a fan of a series called Blake's 7 - BBC Sci-Fi).  They are also illustrated as I wanted to make the whole book, not just the story.  The best one was called The Tapestry Room with a huge tapestry in an old spooky house that led to magical worlds.

2)What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
First, I'd like them to love the story and characters.  I enjoy falling under the spell of other writers so much so that I can't wait to finish the tale; if my readers feel the same about what I write then I'm happy.  Secondly, I'd like them to feel they've gone on a journey of discovery, perhaps finding out something about themselves or finding solutions to things that worry them through the experiences of the characters.  That sometimes happens and readers will contact me to tell me about this.  It is a privilege to have been the right book for someone at the right moment.

3)What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
 Keep on writing through until end of first draft without worrying about getting it absolutely right - you can always go back once you've got the whole story down.
Keep a notebook to hand - you never know when an idea may come to you or you will spot something you want to remember.
Enjoy writing for its own sake as publication is a hit and miss affair.

4)What is your favourite novel, why?
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - not only is it supremely accomplished but she invented the ultimate romance hero.  Her dialogue sparkles.  In fact, if you think about it, dialogue is character in that book as we hear little about appearance and not so very much happens.  The drama and comedy is all in the sparks flying when people start talking.

5)Who is your favourite author, why?
Other than Jane Austen, J R R Tolkien for his wonderful sprawling world of Middle Earth which is a version of English and European landscapes but mythologized.  I take his world everywhere with me when out walking.

6)What are your favorite pass times besides writing?
Travelling - just back from Central America where we've been swimming in turquoise waterfalls and snorkelling in the Caribbean.

7)Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
I never think about it as being anything other than mine own but I suppose my parents would have had something to do with it.  My mum is artistic and is always making crafts or painting pictures or on fabrics so perhaps the creative flair comes from her.

8)What are the top five things on your bucket list?
Most of the things I would like to happen in my life are beyond my sphere of influence e.g. I'd like to see a successful screen adaptation of one of my books one day.  Of the things I can do, I'd like to travel to New Zealand, learn to draw to a professional standard, come up with a brilliant and original idea for the next book, improve my language skills and teach my dog to come back when called (he's lovely but not obedient when someone else's picnic is involved).

9)What is your funniest childhood memory?
They usually involve my older sister.  We had Womble craft kits one Christmas and she managed to glue up her hair very badly but I suppose it was funnier when a few years later she tried to home-bleach it as a teen and it went green.  At the time it wasn't amusing as she was upset but after it was fixed, it was.

10) To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
 Lots of things came into my head when I read that question but I suppose I would say the same as I would to my own children: build your life on real values not on flimsy stuff like wanting to make money or be a celebrity.  If you aim to leave the world a better place after you've passed through it then that would be a life well lived.

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