Elias: Hello, Darren. Welcome to Elias Zapple Interviews...
Darren: I'm so honoured to be interviewed by you that I think I may start to cry.
Elias: I understand that you have two children and that one of them, your daughter Ellie, was the inspiration behind The Seren Trilogy. I myself was inspired to write Jellybean the Dragon due to my late pet slug, Steve - which made all my other slugs supremely jealous and demanding that I write books for them too. Do you find yourself in a similar pickle? Will you be writing a book for your other child as well?
Darren: Firstly I’m very sorry to hear about the passing of your slug, Steve and it is a shame that the others would feel how they do BUT I think they have a point, if I was a slug and knew that Steve had inspired a book I might start to think “Am I not good enough?” “Do I not have enough inherent slugness?”
So even though in a very small way my youngest is introduced into the books I can imagine a fair amount of sibling rivalry as the years progress and I think I had better start on some outlines now!
Elias: The Seren Trilogy promotes the helping of others. Shouldn't it also promote the throwing of cabbages?
Darren: Although cabbages do make fine throwing objects the creatures we are dealing with would either eat them or sling them with enough force to go through a wall so I think the health and safety issues override any want for lobbing cabbages about.
Elias: You have a book called Ellie and the Dragon. I have a book called Jellybean the Dragon. In a battle, who would win between our respective dragons?
Darren: Hmm, my dragon can be a bit of a softy but he is extremely loyal and brave and would only fight if protecting his loved ones. That said, mine.
Elias: Will your next book be entitled 'Ellie and the Slug'?
Darren: If only! Slug society is so complex and involving I don’t possess the writing skills as yet to take on such a task instead I shall be committing myself to Ellie’s adventures when she encounters a witch.
Elias: In Ellie and the Rabbits, Ellie meets some talking rabbits. Are you aware of the evil, disgruntled rabbit in 'Ado in the Meadow' by Mary Danino? What are your rabbits like?
Darren: I’ve seen that rabbit and it looks very mean and though some of my rabbits can be abrasive and a bit distrustful of Ellie at first they show their true side when she helps them.
Elias: You have another book, a book of poems, called 'I Think I Lost My Bottom'. Did you indeed lose it? How does one lose a bottom? I once thought I had lost a slug until I found it stuck to my shoe.
Darren: I’m very glad to say it was not my bottom that was lost but a close personal friend. They told me of their experience of waking up and just not being able to get their trousers to stay on, in short they had a very unhappy bottom so please everyone keep your bottom happy. Slugs in my experience like to stick to my windows so they can watch TV.
Elias: Does living in Norfolk inspire you in your writing? If so, is it down to the Coleman's Mustard?
Darren: The countryside is gorgeous and perfect for writing about. The setting for The Seren Trilogy is very close to our home near the coast and a summer’s walk through Sheringham Parkl ed to the grand ending in Ellie and the Battle.
As for mustard? No. I’m a turkey man, it’s why I moved here, I love turkeys but not as much as rabbits.
Elias: How much of your childhood in Wales comes through in your books. My time in Maputo shines through in my work.
Darren: I honestly have to say not that much. As my ambition was for my daughter to be able to recognise the places, people etc in the book then I have based it on what she knows and loves about living here in Norfolk. That said a couple of the rabbit characters are definitely based on teachers I knew from school. One in particular, Cast, who is the magic keeper for the rabbits is based on my Headmaster Mr Thomas who I remember as a lovely man.
Elias: Do you encourage your children to eat their cabbages?
Darren: With my son I’m lucky as he’s not on his solids yet and that’s a battle I will face with dignity and restraint when the time comes. My daughter however is adverse to any form of vegetable when served at home. If she has it at school then it goes down a treat so I think she’s plotting, scheming and devising a grand master plan that I assume will come to fruition in its own good time.
Elias: What are your main literary ambitions, Darren? Is it to become the next Elias Zapple?
Darren: I can only dream about attaining such magnificent moustachioed greatness, I hope one day to be able to inspire slugs and teach my children to throw cabbages. For the present I write and write, for the future I hope I continue to love it as much as I do now.
Elias: Thank you, Daren. May you one day achieve a moustache like yours truly. Unlikely, though.
