The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip 

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An Interview with The Author

Hi Yo’ll,  this is Morgan, I am 11 years old and I am going to interview Carrie King, Author of the New,  540-page,  Fantasy Novel, The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip. 

Morgan :  Hello Carrie, the first thing I would like to know is, where did you get your ideas from?

Carrie King :  Hi Morgan. That’s not a difficult question. When I was a little girl I always wished I could change bad things in the Past into good things of the Future.

Morgan :  Wow that’s fascinating! The next thing I would like to know is, what inspired you to become an Author?

Carrie King :  I actually started writing when I was eight. I wrote a Play, which I forced my little brother and big sister into acting out in front of some House Guests. We recorded it on an old Tape Recorder.  

Morgan :  Where did you get your Character names from and why are they long names with hyphens? 

Carrie King :  Good question again. I have used the names of relatives and I am afraid they have long names! Not much I can do about that. 

Morgan :  Is your name really Carrie King? 

Carrie King :  I was called Carrie at school and my father married a lady called Violet King, who sadly died giving birth to my half-brother, John. My Father then married my mother. If Violet hadn’t died then I wouldn’t have been born: so, I have called myself King, in memory of Violet. 

Morgan :  That is truly sad but nice that you have remembered her. How long has it taken you to write The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip? 

Carrie King : Hmmmm....a long time.....I started it in November 1997 and I have just finished February you can work it out, Morgan. 

Morgan :  Wow! That is just over nine years! Well.....that is a long time ....that means I was only two when you started it!

Here comes my next question......Is this a book for Boys or Girls or both? Are you going to take another nine years to complete The Life by the Sea with Joni-Pip? 

Carrie King : Hmmm....I have tried very hard to make it interesting for both. There are definitely more male characters than female but the main character is a girl. I sincerely hope I won’t take nine years to write The Life by the Sea with Joni-Pip but there were sad reasons why it took so long for the first book to be completed.  

Morgan : What is the theme of the The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip?  

Carrie King : I have done exactly what I wished to do, when I was a little girl. I have used some sad events in the Past and changed them into a Better Future. 

Morgan : Why is there a big Atom on the front cover? 

Carrie King : The whole theme of the story is surmising that we all have POOLS (personal orbits of life) and by going back in the Past we can change people’s orbits, making their life different. 

Morgan : Where did you write the Book? 

Carrie King : I find it very difficult to write at home, so I have divided my time writing in a few places. I first started writing in Sherwood Forest. I was staying in a Villa at Center Parcs, Nottinghamshire. 

Morgan : Sherwood Forest? Is there a character like Robin Hood in the book, then? 

Carrie King : He is mentioned a few times by the Characters. 

Morgan : Where else have you written?  

Carrie King : I have written in France...I love it so much.... I was a student there and I fell in love with Paris the moment I stepped off the train. I wrote my Acknowledgements for The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip in a Cafe, just a few steps away from the Arc de Triomphe. I have also written in Folkestone. I love staying there, overlooking the little harbour. I have written in Felmersham, near Bedford. I have a mobile home by the river, it is very peaceful there and it is only a 45 minute drive from where I live. I also have written a lot of it in Penwithick, Cornwall. My brother and his wife have two lovely places down there. It is such a beautiful part of the Country, on the edge of Bodmin Moor.  

Morgan : Do you feel it is going to be a Best Seller? 

Carrie King : Well, I would love it to be but that’s up to people like you, Morgan. 

Morgan : Have you done many of the pictures in the book? 

Carrie King : I have done a few but I have used children and others to do some as well. James Boddy has done some amazing Illustrations for us. 

Morgan : Is there any Magic in it ? Like Harry Potter? 

Carrie King : No. There is no Magic but there is Fantasy. 

Morgan : Are there any Monsters or scary things, like there are in Harry Potter? 

