Hello everyone and please welcome Katherine Woodfine the author of the recently released “The Mystery of The Clockwork Sparrow”. If you are a little curious about what this novel is about, feel free to head over to my review and find out more.
One of the reasons why I wanted to interview Katherine so badly was because first of all her debut novel is fantastic, but more importantly she spent the most part of her bookish career helping other authors in the publishing process, so I thought it would be interesting to have her perspective now that she is on that side of the publishing fence and here is what she had to say.
- So, how do you feel now that “The Mystery of The Clockwork Sparrow” is out? What is it like to have your book in pretty much every bookshops in the country?
Fantastic! It’s amazing that The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is now out in the world. Seeing it in bookshops is really wonderful: I am so excited that it is the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month for June, and I love seeing all of the incredible displays that booksellers have been creating – you can check some of them out here.
- Are you surprised that it generated so much interest from adult readers too?
I’m really delighted that so many adults are enjoying the book, as well as children. I am a firm believer that children’s books aren’t just for kids: I love reading children’s and young adult books myself, and am always recommending them to friends, so I couldn’t be happier that adults are picking up Clockwork Sparrow.
- After contributing to so many authors’ work whether illustrative or otherwise, what was it like to create your cover? Did you help with the process?
Seeing the artwork was one of my favourite things about the whole journey to publication! I love illustration and very visual books, so I was thrilled that my publisher, Egmont, wanted to create such a beautiful and appealing cover for Clockwork Sparrow, as well as including some interior illustrations too. The artwork is created by an incredibly talented illustrator called Júlia Sardà – you can see some more of her illustrations here.
In terms of getting involved in the process, the design team shared some early roughs and some artwork with me as it developed, which was fantastic to see. It looked brilliant at every stage and I think the finished cover is gorgeous – it really does perfectly conjure up the atmosphere of the book.
- I imagine you may have taken a small break after writing the last page of your book, so which character where you the saddest to leave and why? At least for a little while that is.
Straight after I finished writing Clockwork Sparrow, I got started writing the next instalment in the series – The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth, which comes out in March 2016 – so I didn’t have too much time to miss them! The sequel features all of the main characters from Clockwork Sparrow – but introduces some new characters too…
- Which character was the most fun to write?
Definitely Lil! She’s huge fun to write – I especially love coming up with all of her Edwardian slang expressions, which are often inspired by books like E Nesbit’s The Treasure Seekers, or early girls’ school stories by writers like Angela Brazil.
- If you could immortalise something from the book in a painting (and yes it can be anything) what would you choose and why?
Of course it would have to be the mysterious Clockwork Sparrow itself!
- What do you find more difficult, hosting a radio show or being an author?
In all honesty, hosting a children’s books radio show is mostly just great fun! We have a lovely time planning our Down the Rabbit Hole radio shows, reading great books, and chatting with fantastic authors and illustrators. At first I found actually presenting the show quite daunting, but now I love it.
I’d say that being an author is more difficult, though it’s a tremendous privilege. Having worked with so many incredible authors, I feel very lucky to be joining their ranks! Writing about Sophie and the gang, and imagining the world of Sinclair’s department store is always huge fun, but writing does take time – there’s lots of hard work along the way, and there’s always things you want to improve or do better. Having said that, all the difficult parts are more than worth it for the joy of holding your finished book in your hands – and knowing that readers are enjoying it!
- Why the “Red Shoes”? What’s the story behind your love for them?
When I was quite small – probably 6 or 7 – I had a scrapbook full of my writing and drawing that I called ‘My Yellow Brick Road’. I don’t really know where I got the title from – I suppose I must have seen The Wizard of Oz film or read the book, though I don’t quite remember – but somehow the idea of the ‘yellow brick road’ just really appealed to me. I think I liked the idea of going off on a magical journey!
A long time later, when I started writing a blog and was trying to come up with a title, I remembered that scrapbook and the idea of calling it ‘The Yellow Brick Road’ (or even ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’) came to me.
Of course, the ‘yellow brick road’ then immediately made me think of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. I love fun, colourful shoes, and somehow always seem to end up buying red ones, so it seemed a perfect fit. I popped outside, and snapped a photo of my feet in a pair of red polka dot shoes – and that was that!
- What is your favourite detective story of all time?
Thank you so much Katherine for letting us share into your world,