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Author Talk. Pete Johnson

By PeterC on 12th August 2016

howtoupdateparentsToday we’re very lucky to be joined by Pete Johnson, author of How to Update Your Parents. Thank you for having me! Hi Pete, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s get to know you a little bit. What were you like at school? Erm…no comment! Were you good at English? Yes, very good! Which writer inspires you the most? That would definitely have to be Dodie Smith, author of 101 Dalmations and I Capture The Castle. For me, the latter book is a masterpiece and it made me want to become a writer myself – one who could write as wonderfully and vividly as Dodie. When I was eight years old, I wrote a fan letter to Dodie and we embarked on a long and rewarding correspondence. This only encouraged my new-found ambition of becoming an author. So, what have you written? In this series so far I’ve written How to Update Your Parents, My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy, How to Train Your Parents and My Parents Are Out of Control. Outside of those, I’ve written more than 50 books for many different publishers, including The Cool Boffin, Faking It and The Ghost Dog. Give us an insight into your main character in this book. What does he/she do that is so special? Readers love Louis essentially because of his happy personality and the fact that he is very funny. Kids are drawn to that. What made you want to choose this theme for the story? I chose this theme because it’s incredibly topical at right now. Social media and technology have become such a huge part of our lives. I wanted to explore what life would be like now if it was taken away from us, and how older generations deal with it. What are you working on at the minute? I’m currently working on my next Louis book, called How To Have Chilled Out Parents. Watch this space! How much research do you do? It depends on the book, but for How To Update Your Parents, my research mostly consisted of discussions with children, teachers and librarians on the topic. Everyone has an opinion or viewpoint on it! Do you write full-time or part-time? I’m lucky enough to be a full-time writer. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? Definitely the morning. I aim to start writing by about half past seven. It gives my day structure and allows me to be very productive! I find that if you have a set time and day to write, you will do it no matter how you’re feeling. Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? I like to aim for at least 1000 words a day. Where do your ideas come from? Life! There is no one source of ideas – everything and anything can inspire me. What is the hardest thing about writing? The hardest part is definitely getting started. Coming up with the initial idea is quite tough. However, once your idea is fully formed, it becomes much easier to start writing! What is the easiest thing about writing? I wouldn’t say any part of writing is easy – but it is rewarding. If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it? How To Update Your Parents is the fourth book in the Louis the Laugh series. They’re comedy books which focus on Louis, his friends and their various problems and mishaps involving their parents. They’ve been extremely popular so far! Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors? As you can probably guess, I love reading. I have too many favourite authors to list here, but I’ll name a few. As a child, among my favourite authors were P.G. Wodehouse, Roald Dahl, and of course Dodie Smith. Today I am a big fan of Anthony Horowitz, John Green, Louise Rennison, Hilary McKay and Phillip Pullman. What book/s are you reading at present? At the moment I’m reading Tragedy at Law by Cyril Hare. What is your favourite book and why? 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith…for reasons I explained earlier in the interview. I love it. Do you have a favourite genre? I am a big fan of comedy, golden age and thriller books. What is your favourite quote? “The best is yet to be…” What is your favourite film and why? I love Brief Encounter for its romantic element…the same reason I love Casablanca! Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? I would like to think that I’ll still be alive! What advice would you give to your younger self? I think I would tell myself to relax and to chill out a bit more. Do you have a favourite positive saying? “We’re here for a good time, not a long time!” – Damien Hirst Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? I would love to meet Frank Sinatra or Cary Grant. They are both so charismatic! If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? I would love to have written House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. The characters just bounced off the page and in to my head. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? I cover this in more detail on my website at but one of the more important points for me would be to remember to have fun with it. If it feels like too much hard work, then the scene isn’t working. Try something new and make sure you enjoy it. Where do you see publishing going in the future? The biggest change in the industry in recent years has been the rise of the eBook, and I think that will continue to change things for a while yet. How can readers discover more about you and you work? Website: Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

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