The Seren Trilogy
ELLIE AND THE RABBITS
Our world is home to a very special animal.
It can walk, talk, think and feel.
It has a purpose.
It has a duty.
And it's not human.
On a family picnic curiosity gets the better of Ellie and sends her on a magical adventure with her new friends, Rox, Cast and Plume. She learns of a great danger and the duty that must be performed and promises her help no matter what.
From a beautiful sunny day to the dark woods full of danger, to the home of these wonderful creatures and the birth of our world, Ellie will travel. Not only will she try save her new friends, but the world itself.
ELLIE AND THE DRAGON
The house stood silent.
Consumed by ivy the house stood derelict and abandoned.
Forgotten, it was slowly being reclaimed by nature.
No one could live there.
No one human.
A year after her adventure with the rabbits, Ellie uncovers a remarkable secret next door to her new house. This secret will bring her joy and happiness beyond her wildest dreams. Her actions come with a price, however, and Ellie realises that what she has discovered could wipe out all mankind.
Scared, but not alone, what will she do?
ELLIE AND THE BATTLE
The adventure that began in Ellie and the Rabbits reaches it's conclusion in Ellie and the Battle. The dragons are planning to wage war upon humanity. Never again will they be at the mercy of mankind. But first, they must contend with those that would stand in their way.
Ellie and Cole have been captured but Rox enters into the struggle in an attempt to rescue her friend, and the dragons realise they have a new enemy to deal with. War seems unavoidable, and Ellie must now risk everything she knows and loves to stop the future. Join Ellie, Cole and Rox in the final book of the Seren Trilogy. Join the fight.
Elias: Welcome, Gareth. Mr Snazzy also welcomes your beard.
Gareth: My beard is not worthy.
Elias: Your father was a wandering shepherd. How did sheep inspire you to write The Kinmaran Chronicles?
Gareth: My dad mostly rode around on a tractor, and he was too large to saddle up a sheep. I guess sheep inspired me in that Isomee Hogg-Bottom grew up on a farm, but instead of sheep, she and her uncle breed and train chostri, super intelligent, fast birds large enough to ride on an race. Kids love animals of course. Slugs, not so much, except in a comedy setting.
Elias: Apparently, you've been a teacher for twenty years. In that time, how many children have you scarred for life with your tales of farming?
Gareth: I do talk about my childhood a lot, actually. I’m very proud about having grown up in the country, even if I didn’t realise how great it was at the time. Life for children these days is very different from when I grew up, let alone where I grew up. I don’t think I’ve scarred anyone, but the deepest scars are always hidden any on the inside and often hidden by wit, sarcasm, or moustaches wouldn’t you say, Elias?
Elias: The Adventures of Brackenbelly are published frequently. How are you able to do this? Do you have a team of slugs doing your writing, or do you force your pupils to write them?
Gareth: I’m just very talented. No, honestly, the stories are quite short at only 12-15,000 words, but that’s all changing as of book 5, which will hopefully be out in April. I had always intended the books to be short and episodic, but, to be honest, that doesn’t seem to be working so, along with a few other reasons, I’m making the books longer.
Elias: If you do not force your pupils to write your books, may I force them to write my books? (Some of my slugs have been quite slack of late).
Gareth: You could try, but they are huge Brackenbelly fans and fiercely loyal to me.
Elias: Have you found being a shepherd teacher has either helped or motivated you in writing in the field of children's literature?
Gareth: I think it’s helped me to know what makes children tick, plus I think and act like a child. I obviously read a lot of children’s books as a part of my job and am shocked at how boring many of them are.
Elias: How do you pronounce Kinmaran and what is a Kinmaran? Is it perhaps a kind of poisonous cabbage?
Gareth: Kin-mar-run, or at least that’s how I say it. A Kinmaran is a person or thing that comes from the planet Kinmara. So The Kinmaran Chronicles are stories that come from Kinmara. Brackenbelly is an uma, one of two (that we know of) Kinmaran races, the other being human. I’m sure there are cabbages and slugs on Kinmara, and they would most definitely be poisonous.
