Return to the world of Cogheart!
11th Oct 18

Return to the world of Cogheart!

We were thrilled to see a new Cogheart adventure that takes us back to a world of clockwork people and animals, airships and mystery! We spoke with author PETER BUNZL to find out more about SKYCIRCUS!

In the latest adventure, Lily, Robert and Malkin are lured to a circus where a flying girl leads the way into danger... Thrills, death-defying adventures and new friendships follow!

We asked author PETER BUNZL to tell us more about SKYCIRCUS:

Q: This is your third Cogheart book. How do you go about thinking of new adventures for your lead characters, Lily, Robert and the clockwork fox, Malkin?

A: I love revisiting the world because it means I can find out more about it and the characters. As long as there are new places to take them and new mysteries to solve it will always be interesting.

I didn't plan the sequels when I began the first book Cogheart, but the material from that which ended up getting cut influenced the way Moonlocket and Skycircus evolved.

So my advice is, never throw anything away. (In terms of writing I mean. Obviously in real life throw some things away - you don't want to be drowning in stuff!)

Q: Your books, and especially Skycircus, explore the discrimination faced by 'hybrids' - characters who have an element of mechanical in them. Why do you want to encourage children to think about issues like this?

A: While I was writing the book there was talk from certain newspapers and politicians and various other folk about how foreigners were no longer welcome in Britain. Coming from a Jewish family, who emigrated to this country just before World War II, that kind of rhetoric makes me very uncomfortable.

I think everyone needs to question how we treat others. To be aware of how people discriminates against those who are perceived as 'different' or a 'minority'. The truth is, fundamentally, we are the same and the 'us vs them' rhetoric is only about dividing everyone and creating discord.

Q: During this adventure we meet a child who can fly. If you could be part mechanical, what special skill would you want?

A: Probably that specific ability: to be able to fly. I think it's something everyone dreams of as a kid. It's why superheroes are so popular. So I would be like Angelique in the story and have mechanical wings, or else I'd be like Deedee and have superhuman legs that would help me balance and wire-walk up in the giddy heights of the circus tent.

Q: There are some great characters in the story who are actually machines, or mechanicals. Which would you like to have at home with you?

A: Mrs Rust, the mechanical cook and housekeeper, is my favourite mechanical in the story. I love writing her little sayings like: 'cogs and chronometers!' and I think she would be great to have at home to look after you and to cook tea and give good advice.

Q: What is the most impressive man made machine you have seen, and did it help inspire Cogheart at the outset?

A: There is an theme park in France called Les Machines De L'Ile where they have all kinds of mechanical animals to ride on. I went there when I was researching the books.

They have the most amazing mechanical elephant that we rode on around the park. It inspired the idea of putting mechanical animals in Cogheart, and specifically the Elephanta character in Moonlocket - you can find out more here:

Q: Skycircus is set in a circus that travels in an airship. Of all the airships your characters have travelled on in this series, which would you like to find yourself journeying in and where would you like it to take you?

A: I would like to take a trip on Ladybird, which is Anna Quinn's airship. I think she would be a fun pilot to travel with and I love the idea of a small and comfy dirigible - a bit like a caravan or barge - that flies about here and there.

I would probably take it on a voyage across the Atlantic. On one of the routes that real historical airships used to take: from Europe to America.

Q: Where and when is your favourite place to write?

A: My favourite place to write is at my desk in my office at home. And my favourite time to write is whenever the words are flowing freely - which is about once in a blue moon - and a bit like a waking dream. When the words are not flowing writing can be a nightmare.

Q: Do you have more adventures planned for Lily, Robert and Malkin?

A: I do have one more adventure currently planned for Lily, Robert and Malkin. I can't really say anything about it at the moment because it's top secret. But maybe there's a little clue to something that happens in the story in the answer about where I would travel in an airship.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about being an author?

A: The thing I enjoy most about the job is creating stories and characters and bringing them to life. Most of all I want people to be drawn into the adventures and, as the series progresses, gradually feel like the characters are old friends.

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