Meet Paul Jennings
What were some of your favourite books when you were growing up?
My favourite books varied with my age, but it would have gone in this order as I got older: 'The William' books by Richmal Crompton (I was very disappointed, in fact shocked, when I discovered that Richmal Crompton was a woman). Then the 'Biggles' books by W E Johns and finally the 'Bulldog Drummond' books by Sapper.
Who are some of your favourite authors and why?
I always enjoy reading Larry McMurtry, William Trevor, Cormac McCarthy and Ray Bradbury who all write terrific stories.
Do you have any other pastimes besides writing that you enjoy?
Music, reading and recreating the native forest – nature.
Looking back over your incredibly successful writing career, what are some of your favourite memories?
Being accused of copying a short story out of a book and I was in Year 7. I was very flattered that they thought that I was that good. Ones first book also brings a great thrill. I carried it around for weeks and kept looking at it thinking, ‘I wrote that’.
Do you have any quirky writing habits that you’d like to share with us?
I don’t think it’s very quirky, but I always do my best work in the morning. I have written one good story as a result of a dream. It even provided me witha surprise ending.
What can you tell us about in your new series, ‘Don’t Look Now’?
Every chapter has a surprise ending and the book itself has a surprise ending. In other words it is a series of short stories which combine into one long story. I have always wanted to do this and I think it works. It is very funny and at the end it has a little lesson which it took me years to learn.
What inspired you to write about Ricky and his curious flying ability?
My own childhood was the inspiration. I wanted to fly so that everyone would look up and be amazed. I would be famous.
Can we look forward to more books soon?
I am always writing something or another and hope I can do it until the day I die.
What kinds of themes or ideas are central to your work for children? Are there any particular messages that you want to get across?
Don’t give up on your dreams. Be true to yourself. Don’t do something just because everyone else is. Be brave enough to be different. There are other people like you, you just have to seek them out.
Do you have any advice that you’d like to offer to aspiring writers and illustrators?
The world tends to want you to conform. It wants you to be one of the pack. People who come up with new ideas or do things differently are often discouraged, but creativity is one of the most wonderful gifts. Originality always trumps conformity. Go for it.
Don't Look Now Books 1 and 2 are now available at all good bookshops and online. Books 3 and 4 will be available from September 25.