Giles Paley-Phillips is the author of Little Bell and the Moon and The Fearsome Beastie. Here, he talks about his new book for teenagers and adults, One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days…
Without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit about your new book One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days?
The book is the story of a teenager dealing with having a terminally ill mother and a father who has become estranged due to alcohol abuse.
What age group would you say One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days is aimed at?
Its aimed at late teens and adults.
One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days deals with the death of a family member. What was the inspiration behind this book? Was it difficult to write?
A lot of this book is about me and my own experiences and with that in mind it was extremely tough to write and I often had to take breaks, sometimes months at a time to complete it.
How is One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days similar to Little Bell and the Moon? How is it different?
There are some similarities with regards to the themes of death and grief but this is very much aimed at older readers and whereas Little Bell and the Moon is about initiating a conversation about the subject of grief, this book explores it even further
Why did you decide to write in One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days in verse?
I’ve always loved poetry and haven written lyrics and poems for many years, I felt I could convey the emotional aspects of the story far better in verse than in straight prose.
What does a day in the life of Giles Paley-Phillips look like when you’re writing?
Every day is so different, and many days nothing gets written at all and others it’s pouring out, non-stop.
Do you have a favourite part of the writing process? Do you have a least favourite part?
I have to admit, I find all aspects of writing hard. I don’t think I have a natural flair for it, but I do like those initial moments when you start a new idea.
What are your earliest memories of reading and writing?
I wasn’t a huge reader as a child, but I remember collecting the choose your own adventures types of book, Fighting Fantasy and comic books, those were worlds I really loved spending time in
Did you have a favourite story when you were younger?
As a small child I really loved Not Now Bernard by David Mckee.
What advice would you give to teachers about how to develop reading for pleasure in their classrooms and schools?
I think just allowing children to read what they want to read, whether it’s comic books, magazines, fiction/non-fiction, whatever appeals to them
What advice would you give to any budding young authors?
When I speak in schools I always make sure I reiterate the importance of reading: reading other writers/authors can really help you improve as a writer, studying the craft.
Apart from your own book, is there another book or author you would recommend to children that you’ve enjoyed recently?
I recently read Cressida Cowell’s new book Twice Magic with my son and it’s beautiful and enchanting.
Finally, can you describe your new book One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days in three words?
Greif, Hope and Love.