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June 29, 2016 / peoplesbookprize

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In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016 we caught up with author Peter Lynas to talk about his children’s book

Madeleine Goes to the Moon

 

When did you start writing?

I loved writing stories and poems when I was very young, but then exams and the need to focus on a defined career path put a stop to that. Since then I’ve always written little poems or made up stories for fun from time to time, but I only really started writing seriously about six years ago. It was a pretty sudden decision, although I did keep it secret for a while at first. It was like everything had built up, and I couldn’t hold it in anymore.

As an Author, What Influences You the Most?

This is a tricky question because there are many influences, both literary and in my everyday life, but at the same time, I try to be myself and not imitate someone else. The desire to write is just something that grabs you, but if I answer honestly (without cheating and picking more than one), then I would have to say that Dr Seuss is my most significant influence. It’s an obvious choice I know, but I loved his books as a child because they took me to faraway places and fired my imagination. Now my kids love them too, and I can appreciate the quality of the writing more – they are wonderful to read out loud, and the flow and rhythm is perfect.

Where did the idea for this book originate?

My daughter was playing in her room, and I was watching the way she was playing and pretending that everything was something else. Instantly I wanted to capture that in a book, to show an imaginary world from their point of view, to put the reader in that world rather than just tell a story about it. I think a lot of books tell great stories, but I wanted to do something that the children could relate directly to. It was also a challenge and a lot of fun trying to make everything work within the context of the story and still keep the rhythm and rhyme.

The People’s Book Prize nominees are voted for by the readers, how important are your readers to you?

Of course, I am going to say that readers are critical, but to me the readers are everything. Books are for the readers, not for publishers or bookstores or anyone else. It’s simple, without readers there will be no authors. It’s tough with books for younger children because they don’t normally get to choose them themselves, so quite often adults buy what appeals to them. I have to write something that adults are happy to read again and again, but that children are going to love. The most rewarding thing for me has been visiting schools and seeing the reaction of the children and hearing them ask me when the next one is coming out!

Writing for an independent publisher, the value of ‘voice’ as a writer is stronger than ever

I think independent publishers and self-publishing can help people to get their work out there and available for people to read, which is a great thing. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get your voice heard when nobody knows about you, and I think awards like The People’s Book Prize are exactly what is needed to showcase some of those authors whose books many people would probably love to read.

English Rose Publishing publishes a variety of brilliant authors, what is it like to be in the company of talented writers?

It makes me proud. I tried hard to get published, and although I am only at the start of my journey, it is a pleasure and an honour associating with such quality. It makes me feel like I am moving up a league so to speak. The same applies to the finalists in The People’s Book Prize. I was shaking when I found out I had made it to the final, and it’s an amazing experience just to get this far, and something that I didn’t expect would happen.

What book influenced you most as a writer and what are you reading at the moment?

I’m going to cheat and list a couple of influences here. Specifically looking at children’s books, ‘Horton Hatches the Egg‘ by Dr Seuss is something I always loved. I particularly admire how the story and the rhyme/rhythm blend so perfectly. At no point does the rhyme feel like it is forced into place to suit the story, and yet at the same time at no point is the story sacrificed to make the verse work. That is tough to do well.

I also adore the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake. His style of writing is so poetic and yet still so easy to read, and it is the perfect example of how the way something is written can be just as important as what is being written. I like to read both fiction and non-fiction and last night I finished reading ‘Endurance‘ by Alfred Lansing. It’s the actual story of Shackleton’s voyage to, and escape from, the Antarctic in 1914 – 1916. I knew nothing about it before reading the book, but it is such an amazing story of survival that had me gripped from start to finish, and I would highly recommend it.

What can we expect from you in the future? What are you writing at the moment?

I recently released my second book with Charlie Roberts (illustrator of ‘Madeleine Goes to the Moon‘), called ‘Can You Draw The Dragosaur?‘. It’s the story of the world’s scariest monster, and why you’ve never heard of him, but as the title suggests, the illustrations need to be completed by the reader. I don’t talk about what I am writing at the moment in case it doesn’t work! I always have several stories in draft format and even more ideas in waiting and am constantly busy. I do also have several other stories completed, including one with rats in, one about an unusual tortoise, and the sequel to ‘Madeleine Goes to the Moon‘.

I also have two more books currently being illustrated and due for release this year. ‘Bunny‘ is my youngest daughter’s favourite and is being illustrated by Clare Lindley. ‘Recipe for Making a Snowman’ is one loved by adults and children alike and is being illustrated by Rosie McGuire. They are very different regarding style, and I’m excited about both of them. 

Find Peter at: peterlynas.com

Facebook: peterlynasauthor

Twitter: @PLynas


home pageThe People’s Book Prize is the unique literary competition that is judged by the nation and open to all UK publishing companies.

You Be the Judge: The People’s Book Prize – “The home for new and undiscovered works.”
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