Elias: Your books deal with racism. As quite a few members (Mary Josefina Cade and Mary Danino specifically) of Fun-tastic Children's Books are sluggists, do you have any advice to battle not only racism but also sluggism? (My cabbages are available).
Gareth: They do, and hopefully in a way that isn’t in your face, unlike your slugs and moustache. The only way to defeat racism, or sluggism, is through education and good role models. Can you provide that, Elias? My books aim to be entertaining but with strong moral values that hopefully the reader will pick up on, if only subconsciously.
Elias: Do any of your characters use cabbages as weapons? If not, why not?
Gareth: Not yet, but I could easily write it in. Part of what inspired The Kinmaran Chronicles was Chinese Wuxia (martial arts hero) stories. The characters in them often fight with everyday objects like umbrellas or even musical instruments. Maybe Isomee could use her Lak-Ti to fire cabbages at the enemy. In book 5 a new character, who is nominally Chinese, is introduced. I already had plans for a weapon, but a cabbage isn’t entirely out of the question.
Elias: Have you any plans to write an entirely different series of books based on my moustache, Mr Snazzy?
Gareth: Not about Mr Snazzy, no. But, I am writing the first in what will probably become a new series. It will keep many of the themes of The Kinmaran Chronicles, especially what it means to be a hero. It’s funny, Brackenbelly was inspired by Wuxia stories and myths and legends, and now I’m going back to my roots. My new project is retellings/imaginings of the great hero myths from Greece and Rome.
Elias: Don't you think it's time you shaved off your beard and walked away, head bowed, admitting defeat to the all-powerful and furry, Mr Snazzy?
Gareth: I did shave it off on the first day of the half-term holiday. While my beard isn’t as luxuriant as your magnificent ‘tache, it does help hide my double chin and flabby jowls. It’s slowly growing back.
Elias: Thank you, inferior beard-grower.
The Kinmaran Chronicles I.i - The Adventures of Brackenbelly: All in a Day's Work
A thought provoking and exciting fantasy adventure for 8-12 year olds. The Adventure Begins! Isomee Hogg-Bottom's life changed forever the day she met Brackenbelly. A traveller of incredible skill and intelligence. A warrior with a kind heart. An outsider who could communicate with animals. A stranger who would become her friend. When Brackenbelly arrives at Hogg-Bottom farm to buy a chostri to ride, he finds himself thrown into the middle of a dangerous mystery. Something is trying to eat the giant birds in the darkness of night. In exchange for a chostri, Brackenbelly agrees to capture the foul beast, but he soon finds it isn't the only monster that lives on Hogg-Bottom farm.
The Kinmaran Chronicles I.ii - The Adventures of Brackenbelly: Two's Company
An action-packed and thought provoking fantasy series for 8-12 year olds.
The Adventure continues!
Brackenbelly’s life changed forever the day he met Isomee Hogg-Bottom, he just didn’t know it yet.
Leaving Hogg-Bottom farm, and Isomee, far behind, Brackenbelly takes a short cut through a large forest. He soon discovers it’s riddled with mysterious dragon ducts and that there are many dangers lurking in the trees. To make matters worse, something is following him, but who, or what is it and what does it want?
It doesn't take long for Brackenbelly to realise it’s none other than Isomee Hogg-Bottom, who’s run away from home, but the danger’s only just beginning for them both. Isomee’s trapped down one of the dangerous dragon ducts and something equally dangerous wants to stop Brackenbelly from rescuing her.
Will Brackenbelly succeed? And even if he does, will the pair escape the other dangers of the forest unharmed?
In All in a Day’s Work, Isomee Hogg-Bottom's life changed forever the day she met Brackenbelly, but in Two’s Company, things REALLY change - for them both!
The Kinmaran Chronicles I.iii - The Adventures of Brackenbelly: Three's a Crowd?
A thought-provoking fantasy/adventure series for 8-12 year olds.
Finally emerging from the dangers of the dragon duct forest, Isomee is about to find out that her new Lak-Ti isn't just a Gift, but can also be a curse. Tired and hungry, Isomee and Brackenbelly try to get a lift from a passing farmer, but when he discovers Brackenbelly is an uma, he refuses. Despite his reaction, Brackenbelly charges to his rescue when he is attacked by a band of vicious L’Tar. Grateful for the help, Audley, the farmer, takes them to his home in Bently village. Will our heroes finally get a chance to rest or will the L’Tar return for revenge?
