Our merry band of young writers, The Scribblers, posed some particularly brilliant questions to some of the artists appearing at Hay this year. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you their answers. First up: JEREMY STRONG
Describe your latest book (pictured!) in 5 words.
FUNNY, EXCITING, A GREAT BUY!
If you had to pick one of your characters to spend the day with, which one would you choose?
MR BUTTERNUT, the teacher in the Cartoon Kid stories. As an ex-teacher myself I would like to discuss the problems thrown up by his strange class and swap funny stories about his children and some of the children I used to teach myself.
Which writer, dead or alive, you would like to collaborate with?
Ooh, ah, difficult one. Ted Hughes, who is, sadly, dead. He wrote that brilliant story, THE IRON MAN. I loved the way he used language in that – it was almost like reading poetry at times. I know I would learn a lot about writing if I was able to work with him.
What’s the best thing about writing?
GETTING PAID FOR IT! Ha ha! Well, it helps, doesn’t it? In truth I think the best moments are when you realise that you have got a really good idea and you’re sure it’s going to make a great book. But when you first start writing I guess the best moment is when you get your first book published. I have now written ninety three books, but I can still remember the my sheer joy when I got my very first book published more than thirty years ago.
What’s your top tip for budding young writers?
READ YOUR STORY OUT LOUD TO YOURSELF, WITH LOTS OF EXPRESSION. It’s a great way to discover where the bad and boring bits are, and where there are things that don’t make sense. Plus, you always find bits you want to change to make them better.
Thank you Jeremy!
Catch Jeremy Strong at the festival on Tuesday 5 June, 2.30pm.