Carrie King : No. I studied Greek Mythology when I studied Classical Greek at School and I was terrified by the Many-Headed Monsters and things. I also have to confess that when my Mother took me to see Snow White, when I was a little girl, I spent a lot of the time hiding behind the seat in front because I was so scared of the Mirror, the Queen and the Witch. I had to sleep with the light on for months. I don’t enjoy being terrified. I enjoy being mystified. I enjoy adventure and humour. 

Morgan : So it is nothing like Harry Potter, then? 

Carrie King : Nothing at all. 

Morgan :  I notice that on the cover, one of the Characters is a Teddy Bear. Why have you done that, isn’t it a bit childish? 

Carrie King : Another good question, Morgan. I started writing The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip, for my great niece, Joni,  she was three at the time...she is now you can see what began as a short story for tiny children has now evolved into an Adventure for much older children.  I had to re-write it to make it for a much older audience. Lots of us have a favourite toy, which we love and is very special to us. Perhaps we don’t confess that to our friends. I love Winnie the Pooh and if ever you read it, you will discover that the vocabulary is quite difficult.  I love The Wind in the Willows, as well and that has animals talking.....There is such a freedom when you use animals and toys and I think there is a particular humour that you can’t get with solely humans. Ethelred-Ted is some character...I really think boys will enjoy him just as much as the girls! 

Morgan : Seeing as you are copying from some books, as you mention above, do you copy from any other books? 

Carrie King : Copying? No I am not copying. I am using the same principles, that’s all. I am a great fan of the films ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘Frequency’ and I have used principles found in those, too. 

Morgan : My last question, Carrie. What have been some of your best moments, while writing The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip? 

Carrie King : Morgan, there are so many but I will name a few. My daughter, Zoe, told me of a lovely scene she will never forget. She was staying with friends in Somerset and as she walked past an opened door into one of the large rooms of the house she saw Sophie, who is a 22 year-old student, sitting on a rocking chair with Zoe’s daughter, Elle on her lap. The two of them were cuddled under a blanket and Sophie was reading The Unedited version of The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip to her. That made me feel really nice.

            Another moment was when I asked my daughter, Rebekah, to read the first 100 pages. She sat up in my bed reading it. I took her up a huge plate of chopped up fruit and cherries and pints of tea. After about two hours she shouted down the stairs,

            “I want more!” so I chopped up some more melon and washed some more raspberries and cherries and took them up to her.

            “No,” she said, “I want more Joni-Pip!”

            I also remember finishing the first draft (although it is very much changed since then), I was in The Grand Burstin Hotel in Folkestone. I finished it at ten o’clock at night. All the members of staff hugged me and the next day at Lunch my best friend, Rosemary, had a basket of flowers brought to my table. It was so good.

            Another time was when I was writing in France and I worried how on earth Ethelred-Ted was going to re-charge Jack’s mobile phone battery. It had been left behind in 1942. Jack had Jitted (Jumped in Time) from 2007 and needed to get it back to 2007 to close the Orbit.  I ‘phoned my brother David in Cornwall.  What would they use in 1942?  He phoned back later and when he told me, I went round telling everyone what a Genius he was...Read it and you will see how they did it!

            I was in France, sitting outside on the veranda, reading the piece, which describes Archimedes Spindlethrop’s Laboratory to my granddaughter Paige, who is always so encouraging about my writing. When I had finished it, a voice came from the kitchen window.

            “That was brilliant, Mum I was really there in that Laboratory!” My daughter, Zoe had been listening unbeknown to us, while she was washing up in the kitchen.

            I have had so many memories with Joni-Pip, my great niece, who the story was written for, in the first place but the one that really sticks in my memory was when I returned home one day and there was a message from her on my Answer phone.

            “Taunite,” she said, “I have just finished the book and you are a Genius! Nothing but a Genius! What a twist! What an ending I love it! I Love it!”

As you can imagine that was amazing. I don’t think I am a Genius of course but her message was so, so encouraging and made me feel it was so worthwhile! 

Morgan : Thank you for your time, Carrie. I wish you every success and I have deep confidence in you and I am sure it will be a Best Seller.

Carrie King : It was my pleasure, Morgan. I hope you enjoy the book.                               [Top]