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Author Interview — T. Traynor — Nicking Time

Posted on 21/05/2013 in The Kelpies Prize

In case you missed it, here’s the interview with T. Traynor, author of Nicking Time, the winner of the Kelpies Prize 2012.

Q: Did you always want to be an author?

T. Traynor [TT]: Yes — though there was strong competition from my other ambitions: to own a sweetie shop and win Wimbledon.

Q: How long did this book take to write?

TT: Six months. It helped to have the Kelpies Prize deadline. I was writing right up to the end and had to run all the way to the post office to catch the very last post…

Q: Nicking Time is set in Glasgow, what’s your favourite place in Glasgow?

TT: The Burrell. Not only is it full of amazing things, the first room you go into has one wall made entirely of glass. Go in autumn for the best effect — it’s like the gold and red trees of Pollok Park are in the room. Look out for the squirrels too.

Q: Do you have a favourite character in this book?

TT: Probably Bru: he’s funny, he’s clever, he’s loyal and he’s ginger. My older daughter has a soft spot for Bru’s wee brothers, the Toaty Terrors Kenny and Graham.

Q: Midge and his friends all have great nicknames, did you have a nickname when you were at school?

TT: T at school; TC at home — when my little sisters tried to say Tracy, it came out as TC. I liked that because there was a cartoon on TV about a really cool streetwise New York alley cat called Top Cat and TC was his nickname too!

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Skooshie’s Game?

TT: I’ve played this game with my two daughters since they were little. If you know someone well, you can come up with really good questions. My younger daughter HATES carrots — so imagine the fun we have offering her all sorts of disgusting things to eat – or carrots. Never found anything disgusting enough for her to choose the carrots!

Q: Here’s a ‘Skooshie-style’ question for you: Would you rather read a book backwards or write a whole book by hand?

TT: Oooh — I’m thinking reading a book backwards might give you lots of good ideas for new stories. Thanks!

Q: When you were writing the book, did any of the characters do anything unexpected?

TT: Often. They were always turning out to be cleverer than I thought. For example, Skooshie came up with an idea for making money that surprised us all…

. What do you like best about being an author?

TT: Making things. Making stories. Making people laugh and think, maybe even cry. And there is nothing better than people telling you that they’re enjoying reading your book so much they can’t put it down.

Q: What was your favourite book as a child?

TT: Too hard to choose one! I loved The Silver Sword and Moonfleet (an adventure story about smuggling by J. Meade Falkner). And the Jennings stories — set in a boarding school where the boys are always getting into trouble — made me laugh a lot.

Q: What did it feel like winning the Kelpies Prize?

TT: It was soooo exciting! There was a secret envelope with the winner’s name, a giant cheque (bigger than me — check out the pictures on the Kelpies website) and there was also a huge piles of chocolate brownies (yum). It was fantastic!

Q: What advice would you give all the budding young writers out there?

TT: Read a lot. Think about why you like something in a story — what has the writer done that makes it work? It’s a good way to learn different techniques for your own writing. And just write! Don’t put off starting, it doesn’t matter if you’re not sure how good your first idea is. Once you get going, more and more ideas will come.

Thanks, T. Traynor!