JUNIOR ELTHAMREAD 2021 AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Wendy Moore talks to…
For the first ever Junior Elthamread, local author Adam Baron’s book This Wonderful Thing has been chosen… here he chats to Wendy Moore.
Wendy: You worked as a journalist, actor and comedian before becoming a writer. Did you always want to become an author?
Adam: I wanted to be writer from a very young age but I needed to get some life experience first. I was writing all the time and trying to develop my work into a first novel
Wendy: You published several novels for adults, including the acclaimed Blackheath, set locally, before moving into children’s fiction. Why the switch?
Adam: I didn’t mean to switch to children’s fiction. I have three children though and am very actively engaged in their lives. I even used to coach the All Saints’ school football team. I was surrounded by an energy that I couldn’t ignore. I find that children’s books reach so many excited, engaged readers, who are willing to dive into fictional worlds. That is getting rarer in adult fiction.
Wendy: Do you test out your book ideas on your children?
Adam: Yes, my children read my books but my wife is my first reader. She gives me excellent feedback. My children just shout at me to write more and finish things so that they get to know what happens. That’s a great motivation.
Wendy: What are your earliest childhood reading memories?
Adam: When I was at primary school I was really encouraged in my reading. I was asked to go to the ‘bigger’ school for extra library sessions. I loved Oliver Postgate, most particularly Noggin The Nog. Stig of the Dump was a favourite.
Wendy: Your children’s books deal with some difficult issues – mental health, family break-up and grief. Do you think it’s important children’s books reflect the trials of ordinary life? Should they offer an escape too?
Adam: There is space for children’s books to do all sorts of things but I hope my books offer both escape and realism. I want them to connect with each reader so that each reader feels unique, and noticed.
Wendy: What’s your experience of going into schools and meeting readers there and elsewhere?
Adam: I love going into schools and do this a lot. I am always surprised. I ask children to be loud and unconstrained. I see loads of enthusiasm for reading, though this dips post-primary school, probably due to the dreaded Smartphone. Reading is freedom. No one can market to you when you are nose deep into a book.
Wendy: Marcus Rashford has led moves to ensure all children have books at home partly as a route out of poverty. Do you agree?
Adam: Books help you think independently. They help you connect concepts and ideas and they improve focus in children, which is crucial to future success. They allow young people to realise that they are not alone in many of their fears and hopes.
Adam Baron will be speaking about This Wonderful Thing on ?????? October at 7pm.
Full details of how to take part will be announced shortly.
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This year, for the first time, Elthamread is accompanied by a ‘Junior Elthamread’. For Junior Elthamread, the chosen book is This Wonderful Thing, a humorous and sensitive story for nine to 12-year-olds, by Adam Baron, who lives in Greenwich. Adam will be running...
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