“Three’s a Crowd?” expands the world of Kinmara and introduces exciting new characters.
Elias: Welcome, Christopher. Thanks for coming.
Christopher: You're welcome, Elias. I admire you and your slugs so much and I'm also insanely envious of your Mr Snazzy.
Elias: I believe you're from Chichester and your books are also set in Chichester. Are you a little obsessed with Manchester?
Christopher: Manchester? Never heard of it. Chichester or Chi as we like to call it (rhymes with eye not knee) is 15 mins from the beach, 15 mins from Glorious Goodwood - what's not to like?
Elias: Are you hoping Creatures of Chichester will do for Chichester what Sherlock Holmes did for Baker Street and, indeed, what I've done for both Camberwell and Maputo?
Christopher: I don't think the creatures would like it if we were over-run by Twolegs. The bats at the Sports Centre, Punchbag and Rowina Duckpond can get pretty mean. (I think Rowina never forgave her dad for the stupid name).
Elias: Why are there no slugs in your Creatures of Chichester books? Are you a slugist?
Christopher: In fact I don't think there are any molluscs in the books so far. Bees and ladybirds and spiders but no slugs. I'm not slugist, just a little scared of what they may do.
Elias: Is one of your characters, Mr Penfold, named after Penfold from the cartoon, Dangermouse?
Christopher: No he's named after Mr Penfold who runs the butcher's called....ummm..Penfolds in Chichester. Who says creativity is dead? I have to get cheap steaks somehow!
Elias: You've had many jobs throughout your life. Ever been a cabbage thrower?
Christopher: Never thrown a cabbage but I have in it on my bucket list along with growing a moustache, visiting Maputo and buying a sluggery.
Elias: Which of your many, many, many jobs has been the biggest source of inspiration for your books? How much does my moustache, Mr Snazzy inspire you?
Christopher: Okay I have been around a bit, teaching little darlings in Slough was an inspiration. At least to stop teaching anyway. No I love them really and some of them even made it to adulthood. I'm really more inspired by the moustache of my illustrator Joe Elgie. Check it out.
Elias: Would you like to try a grilled slug garnished with rosemary and basil?
Christopher: Depends if Rosemary and Basil are okay about it.
Elias: If your books were turned into animated films, who do you imagine would do the voices? I myself have a splendid voice that rivals Brian Blessed.
Christopher: You're booked!
Elias: What is your writing environment like? Cup of herbal tea close at hand, surrounded by many an admiring slug?
Christopher: I have a lovely office overlooking the garden I designed which does have some lovely hostas and therefore the odd admiring slug.
Elias: Any other books planned for this series or maybe something brand new? Perhaps a biography of Elias Zapple?
Christopher: I am working on the third book called 'the one about the curious cloud' which has weird and wonderful effects on the Twolegs of Chichester. Luckily, Plectrum, the rabbit from the music shop is on hand to save the day. I might do a biography at a later date of my dear friend Elijah Dapple.
Thank you, Christopher.
The Creatures of Chichester: The One About the Mystery Blaze
The Twolegs of Chichester are awoken by a blazing inferno just days before Christmas. Evil clowns are roaming the city’s streets, and they are not here to throw custard pies. Two adorable hamsters, Shandy and Mash from South Street, have been badly injured in the fire and desperately need help. It’s time for Button and Stitchley, the intrepid spiders from North Street, to once again call upon the creatures of Chichester to solve the mystery, and this time there is a sting in the tail.
The Creatures of Chichester: The One About the Stolen Dog
It’s the summer of 2012 and most of the Twolegs in Chichester, England are having a good time but not Mr Penfold because someone has stolen his dog.
A little red-headed Twoleg was last seen leading the dog away - but that was days ago.
Button and Stitchley, two intrepid spiders living in North Street, decide to get to the bottom of the crime.
They enlist the help of other creatures in the city to find out just who the vile dognapper is.
