Today's Author Interview is with Ria Burgess, who co-wrote the children's chapter book The Worderers and The Meaning Maker with Michael Oliver. They live in England (note that the spelling of Ria's words is British style and not a misspelling). Click here for their Worderers Facebook page.
Ria: I love being able to spend my time doing something creative and creating a whole new world that is so different to my own. I have always loved to write and even as a little girl I would write stories wherever and whenever I could. Writing has always been a source of release and a therapeutic process for me and I enjoy having that quiet time alone to create and explore new ideas. And of course, one of the best things about being an author is seeing or hearing about people who enjoy reading your work. For such a long period of time it was just us and our book shut away while we're writing it and it can be a scary thing to release it into the world for other people to read as it feels like someone is reading your personal diary. However, when you start to get good feedback on it you realise it was all worth it and it has inspired us to write more!
Valerie: What is the hardest part of being an author?
Ria: The toughest part of being an author is not having enough hours in the day to write. As well as being an author I also work full-time as a manager of a live music and entertainment venue and Michael works in a film studio which only leaves us with evenings and weekends to write (or sometimes I may fit in an hour or two at work when it's not very busy, but I shouldn't really). So when we get into a book we just want to write and write but only have a fairly limited time in which to do so so we end up staying up all night to get a chapter finished or to form an idea. My ideal would be for us to set ourselves up in the study of our house and write all day everyday together.
Valerie: What is your favorite book ever?
Ria: I have two favourites, from my youth my favourite book was Matilda by Roald Dahl and more recently one of the best books I have read was Room by Emma Donoghue which is a book about a young woman and her son who have been held hostage in a strange man's shed for years and she tries to raise her son as best she can with no contact with the outside world.
Valerie: What inspired your book cover (I love the old leathery look!)?
Ria: The book cover is actually a picture of a notebook that I own and before I even started writing the book I knew exactly what I wanted the book that features in the story to look like. I saw this notepad being sold on the table of a market in Covent Garden in London and had to buy it straight away and kept it in my writing room at home to help inspire me as I wrote.
Valerie: What would you say to anyone who reads this interview?
Ria: Promoting children's books and reading is so vital. Children should engage with reading from a very young age not only to help their imaginations develop but to also illustrate to them the possibilities available to them in life and to teach them valuable lessons along the way. We hope that The Worderers and The Meaning Maker is enjoyed on all of those levels while also imparting the importance of education and family. It would be our dream to have this book published as a hardback one day and displayed in a bookshop window so we are trying to generate as much interest in the book as possible while we wend it out to literary agents for representation. We will always welcome any feedback, ideas or suggestions on the book either via the books Facebook page or via e-mail.
Best wishes to you Ria, and dear reader, in your reading and writing!
(Disclaimer: Valerie Harmon received a free copy of the this book in exchange for a fair and honest review)