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Author Interview — Janis Mackay — The Accidental Time Traveller

Posted on 15/04/2013 in Author Interviews

In case you missed it, here’s the interview with Janis Mackay, author of The Accidental Time Traveller.

Q: Did you always want to be an author?

Janis Mackay [JM]: YES! I have always wanted to be an author.

Q: How long did this book take to write?

JM: Probably a year in all. I finished it while spending a month on an island in Finland in the spring of 2012.

Q: When did you first get the idea to write about time travel?

JM: In 2011 I went to a theatre show about Marjory Fleming. She lived in Edinburgh 200 years before. At the age of eight she kept a diary and wrote poems and observations of life, and of herself. She was a wonderful writer. She died before her ninth birthday, but the diary was kept and later published. This gave me a Scottish child’s insight into life 200 years ago. It was Marjory that inspired the theme.

Q: This book is very different to the Magnus Fin books. What is your favourite thing about this new book?

JM: I love Agatha Black’s way of speaking, and her innocence and response in meeting the modern world.

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

JM: They are all very real to me. Agatha and Saul of course are favourites, and Agnes, and the pet monkey –- and poor old Albert Black!

Q: If you met someone who had time travelled from the past what would you ask them?

JM: How they did it!

Q: What do you like best about being an author?

JM: I like teetering on the edge in front of possibilities then jumping in and making someone that didn’t exist before.

Q: What was the hardest thing about writing a story involving time travel?

JM: To make it seem like this could really happen. I like to write fantasy, but to write in such a way that this could be true.

Q: In the book Agatha has a performing pet monkey. Have you ever had unusual pets?

JM: I had a tortoise that never woke up from its shoebox under my bed. Then, when I lived in France, we had a yellow talking parrot called Jaco who was extremely annoying. Now I have a collie dog called Flora.

Q: If you lived in 1812 what job would you want to do?

JM: Well, to be honest, I think I would like to be a man and be a travelling player.

Q: If you could travel to any point in history where would you go?

JM: Way back, to Pictish times to see the land and the wild animals. And to sit around a crackling log fire and see what people looked like and how they spoke thousands of years ago.

Thanks, Janis!

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