But it’s not easy; the cats hate the dogs; the mice are not too fond of the falcons and don’t even mention the bats!
Elias: Hello Natalie. Thank you for doing this interview.
Natalie: I am honoured to be in your presence, Elias.
Elias: Your first book, Hide Alex Hide features a dragon and a spider. Wouldn't a couple of army-trained slugs have been better?
Natalie: I didn't feel there was as much scope in the books for army trained slugs - added to that the original Alex had an imaginary dragon as a friend, he's never had a slug as a friend, so far...although, in stories as in life, there is always room for expansion.
Elias: Slugs often say you should write about what you know. Do you know many real-life dragons and spiders? If so, which world do you inhabit?
Natalie: I inhabit a wonderful place called Colourland - where practically anything can happen - if only you can find the magic entrance.
Elias: Elias is a superb name for a boy. Would you consider changing Alex's name to Elias?
Elias: In the 2nd book in the series the Dragon plays drums. If you were to compare his drumming style to any famous drummer, who would you compare him to?
Natalie: I'm thrilled that you've read the second book - in which Spider plays the drums and Dragon plays a keyboard. Spider styles himself on Mark Maher (known as Kram) from Spiderbait and John Bonham from Zeppelin - I've had to pick 2 as Spider has 4 arms to play with.
Elias: Ever tried making cabbage cake?
Natalie: Yes - fed it to the slugs at the end of the garden - they didn't come back.
Elias: Would you like to donate all the proceeds from your books, Hide Alex Hide and Louder Alex, Louder to my Slug Foundation?
Natalie: Although they are currently not really significant - the answer is no.
Elias: Is there a 3rd book in the series? Could you tell us about it? Could you then donate the proceeds from that one to me... I mean us, as well?
Natalie: The third book is Run Alex, Run where Alex, Dragon and Spider decide to have a race to see who's the fastest, but Alex likes to run, Spider likes to climb and Dragon likes to fly - so they have to find a race they can all join in on. And, no.
Elias: How did you get into writing? Were you inspired by me, Elias Zapple?
Natalie: As inspiring as I find you, my inspiration is, and always will be, my son Alex. I got into writing by composing his Naming Day poem, then short stories about his adventures (not in rhyme) then the Alex, Dragon and Spider book and Colour Land (which is currently being illustrated).
Elias: What's the best, most fun-tastic, amazingly awesome group on Facebook?
Natalie: I've found this great group where slugs are welcome full on nice, helpful and slightly off-beat people that I really enjoy being part of. The full name of it escapes me at the moment, but it's fun-tastic and all about Children's Books.
Elias: Your illustrations are very impressive and were done by Gina Rahman. How did you meet? Did you pay her in cabbages?
Natalie: I met Gina through another (not as fun-tastic but useful) writing page. I asked for help of how to get my books illustrated and Gina contact me. I loved her stuff and we've never looked back. We've both had commissions for other books and get on fantastically well - considering we've never met in person - though hopefully one day. We just clicked brilliantly and tend to think along the same lines with the books. No cabbages were used as payment as Paypal wouldn't accept them. I don't understand why myself!
Thank you, Natalie!
Hide Alex, Hide:
'Alex is a very ordinary little boy, so why is he hiding under his bed and who are the creatures searching everywhere to find him? "Hide Alex, HIDE!!" is the first in a series of books following Alex and his friends in their adventures.'
Louder Alex, Louder:
'Alex and Dragon start a band, Spider wants to join too, but with dreams of big crowds and fame, will Dragon let Spider play his drums. The latest from the Alex, Dragon & Spider series.'
Author Tony Gilbert
Elias: Hello, Author Tony. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Author Tony: I would've walked over hot coals and given my left kidney to do this interview.
Elias: You have a very interesting and appropriate first name. Were your parents psychic when they decided to name you 'Author'?
Author Tony: No, actually they were hippies.
Elias: Your books have been described as two covers with words in-between. How else would you describe them?
Author Tony: There are pages in there too. Not many in ‘The Cloud Diary’ though, which is a short story full of hope and love – a tale that delves in to the mind of a child who has lost someone so close to them. ‘Hugo – A Quest for King Borin’, on the other hand is a full length children’s novel based in a fantasy world full of dragons and elves and goblins; plenty of adventure, fun and fighting.
