Earlier this year one of my books ‘The Great Escape,’ set at the start of WW2, was featured in the Read for My School project. The competition saw 100,000 pupils from 3,600 schools reading more than 400,000 books! The winners were announced in June and given 1,000 books for their school as part of their prize. A fellow Megan, Megan Benson, aged 9, won the ‘Most Books Read’ award by reading 273 books during the two months of the competition. Well done Megan and well done to everyone who took part. As part of the project authors were interviewed about their writing and below is an extract from mine:
Six for Rix - An Interview with Megan Rix:
1. What makes a good story?
Characters you care about so you keep on reading to see what happens to them. J I love animal stories and have to keep reading to the end to make sure the animal is going to be OK! Did you know there’s a website where you can find out if the animal survives at the end of the movie? It has a little symbol by the movie title which is good for people like me who can’t bear to watch an animal get hurt and have to leave the room or the cinema (probably why I ended up being vegan!)
My latest book ‘The Bomber Dog’ is set during WW2 and opens with a young French girl called Sabine running through the fields carrying an 8 week old German Shepherd puppy to stop it from being confiscated by the German soldiers and trained as a war dog.
I like to write about ordinary, frightened, people being brave. I think it’s a theme I often use because it’s very close to my heart.’
2. What was your favourite book when you were around 9/10/11 years old (and why)?
When I was 9 I caught whooping cough and had to have a whole term off school. My mum had to go to work, so every week, and usually more than once a week, she'd bring me home as many library books as she could and I’d read them all. When I went back to school and took my end of year exams instead of being near the bottom of the class for English, as I usually was, I was pretty near the top - thanks to no schooling and tons of reading (I still had to have remedial maths for a term but then I caught up.)
One of the books I loved from that time and read over and over was Charlotte’s Web by EB White. It’s about a pig called Wilbur who’s befriended by a spider called Charlotte who saves his life. One day I’m going to write a story about a brave pig. I’d love to have a few miniature ones as pets, along with some alpacas and a donkey or two - and they’d have an orchard to run about and play in. J
3. Who was your hero when you were growing up (and why)?
My step-grandfather, Sergeant William Cloves. He used to tell me stories about his time as a soldier in World War 2. I never thought that one day I’d end up writing books about the War and wish he was still around so I could ask him more questions. He was in the army air corps (a paratrooper like Grey in The Bomber Dog.) During the War he was captured and put in a Prisoner Of War camp where he was helped by the camp cook. Although he left school at 14 he was amazingly good at learning other languages and made lots of friends in all the different countries he was sent to – many of whom he visited after the War.
4. Why do you write?
I love to write and tell stories and can’t imagine not doing so. It’s just part of me. I’ve written stories ever since I could write and will never stop. I’ve got so many ideas and characters to write about it I don’t think I’ll ever run out.
I write in my office at our house or on the bed or anywhere I happen to be. Usually wherever I’m writing my dogs, Traffy and Bella (pictured) are right there with me. They’re the perfect writing companions.
5. What is the best reason to read? The best reason is for fun and to visit other worlds and meet new characters. If you want to write well you have to read widely and that means trying lots of different sorts of books.
6. What question do you get asked most often by children when you visit schools, and what is the answer?
The question I get asked most often is: Can your dog Traffy come to visit our school?
And my answer is always: Yes, if she’s allowed to by your Headteacher. (She’s a Read2 Pets As Therapy dog.)
What question do you get asked most often by children?