EMILY RODDA AT KIDS’ BOOK CAPERS

Emily Rodda - photo courtesy of Michael Small

We are lucky to have Emily Rodda visiting Kids’ Book Capers today.

Emily has stopped in on her tour to promote the Get Reading Program, an annual celebration of books and reading to encourage Australians to pick up a book.

Can you tell us about your involvement in the Australia Council Get Reading Campaign and why it is so important to you?

I wrote the book The Land of Dragons, which is the giveaway book for the promotion, and to celebrate the Get Reading Campaign. My book The Golden Door was selected for the ‘Top 50 books You Can’t Put Down’ and as a result I will be touring and speaking to children about my books and writing. It’s fabulous to be involved in this program, as it encourages reading, and books are my passion.

I believe you are touring Australia as part of the program. Can you tell us a bit about the tour? How long does it go for and how many venues will you be visiting?

I start my tour in Melbourne as I am part of the Melbourne Writers Festival. Then to Geelong to do an event for Get Reading which starts on 1 September. Following that I return to Melbourne for some more Get Reading events then back to Sydney. After that I go to Brisbane, where I will also attend the Brisbane Writers Festival before touring again with Get Reading out to Redcliffe, the Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast. Finally I will visit Adelaide and some regional areas of South Australia for Get Reading.

So many, many venues, and many many events!  We will be on the road for about 3 weeks.  But check the Get Reading website for my tour dates and contact details.

Congratulations on The Golden Door, the first book of your new Three Doors trilogy. Where did the inspiration for these new books come from?

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that our choices lead us on to different paths.  I love the notion of a choice of three magic doors, each of which leads to a different place.  This is partly because I see books as ‘doors’ into other worlds.

Where is your new trilogy set, and what is the first book about?

The trilogy is set on the Island of Dorne, which is a small island to Deltora’s East, across the Sea of Serpents … It’s about a boy called Rye, who lives in a walled city called Weld with his mother and two older brothers. Their city has been besieged by skimmers: savage, bat-like creatures that fly in hordes over the Wall from somewhere outside Weld, looking for human and animal prey. The Warden of Weld offers a large reward to any young man who can defeat the Enemy sending the skimmers. Rye’s eldest brother, Dirk, is among the first to volunteer, and his second brother, Sholto, goes too. Rye is not old enough to volunteer. Weld’s three secret magic doors are the key to the brothers’ quest.

What age groups is it for?

Approximately 8 to 12.  Some older kids are probably going to enjoy too.

Why will kids like it?

I am hoping they will find the adventure exciting and the world of Dorne intriguing.

Can you tell me about the main character and what you like/dislike about him?

The main character is a boy called Rye who is the youngest of a family of three sons.  He’s a friendly, adventurous and confident but as the youngest he is very aware of his two elder brothers’ strengths; the eldest is strong and brave, and the next a great scholar. They are much more likely to be heroes than he is.

Are there any teacher’s notes, associated activities with the book?

Yes, they are available on the Scholastic Australia website.

What did you enjoy most about writing the first book/the trilogy?

One of the things I partly enjoyed about writing The Golden Door was moving back into the world of Deltora. I also very much enjoyed writing about the relationship between three brothers and the choices they make.

What was the hardest thing about writing the first book/the trilogy?

I suppose the hardest thing must be to establish the characters and the settings when you are beginning a project like this.

More information about the Get Reading program is available at http://www.getreading.com.au/

This afternoon at Kids’ Book Capers, we’re reviewing Emily’s new book, The Golden Door.