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Books By Jennifer Killick - Author
Jennifer Killick has always wanted to be a writer, but really started when she applied for a Creative Writing MA at Brunel University, which is where she first got the idea for 'The Really Big Stink'. She lives in Uxbridge, in a house full of children, animals and Lego. When she has the time she loves to read, write, and run as fast as she can. Jennifer's favourite things are books, trees and fluffy slippers, and her favourite place in the world is her home, where she can sit in her pyjamas with tea and cake, coming up with story ideas.
Q&A with Jennifer
Dread Wood starts with kids from school who don’t normally hang out coming together for a detention. Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I'm really fond of all the Dread Wood characters, but my favourite to write is Gustav because he makes me laugh so hard. I'd love to have a friend like Gus.
We have to ask… Did you ever end up in detention at school?
I'm embarrassed to say that I was incredibly well-behaved at school. I don't enjoy being in trouble, or feeling like I'm doing something wrong, so if I'm going to break a rule, it has to be for something I truly believe in. The only time I got in trouble was in A-level history, and that blew up into an enormous drama that resulted in me withdrawing from the class and trying to teach myself the rest of the syllabus. I got a 'B'. And I stand by my actions!
We love the creepy endings to each chapter… how do you come up with cliff-hangers?
I want my stories to be real page-turners, so that my readers don't get bored at any point in the book. I imagine the chapters like episodes of a TV series, each ending with something that will make people gasp, whether it's in the action or a shocking revelation. I think about cliff-hangers I've read or watched that have left me utterly gripped and desperate for more, and I try to recreate moments like those within my stories.
Without giving too much away, Dread Wood features an incredibly scary spider. Did you base it on a real-life creature?
Yes! I watched lots of documentaries about different types of spider and combined some of their creepiest qualities for the creature in Dread Wood. The species I used the most was the trapdoor spider - such fascinating creatures, and perfect for what I wanted for this story.
Why do you think funny horror appeals to kids, and why is it important to you?
I think lots of people enjoy being scared in a fun way - enough to make them jump and gasp, but not enough to keep them awake for weeks afterwards. Mixing humour into horror diffuses some of the fear and tension and makes it more manageable. As an adult, horrorcomedy is one of my favourite genres - I love shows like Buffy and Stranger Things, and movies like Zombieland. Children now are growing up in a different world to the one I knew at their age. They have access to so many forms of entertainment, like movie streaming, YouTube, and online gaming, and often choose the options that will make them laugh, give them a rush of adrenaline, or that their peers are talking about. I want all children to be reading, and, for that to happen, we need to provide books that can compete with everything else on offer in terms of excitement and in giving them something to encourage playground chat.
Do you get scared easily? What are the top five things that terrify you?
Yes, I get scared so easily. My older children make me watch movies that I peek at through my fingers and then still have nightmares about for months afterwards. They'll all be laughing while I'm hiding under a blanket. I have a massive problem with clowns. I watched the start of the original 'It' at a sleepover when I was thirteen and it ruined my life. My sister used to leave photos of that particular clown in my bedroom for me to find, and I'm still not over it. I have a weird obsession with zombies, being simultaneously fascinated and terrified of them. I also hate enclosed places like underground tunnels, demonic things from Ouija boards, and scarecrows. I could go on..