Which genre of children’s books do you like most and why? I like Fantasy and Science Fiction most of all, and that’s because I call these ‘Literature of the Imagination’. The boundaries are limitless, the horizons are extended, and the stories are grander. Kate Forsyth and Garth Nix are great examples of the sorts of writers I’m talking about, as is DM Cornish. His Monster Blood Tattoo series is wondrous indeed. I ended writing things like my Laws of Magic series and the peeking into the hundred years ahead of us in 10 Futures because I love this sense of imagination unbounded.
Which books did you love to read as a young child? As a young reader, I was first caught by books like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Hobbit. After I read these, I wanted more, and eventually found The Lord of the Rings and Robert A Heinlein’s YA Science Fiction books – Time for the Stars, Red Planet and many more. I also loved the whimsicality of The Wind in the Willows and The House at Pooh Corner’, while my all time favourite picture book is Where the Wild Things Are.
Which three attributes make for a great children’s book?
1. The book must engage the reader.
2. The book must linger with the reader once the reading is finished.
3. The book must introduce the reader to something new. An example? Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men. It’s funny, exciting, a real eye opener with its magic, and it makes you think about who you are and your place in the world.
What is your number one tip for encouraging children to read? Read good books. That is, books that appeal to you, that are fun, or scary, or thoughtful, depending on the sort of thing you like. It’s easy reading good books, and enjoying good books lets you know that reading is fun.
Name three books you wish you’d written.
1. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
3. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Best-selling author of the Laws of Magic series, Michael Pryor was born in Swan Hill, Victoria, and currently lives in Melbourne. He has worked as a drainer’s labourer, a truck driver, a bathroom accessories salesperson, an Internet consultant, a software developer, a textbook publisher, in a scrap metal yard and as a secondary school teacher.
Michael has published more than thirty popular and critically acclaimed novels, more than fifty short stories, and has over one million words in print. His work has been longlisted for an Inky award, shortlisted for the WAYBR award and six times shortlisted for the Aurealis Award. Seven of his books have been awarded Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book status.