Book 2 : Lie another day
By Peter Millet
While there are plenty of wonderful New Zealand books written by equally wonderful authors, there are not so many book trailers for their books. So it is brilliant to have the chance to show this new trailer for Lie another day book two in the Johnny Danger series.
I was watching this trailer (again) at school and one of my students (year 4) came over to see what I was doing so we watched it together. Not only did it get the thumbs up but he told me to buy it. I ordered it today and when it arrives Sam will be the first one to read it (unless I get in before him). The trailer is well made and has a bit of everything in it just like the books. Action, humour, cartoon, parody.
It is great to have the author Peter Millet here on the blog answering some questions. Some very cool answers too.
What is the appeal of writing books for children?
Roald Dahl said it best ‘adults are too stuffy, boring and take themselves far too seriously’. Apparently that’s why he loved writing for children. I’m inclined to say that I agree with him. Additionally, when I tell a joke to a crowd of kids everyone looks at me when they laugh, often with adults they look at each other before they laugh to make sure it’s okay to laugh. Kids have way more fun.
Most of your books include humour. I imagine humour is quite difficult to write and be genuine at the same time so what is your trick?
My style of humour is quintessentially British. It’s dry and it’s subtle. I’m not a fan of slapstick, or lazy-bodily function jokes. When I read my stories aloud I always keep a straight face. That’s pretty much how I write my comedy stories as well. That allows me to develop characters and plotlines satisfactorily while infusing the humour as the undercurrent to the story. One thing which is very difficult being a comedy writer is the book editing process. Often an editor will ask me to alter a scene or change an ending. When I do this I also have to make sure that the new content is as funny as the content it is being inserted around. Sometimes this can be problematic.
Which authors inspire you to write?
Roald Dahl, Andy Stanton, Roddy Doyle. There are many more. Here’s my soapbox moment – Roald Dahl never won a book award in his lifetime. Comedy movies never win Oscars. Writing comedy is an extremely complex process. People who aren’t funny can’t write comedy, and people who say comedy is too frivolous to be award-winning don’t understand complicated writing. Hopefully in my lifetime children’s comedy writers will be treated equally along with dramatic children’s writers and we will see an end to this silly era of elitism. Shakespeare was a master at both and duly celebrated.
As a child – were you the kind of boy who played at being a spy or were you more of the indoor type?
As many of my readers know some of the gadgets in my stories originate from childhood ideas and pranks. I once carved out the middle portion of a hardback book and used it as a secret storage compartment to hide ‘used lines’ the teacher had issued to children as punishment. I then used these lines to help children get out of future punishments. So in a way, I was an undercover operative battling evil villains in my junior years at school.
If you could meet any character out of any book, who would it be and why?
Probably the Twits. It would be interesting to see if I could win an argument with them, or potentially win a battle of pranks. I’d also like to witness a grown man consuming food stored in his beard.
Johnny Danger gets himself in to lots of trouble. What was your biggest adventure or the most dangerous thing you have ever done?
In 1990 I took a jungle trek in the rain forests of Borneo. We reached an orangutan sanctuary and a tour guide said ‘no sudden movements, and don’t provoke them – they’re strong enough to rip your arms off.’ I don’t recall reading that information before I embarked on the journey. Everything went fine, and the worst that happened was some cameras were stolen by the orangutans who proceeded to store them in their treetop hide out and then urinate on the victim’s heads. Walking back to our pickup point, I was also advised to avoid puddles containing leeches, and to look out for the odd scorpion here and there as I was wearing shorts, not the recommended long trousers with wraparound socks. I made it out unscathed. In my book Lie Another Day the jungle scene is inspired by that experience.
Many thanks Peter for sharing your thoughts with us.