Elias: One of your current books, Hugo - A Quest for King Borin (The Hooded One) has quite a long title. Was the title once shorter and just called 'Hugo' until you were threatened by Martin Scorsese?
Author Tony: Well, ‘The Hooded One’ is just in reference to the series. The next book will be ‘The Hooded One 2”.
Scorsese is actually a nice chap but I was a bit peaved when he made me change the title of my recent short story ‘Casino’.
Elias: The character names from Hugo - A Quest for King Borin are a little quirky. At the time you thought of them were you drinking strangely-coloured tea?
Author Tony: No, normal coloured tea, the sugar was very powdery though.
Elias: Would you like some tips on growing cabbages?
Author Tony: No, but thank you. If you have any ideas on how to kill a holly bush I would be most appreciative though
Elias: What else do you do besides writing children's literature and plotting the demise of various tyrannical leaders?
Author Tony: I am currently writing a historical fiction novel for adults. There will definitely be some tyrannical leaders in there.
Elias: Have you ever considered growing a moustache and, if not, is it because you know you'd never grow one as good as mine?
Author Tony: I have a moustache and if you want to compete with me, I am up for the challenge!!!
Elias: Which children's book do you wish you'd have written? I would quite understand if it was one of mine.
Author Tony: My favourite book as a child was ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl. I read it more times than I can remember. To tell you the truth, if I had written any of Dahl’s stories I would be amazingly happy and proud.
Elias: The Cloud Diary is a very touching and tender story about how a child deals with the loss of a parent. I can completely empathise with the child as I recently lost a very dear friend, my pet slug Steve. Steve was accidentally mowed down by a lawn mower that I happened to be operating. His death wasn't intentional. Would you have any words of comfort for me and any others out there?
Author Tony: I can understand your pain but unfortunately slug-therapy is something with which I have no experience. Now if you’d have said a snail…
Elias: Apart from a book about cabbage throwing you and I might collaborate on, any other books in the pipeline?
Author Tony: My new kiddies picture book, ‘Super Fred’ will be out shortly before Christmas. The paperback version of ‘The Cloud Diary’ should be on sale in the next few days. I also have an adult noir novella, ‘Dick’, which will be released as an eBook early in the new year.
Thank you, Author Tony. And if I ever need a kidney, I shall be sure to give you a call.
Hugo - A Quest for King Borin (The Hooded One)
The castle of Queen Ennet is under attack by a mysterious enemy known only as The Hooded One. The Queen hears of a spell which will protect her lands against the incoming army of trolls, goblins and ogres. She sends word to the realm of King Borin, only to find that he is allied to The Hooded One.
Who is The Hooded One? Why has King Borin sided with him and declared war on Queen Ennet?
Who is the young knight who has been sent alone towards the Queens realm and how will he get across The Wasteland’s?
This story, aimed at children between 7 and 13, follows Hugo, the young knight as he makes his way across many miles, meeting fantastic creatures and facing treacherous challenges towards the realms of Queen Ennet. What will he find when he arrives and how will he survive his final and most dangerous challenge?
The Cloud Diary
The Cloud Diary - a short story dealing with a small child's loss of a parent.
50% of all profits made will be going to Winston's Wish.
Winston’s Wish now in its 20th anniversary year helps children rebuild their lives after the death of a parent or sibling, enabling them to face the future with confidence and hope. We are the largest provider of childhood bereavement services in the UK and offer the widest range of practical support and guidance to children, families, professionals and anyone concerned about a bereaved child. We know from experience that the right support offered at the right time can have a life-changing impact on bereaved children and young people.
For more information please visit www.winstonswish.org.uk Helpline number 08452 03 04 05
Mary Josefina Cade
Elias: Hello, Mary. Thank you for doing this interview.
Mary: I would've given both legs to do this interview as I am in such awe of you.
Elias: Your children's book is called ZiyZo, which is quite a strange name. Are you also quite strange?
Mary: It's not me that's strange. It's everyone else. I have no idea why I'm trapped in this heavy material world and not flying about in fairy land. I make huge efforts to pass as normal which are (obviously) not always successful.
