Below is the ‘Question and Answer’ session with Author Piers Torday and our wonderful Pupil Librarians:
Welcome to our school!
What’s it like growing up in a family full of writers and books?
Did you have really great bedtime stories?
I did have really great bedtime stories but at the time I didn’t know I was growing up in a family of writers. My Dad worked in a business that made parts for ships and didn’t write his first book until he was 59, that book was called ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’. My Mum ran a children’s bookshop called ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ and I enjoyed spending time there.
What was favourite book when you were little and why?
I have so many favourite books that I put them on an invisible wheel and spin it – today it is stopping on ‘Charlotte’s Web’ by E B White. It’s a lovely story about an unusual friendship between a pig and a spider.
Did you always like to read and write or did you sometimes find it boring?
I always liked escaping into books and disappearing into my imagination on adventures.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve had lots of jobs and tried lots of things but when my Dad was published I thought I would give it a try!
Kester is bullied because he is different in ‘The Last Wild’- what would you say to someone who is being bullied?
I would say that the thing that makes you different is the thing that makes you special and if the bully doesn’t see how special you are I am very sad for them and for you as being bullied for being you is horrible. Don’t ever loose what makes you special, no one should ever be bullied.
The future world in your books is very sad- are you worried about the future of our planet? I am.
I am very worried by what humans are doing to the world. We face a future in which your grandchildren could be living on a planet without rhinos or elephants and only this week there was another report about how seriously endangered our wildlife is now. But I am hopeful – I believe in our planet and human nature and I believe we can change things.
How long does it take to write one of your books?
When I was writing my first book ‘The Last Wild’ I was trying to write it by squeezing it into bits of time, when I was not working, at evenings and weekends.
Now I can write all the time but I usually have a dead line, my publisher will say we want this done in a year.
When our teacher says we have to write a story it is sometimes hard to get ideas. How do you get your ideas?
There are ideas all around you. You just have to ask questions like, ‘Why has that owl sat on those books? Where has he come from? What is he thinking? Where will I go if I follow that sign? Just let your imagination answer the questions and then you have a story.
Which of your books is your favourite and why?
When I wrote the first one – I didn’t think I could do it , but I did- so that was my favourite, when I wrote the second one I had to write to a deadline and I didn’t think I’d do it but I did- so that was my favourite one. Hmm- Whichever book I wrote last is my favourite.
How do you want your readers to feel when they are reading your books?
I want them to forget they are reading a book and be completely immersed by the story.
We are really glad you came to open our library! Why do you think libraries are important?
Libraries are just as important as hospitals and schools, they are essential, we need them -they are an important part to everyone’s life. We all find something we need in a library.
Are you writing a book at the moment?
If you are can you tell us something about it?
Yes I am and No I can’t!
What would you say to someone who doesn’t like reading or finds it hard?
Don’t give up- you haven’t found the right book yet. Keep trying- use librarians, friends and teacher’s recommendations. But keep going- you will find it one day! If you stop trying you will miss out on so much.
Have you ever thought about writing a picture book about the environment and animals for younger children? We think you should!
Thank you, I have but writing a picture book is not as easy as some people may think! Writing a picture book may not have as many words as a novel but it is choosing the right words and the right pictures. I am an enormous admirer of illustrators such as Jon Klassen, Axel Schaffer etc. Yes it is definitely something I am thinking about…Watch this space!
I like planes can you write a book with some planes in it?
Thank You for that idea! In my book ‘The Wild Beyond’ there is a very exciting part where a young boy has to take control of a plane and make a crash landing. So, if you like planes you could try that one!
If you went to Mars and could only take one book with you- what would you take and why?
Oh, good question! It would have to be the complete works of Shakespeare, It’s full of familiar characters and I would feel like I was with friends if I had that book with me.
Have you been to Weston before?
Do you like it?
Yes, my brother and his family live in Wick St Lawrence, just outside of Weston so I have been here lots of times but coming to open a library is one of the very best reasons to visit Weston! I like Weston it’s lovely.