For the latest in our series of profiles of writers appearing at the Bookworm Literary Festival, we talked to Josh Lacey. Josh is the author of the hilarious Dragonsitter and Grk series of books for young readers.
Travel is very important in your books. Did you travel when you were younger?
I didn’t travel at all when I was a boy. Our family holidays were almost always spent at the English seaside, which is lovely, although often damp and rarely sunny. Perhaps that gave me a longing to see more of the world, because I have tried to travel more as an adult. I have been to most of the countries where the Grk books are set – Brazil, India, Italy, France, the USA, and Eastern Europe – although I haven’t yet been to either Australia or the Seychelles.
Have you been to China before? If not, what are you most looking forward to?
I haven’t ever been to China, and I am most looking forward to: everything. I’m very excited to visit such a huge and fascinating country, and I just want to wander around with my eyes wide open, soaking up new experiences.
Who were your favorite writers when you were a child?
When I was growing up, I didn’t really have favorite writers, but I had favorite books. Some of them were: Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl; A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula le Guin; The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier; Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake; and the Tintin books by Hergé.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to be a writer?
My main piece of advice is very simple: read. Read, read, read. Read anything and everything. You’ll discover what works and what doesn’t, what you love and what you hate. A writer needs to be a reader first.