I'm happy to welcome the very funny and talented Will Mabbitt to The Hiding Spot today to answer questions about his hilarious middle grade novel, The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones, how writing can be like milking reluctant porcupines, rejected names for his daughters, and more!
Oh, and Will and I share a hiding spot! My favorite animal was the peregrine falcon all through elementary school. :)
The Unlikely Adventure of Mabel Jones is a rollicking adventure story that I’ve no doubt readers of all ages will love. Can you speak a bit about your inspiration for this story? Did you originally imagine it would have illustrations to accompany your text?
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones is inspired by a lifetime of reading adventure books, daydreaming and also by being incredibly bored on a train one day. Originally I was going to print it out on A4 paper, draw pictures myself, and give it to my daughter. I never imagined it was going to be made into a real book with real drawings by a real illustrator. He’s called Ross Collins by the way and he’s ace.
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?
I start by writing the chapter headings. Then I fill them out in order. The plot will change as I write so sometimes I’ll have to go back and modify things. I try to do this after I’ve got the first draft done. It’s a painful process. Somedays it feel like I am milking a reluctant porcupine, but its all worthwhile when I see the final version sitting in my local bookshop.What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing or provided inspiration?
I’ve had loads of jobs. I’ve checked toothpaste lids for defects in a plastics factory. I’ve been a door-to-door salesman. I’ve ordered staplers for civil servants. I’ve been a computer programmer, a graphic designer, and finally I’ve worked in advertising. Advertising is the most similar to writing fiction: You’re trying to get people to believe in things that aren’t really true.If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?
This is the hardest question ever. I’ve had to come back to this one after days of careful thought. My favourite word is either Sausage or Scarper. I suggested both as names for my first daughter but my wife didn’t like either for some reason. The word I use most is probably erm.My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot.
I think reading My Side of The Mountain by Jean George provided me with a hiding spot. It’s a story about a boy who runs away to live wild. I had never been to the Catskills mountains, and never been to America, but I knew every bit of the mountain side described in that book as though I had lived there for a year myself. As a kid I always wanted to run away to the mountains. I think there is a part of me that still does. I wonder if everyone feels like that sometimes?What can readers look forward to next?
The Second Mabel Jones book comes out in February next year. It’s called Mabel Jones and The Forbidden City. I’m working on the third one as we speak.
Oh! And I’ve got a picture book coming out next year too. It’s called Princess Pink Kitten and The Giant Robot Dinosaur!