So, how did you become a writer?
Obviously not through a passion for reading lol. Paradoxically, I was always reasonably good at spelling and “English Expression” as it was called. My father loved telling stories and jokes. And I was always into comics, notably Ironman, Captain America and Spiderman.
You mostly write fantasy and the occasional science fiction. What inspired you to write this book?
I loved the idea of writing about a character who muddled his proverbs. I came across malapropisms, which I must confess I was unaware of. On researching the term, I discovered alas I wasn’t going to be the first author to have such a character in a book. How to do it “differently” was the key.
Can you tell us some favourite malapropisms?
Their neighbours are very effluent; the town was flooded and had to be evaporated; decapitated coffee (which a friend reckons is a flat white lol).
What’s The Slightly Skewed Life of Toby Chrysler about?
A kid who has Asperger’s, although that’s not mentioned in the book. Toby runs blindly from pillar to post in a series of improbable situations. There’s mystery, humour, action, and a host of weird characters. Part of it’s based on my childhood – that is, a mother who left the family. I was nine at the time. One reviewer wondered how a mother could leave her child, but hey, it happens!
What age group is it for?
8+ – this age question is subjective. I know 10 year-olds who have read Lord of the Rings.
How have kids responded to it?
Tell us about Toby?
There’s no deceit about him. If he makes a promise, he sticks to it – a guy you’d trust because he’s incapable of lying. Toby is a mix of lightning-quick memory and naïve inability to work out what people mean … he is totally oblivious to body language and expression. I desperately wanted him to sort things out and be happy.
To find out more about Toby’s story, see the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lclytl3DB-4
There was no deadline. I wrote in between publishing other authors’ books. And like I said before, I wanted to work with a character using malapropisms, so that was fun. Other minor characters just happened along and I feel they worked out pretty well, too.
It has a deceivingly simple plot. But when you dissect it, there are a lot of interwoven intricacies. Even I got confused for a while! There was also a fair bit cut by the editor. I trusted that she made the right decisions. I think that’s the hard bit – writing what you think are good scenes, only to be told by an editor that they have to go.
Thanks for sharing Toby’s fascinating journey with us Paul. Paul will be back on Wednesday wearing his publisher’s hat. Hope you can join us then.
Teachers notes are available at www.celapenepress.com.au
The Reading Stack: http://thereadingstack.blogspot.com/