September 16, 2007

Why Conn Iggulden writes (and reads)

Davy and Daniel realize that their warm summer glory days are numbered -- they've figured out a system where they finish all their school work by lunchtime, so I'll let them head outdoors to the shop where this past week they built themselves a workbench, complete with bookshelf -- and they're frantically coming up with projects to fill the remaining days. Which is why Daniel's copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys (UK edition) looks like this:



















They are making the most of some outdated business card/bookmarks with which a friend gifted us.

Since the Big Red Book has been turning up everywhere around here, indoors and out, I was interested the other day to read this Guardian interview with Dangerous Book co-author Conn Iggulden on "Why I write"; from which:
What was your favourite book as a child?
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. At a very young age, I wanted to have a special bond with animals and birds. I wanted there to be magic in the world, or at least in me. In The Secret Garden, Dickon had that bond and I remember envying him. I also have the idea that he was as grubby as I usually was.

When you were growing up did you have books in your home?
Yes. The house was filled with them. I ate breakfast with Adrian Mole propped under my plate of toast. I read in the bath, in trees and occasionally on the roof. My brother slept under a set of shelves so bowed that I honestly thought they would one day collapse and kill him.

Was there someone who got you interested in reading books or writing?
My Irish mother told me vivid stories of history and grisly executions from a young age. She quotes poems and loves words to this day. I doubt I'd be writing without her tales. Still, I don't really know where the original story-telling bug came from -- loneliness, perhaps.

What made you want to write when you were starting out?
I began with fantasy novels and loved the wild flights of imagination. That was a drug to me and a world I wanted to join. It's difficult to explain, but it's a wonderful feeling when the words come.
Iggulden's current writing projects according to the interview include a second Dangerous Pocket Book, and a book of heroes with his brother David. Read the rest here.

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