Here are some of the questions that come up whenever I do school visits…
Where did you get the idea for Eldritch Manor?
That’s a big question. The main idea came from reading books about mythology way back when I was in elementary school. In the years since then I’ve been picking up little bits and pieces from many sources – from books, movies, and just generally life. Check out my Inspiration Scrapbook to find out more.
What does “ELDRITCH” mean? Is it a real word?
Yes, it’s a real word I came across somewhere, and it means weird, sinister or ghostly, creepy. I wanted a name for the boarding house and Eldritch really seemed to fit the bill.
Is Willa like you?
Oh I wish! Willa at the beginning of the book may be a little bit like me… I’ve got crazy frizzy hair (when I let it grow long), and I’ve always had a bit of a shy streak. When I was Willa’s age I was pretty intimidated by grownups and I’m still fairly terrified of public speaking. (Though strangely I don’t get nervous about speaking in front of school kids.)
Where Willa is not like me is in how she rises to the challenges she faces in the book. She turns out to be pretty brave and resourceful. I’m pretty sure if I found myself in her situation I would be hiding under the bed!
Did you draw the cover?
No, I didn’t design or draw the cover art. My publisher Dundurn has people who specialize in design and they come up with the covers for Dundurn books. When I saw it I really liked that it looks so old-fashioned. What do you think?
Do you write on a computer or with a pen and paper?
I carry a notebook around with me and often jot down ideas on paper, but when I sit down to write I do it on my laptop. Typing is way faster for me than longhand writing, and the quicker things can flow from my brain onto the page/screen the better. When I type I don’t ‘hunt and peck’ (type with two fingers) because I took typing in high school, and learned to type fast using all my fingers. It’s a very good idea to learn to type properly if you are at all interested in writing! (There are typing apps that I’m sure are a lot more fun than my high school typing class was.)
Where do you write?
I can take my laptop anywhere, so I can write at my dining room table, or in my office, on my deck on a nice day, in public libraries, in coffee shops, etc. When I’m in my office I’m usually lying on the couch with my laptop on my stomach, which is a terrible writing posture but handy for impromptu naps.
Have you written any other books?
Yes. Eldritch Manor was my first novel, and I followed it up with two sequels: Shadow Wrack and Darkling Green, which are also about Willa and her strange friends at Eldritch Manor.
In addition, I’ve written a few preschool Caillou picture books for Chouette Publishing (long ago I wrote scripts for the Caillou cartoon show, which is how I ended up doing Caillou books).
Will there be any more Eldritch Manor sequels?
You know, I’m not sure. The third book I ended with quite an ‘open’ ending, meaning there’s still lots that could happen, but I haven’t made any specific plans about any further books about Willa and her friends. I’ve moved on to other projects at the moment, but you never know what may happen in the future…
If you’ve got a question, please leave a comment below or email it to me and I will do my best to answer it!