Happy Birthday, Jonathan Stroud, born 27 October 1970
- When I write something that would have made me laugh as a 10-year-old, or would have scared me or would have excited me, I know I’m onto something.
- Practise: Write as much and as often as possible.
- Experiment: Try as many different kinds of writing as you can.
- Read: As above – as much and as widely as you can.
- When you’re confident you’ve got something worth showing, send your material to several publishers at once, so you don’t waste time if it’s rejected. But check to make sure these publishers actually do the kind of book you’re proposing! Don’t worry if you get rejections, but listen to any advice.
- As a child I was really into fantasy books with elves and goblins and swords, and I went through a phase for a few years when I was reading endless series. But in the end I became totally fed-up with all these sub-Tolkien rip-offs because they all end up doing the same old things and there’s no rigour to it.
- As an author, you need to keep talking to your audience to remind yourself what they like and what they don’t like. You spend most of your life locked in a room, and you need to be social occasionally.
- The important thing about any book is that you have to have a good story and that it has to be exciting. Then it’s nice to add other levels underneath that people can pick up on.
- When I was young, I kept a diary for about 10 years and I had to write in it every day. Even on days when nothing seemed to happen, I made myself think of something to put in it.
Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and young adults. He is best known for the Bartimaeus Trilogy.
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