Geoffrey McSkimming, author of Phyllis Wong and the Return of the Conjuror
Tell us about your latest creation:
Phyllis Wong and the Return of the Conjuror
This is the second Phyllis Wong mystery and in it, Phyllis Wong, that brilliant young magician and clever sleuth, discovers a crime that dates back to the time of Shakespeare and is seeping into the 21st century. As Phyllis herself says, ‘Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen, the ride will get bumpy!’
I divide my time between Sydney, Australia, and Cawdor, Scotland.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
I wanted to be a ventriloquist, then a puppeteer, then a magician, then an actor, then a writer. I tried a few of the former, then found out that writing was for me!
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
That is such a hard question. I’m happy with all the books I’ve had published. Phyllis Wong and the Return of the Conjuror is a personal favourite, though; Phyllis is such a clever girl and I loved transporting her (and me) back to Shakespeare’s time.
I write sitting on an old, art deco lounge which once upon a time belonged to my grandmother. It’s a big, comfortable sofa and I can surround myself with cushions, my manuscript and notebooks, cups of coffee, pens and other things I need when I’m writing.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
I love reading old crime novels. I have a lot in our home library, some dating back to the 1920s. At the moment I’m finishing reading all the detective novels by Nicholas Blake (Cecil Day Lewis, the Poet Laureate and father of Daniel Day Lewis).
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury; Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury; The Three Investigators series of novels; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis; Travels with a Gherkin by Justine van Orgling.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
Cairo Jim. Because after writing 19 books in which he appears I have come to know him very well.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
Dream up plots for stories … and watch my favourite magician doing magic ..
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
I think it’s the same challenge that’s always been there: to keep producing great quality books and stories. It doesn’t matter what format people will be reading them on — whether it’s paper or electronic versions — if the quality and the pleasure is not there for the reader, the reader won’t be there for the story