Elias: What inspired you to enter into the financially lucrative world of children's fiction?
Mary: I've never left the world of children's fiction. My earliest friends lived in the pages of Hans Christian Anderson's stories, my best friend being the Little Mermaid. As I grew older, I bonded with Frodo and Sam and journeyed to Mount Doom on countless occasions. I wouldn't call my own work fiction. It's all real to me.
Regarding money, I get a fail on that. The word lucrative is in a foreign language.
Elias: If you weren't a struggling author, what else would you be struggling in?
Mary: I'd like to make films. Thought films that would transmit images straight from my mind to the screen without having to waste time writing scripts and raising huge amounts of money. Every day is a struggle when you'd rather fly than walk.
In the meantime I'm taking photographs and dreaming.
Elias: Are you a sprout person or a cabbage person?
Mary: Give me sprouts, give me cabbage, love them both. Chomp, chomp, crunch. I'm a happy vegetarian.
P.S. I am not a caterpillar.
Elias: You seem to be quite obsessed with magic, dragons and other such things. Are you a dangerous person and, if so, should we burn you at the stake?
Mary: Magic is the air I breathe. When young I studied the magical skills required by the dictator type of wizard. Luckily I changed direction or I'd be like the Thief in ZiyZo. Although I don't blame him as he suffered traumatic events in his childhood (yet to be revealed). I'm hoping he'll undergo a transformation by the end of the series. At the moment he's very very dangerous.
I, on the other hand, am a harmless grandmother, so keep the stake for vampire hunting.
Elias: What's the name of your favourite author who's first name begins with an E and surname starts with the letter Z?
Mary: That's an easy one. Esyllt Zaira. Her writing is only available in parchment form so not mainstream at the moment. I cannot reveal the subject of her work.
Elias: Butter or jam on your toast?
Mary: Neither. Olive oil. And tomatoes. Plus I never say no to cabbage. Chomp, chomp, crunch etc.
Elias: Your middle name, Josefina, suggests some Spanish heritage. Are you a spy working for the Spanish government?
Mary: I was born into a Catholic family on St Joseph's day, but after an unfortunate experience in the baptismal font I failed to bond with priests and nuns. My allegiance lies elsewhere, with Arthur, the once and future king, my hero. And with his greatest warrior, Prince Bedwyr. So I'm a true Brit.
Elias: What other projects do you have in the pipeline aside from your project of creating a real-life, fire-breathing dragon that you hope will do your bidding?
Mary: I've always been obsessed with ancient history and Elizabethan England, so time travel is my top priority. I need to confer with the original druids. In my book for adults, The Bermondsey Grail, Adelaide actually gets to do this. SO jealous.
Christopher Marlowe and Will Shakespeare are top of my 'have to meet' wish list. I'd like to find out if Shakespeare did write his plays. Or not.
Dragons don't make good domestic pets. I keep mine hidden in the Egyptian sculpture galleries of the British Museum.
Elias: If you become a successful author, do you promise to donate all your royalties to Elias Zapple?
Mary: Even if I earned as much as the great J.K. there'd be nothing left for you. The bill from the British Museum is growing daily. Dragon fire is incredibly destructive and ancient Egyptian sculptures cost zillions to replace.
Thank you, Mary. I'm glad you were able to manage not to faint whilst in my presence.
For Mary's website click here
ZiyZo is a London fairy tale for pre teens, teenagers and anyone who is interested in the latest magical upgrades and developments.
'Online dragon chasing, with a great prize. Twelve year old Ben and Tayo can't resist the new game, ZiyZo. Only...... ZiyZo is a cyber trap, laid by a magically talented young thief, the inventor of mobile/cell phone magic and text spells. The Thief has stolen the Magician's Fire, a small crystal ball that contains the power to control all electrical energy. In order to open the Magician's Fire the Thief needs to use traditional magic, cruel and terrifying traditional magic. In a very short time the two boys and their friends Jess, Kate and Arthur are placed in a situation of extreme danger.'
The Bermondsey Grail
A ghost in the office, drowned lovers trapped in a supernatural river & magical druid music. Adelaide needs help!
