Walking through walls...
27th Jun 18

Walking through walls...

Where would you go and what would you do if you suddenly discovered you could walk through walls? EMMA FISCHEL's new novel, WALLS, explores what one boy does when he discovers his new 'superpower'!

WALLS stars Ned, whose parents are separating. Instead of moving house, they decide to divide their existing house into two homes. However, Ned is not taking the news well and when he returns home from holiday to discover he has a new power - walking through walls - he uses it to create havoc.

We asked author EMMA FISCHEL to tell us more about being a writer and her novel, WALLS:

Q: Have you always wanted to be an author?

A: I've always been a reader, but it took years - and three children - for me to work out that I could be a writer too. Still, I'm here now!

Q: What other books have you written?

A: Quite a few others - but my favourites are the Witchworld series, all about modern-day witches with skyriders and spellsticks and cupboards full of ready-potions. Also two monster stories for Bloomsbury, and some biographies for younger readers.

Q: Walls follows Ned, whose parents are splitting up and who decide to divide up their house into two homes. What gave you that idea?

A: It was one of those 'what if' moments writers are sometimes lucky enough to have! I was thinking about how one of the big problems of a split is a practical one: how is one household going to become two? Then - boom! - it hit me. What if two people solved that problem by building a wall down the middle of the house?

Q: The book gives a real insight into how children might be affected by parents separating. Did you need to research this?

A: I saw my own children dealing with their changing family dynamic, so I suppose you could call that first-hand research. I wasn't aware it was research at the time, of course - and Walls came some years later.

Walls is Ned's story, though, not theirs. And I hope it's a story that any children in that situation - and friends of those children - will find helpful. Not to mention funny, action-packed and stuffed full of magic!

Q: Was it hard to create a main character, Ned, who is often horrid - but we still root for him?

A: Not that hard - I think most of us can relate to making mistakes, and behaving badly! And, poor old Ned, he may be grumpy and exasperating, but he's also in a tricky situtation, at home and with friends. He's struggling with his feelings, muddled and bewildered. Gradually understanding that his approach to solving problems is all wrong, but without much clue about ways to put it right.

Q: How important are friendships in your novel?

A: Friends are always important! The trouble is, when you're young, there's so much to learn about how to treat other people, and it's easy to get things wrong.

Q: Ned's story is about everyday life, so why did you decide to give him a magical ability?

A: Ah, interesting question... I wrote almost half the book before I decided Ned needed a magic skill. I wanted more lightness and humour - and thrills - in a story whose subject matter was quite challenging. A magic skill for Ned seemed the perfect solution!

Q: ...And if you could 'wallboggle', like Ned, what would be top of your places to go?

A: I'd wallboggle into seats of power around the world and, armed with super-strength recording devices, uncover the truth behind all those closed-door conversations. Either that, or I'd boggle into the Beckhams' house and find out just how close their real life is to the perfect Instagram one...

Q: What would be your top tips for young writers to make magic in their stories 'real'?

A: It's all about how your characters react to the magic. So put yourself in your characters' shoes. How do they feel about the magic? What do they most want, or not want, the magic to do? How will the magic help them, or not help them, in the story?

Q: Children are often told to write 'what they know about'. Would you advise them to do so, too?

A: Yes and no... I'd say mix it up a bit! If you want to write about meeting an alien, then do. Invent your alien, what it looks like, what it first does - but also add in something you do know about, which is feelings. Imagine all the different feelings that might go whooshing through you in that situation!

Q: Where do you write and what are you writing now?

A: I write tucked in a corner of the sitting room. Not ideal, but OK for now. As for what I'm writing - more children, more magic, more action. Not starring Ned, but something I hope fans of Walls will enjoy.

Q: What would your dream writer's shed look like, and where would it be?

A: Any shed would do right now... But one here, in my garden, with a desk to work at, a comfy armchair, and big views of the hills and the sky. That's about it. Although, if you're offering - an espresso machine would be nice!

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