'Adelaide hates her job as a postal/mail room clerk, but how else is a dream centred musician to earn a living? Then...... One dark winter morning she is swept up by a supernatural river and dropped on the floor of her office beside the ghost of a drowned young man. So begins the mysterious adventure of the Bermondsey Grail, a London fairy tale. Adelaide and her two young companions, Joe and Imogen, race to outwit rival Grail seekers, their actions interweaving with past events, creating a new and dangerous reality. Legend, love, magic and twenty first century office procedures combine to bring the story to a thrilling conclusion.'
Elias: Hello, Ann. Thank you so much for coming.
Ann: It's a real privilege and honour to be here. I'm truly not worthy.
Elias: Your book, Surprise in Auntie's Garden, is in both English and Spanish. Are you discriminating against other languages?
Ann: Actually I am completely fluent in English and Spanish, so I write the books in the languages I know. I could make up others, or I could have them translated, but I prefer to know what is written. No discrimination involved.
Elias: Recently, you were in a poetry contest against me, Elias Zapple, in which you were quite soundly beaten. Have you considered writing a book of poems? (You would naturally be hoping that I do not also release a book of poems).
Ann: Actually, Your Zappleness, I believe you are delusional. I was judged to have won that poetry contest, but you changed the rules. Aside from that, yes. I have written a great deal of poetry and have considered releasing an anthology in the future.
Elias: Your book, Surprise in Auntie's Garden, is about Erin finding a funny-looking worm. Wouldn't it have been better if she had found a violent-looking slug? Would you consider changing this bearing in mind my cabbages are aimed at you?
Ann: Remember, I am not afraid of your cabbages. They could not hurt me, since I am in the USA. If Erin had found a violent-looking slug, the rest of the story could not have not unfolded realistically. I'm glad I chose the worm (caterpillar).
Elias: Do you prefer green cabbages or purple cabbages?
Ann: I prefer purple cabbages because you grow green cabbages. I am somewhat contrary in nature at times. Especially with specialists such as you.
Elias Are you prouder of being an author or a morris dancer?
Ann: Since I do not know the morris dances yet, I am prouder of being an author.
Elias: When not writing children's books and cowering in a corner in fear of a barrage of cabbages raining down upon you, what do you do?
Ann: I do not cower in a corner in fear of a barrage of cabbages...I am a brave sort. I must be to participate in your FaceBook page interactions. I love humour, I love my family, I am active in the community and very interested in world cultures and languages. I am always learning.
Elias: What inspires you to write, besides my moustache?
Ann: My first 2 books were based on actual events with young family members. My third is in progress and takes place in the UK, where I actually visited, thankfully before I met you. It will deal with understanding why "different" does not need to be threatening, and it says nothing about cabbages.
Elias: You claim to have Viking ancestry. How would a Viking solve the Korea problem?
Ann: Actually, Vikings had nothing to do with the Korea problem, so that was an easy question.
Elias: What gave you the greater satisfaction: Having your book published or meeting Elias Zapple?
Ann: That one is difficult, but I will have to opt for the greater satisfaction of having my book(s) published.
Elias: Aside from attempting to make the whole world learn how to morris dance, what's next for Ann Morris?
Ann: Thank you for asking! I mentioned earlier that I am currently working on my 3rd book pair. I have many others in various stages of development. I have begun to print each book with the characters in a different race or ethnicity, and later even mix them. My global concerns are a passion of mine, and my writing is essential to my being. I write to teach children of all ages to love learning and to continue to explore knowledge. Deep inside, I believe that everyone has something to contribute to global understanding and peace. We deal with people, not groups. I believe in the individual.
Thank you, Ann. I'm sure it was a pleasure for you to be interviewed by me.
Surprise in Auntie's Garden:
'Auntie and her niece, Erin, both love flowers. Auntie is proud of her flower garden, and Erin likes to be with her among the flowers. One day Erin finds a funny kind of “worm” in the garden and calls Auntie over to see it. While learning about what this "worm" was, Erin learns a valuable lesson in nature.'
My moustache is great, my slugs are great, my cabbages are great and Elias Zapple is meh.