Welcome to another Question Time With…! After being nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award a little while ago, I came up with ten bookish questions that I was really intrigued to know people’s answers to. So I decided to broaden my search for answers and reached out to some authors via Twitter. My guest this week is Lisa Drakeford. Check out her answers below. Also, apologies that this is a day late – I was a bit busier than I thought I’d be yesterday!
Question Time With… Lisa Drakeford!
1. Have you ever read a book outside of your comfort zone and actually
enjoyed it? If so, what was it?
I have to be dragged, kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone. As an ex library assistant I was surrounded by books of all genres, but I swear I had the narrowest of reading roads. However, as part of my role, I was on the Carnegie/Greenaway panel and some very interesting books were passed my way to review and present. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan blew me away. I wouldn’t have touched this book had it not been on my list. I’d have assumed it was poetry and I’m just not very good with poems. But, My God, I loved it. It’s beautiful. Its simplicity is sublime. It stayed under my skin for weeks after reading it. The short-listing was well and truly deserved. And I’d like to think that in my very small Leics library assistant way, I helped it along is way.
2. If you had to pick a character from any book to be your
mentor/guide through life, who would you pick and why?
When I was training to be a teacher, a friend recommended a book called The Bone People by Keri Hulme. It’s set in New Zealand and is about loneliness, isolation and loss of direction, but in the end it’s also about the healing power of love. Kerewin is the irritable, irritating and grumpy female lead. I adored this character – still do, 25 years after reading it. She’s so incredibly comfortable in her own company; so unbothered by what other people think; so strong; and yet her compassion for the young boy she ends up caring for is as bright as a shining star. I reckon Kerewin would give me a good kick up the backside now and again, as I stress about the unimportant trivia of life.
3. You’re trapped in a dungeon in a castle – in the cell to your left
is a character you have been dying to meet in real life, in the cell
to your right is a character you wouldn’t want to meet in your worst
nightmares. They strike up a conversation – what would it be like?
In the left hand cell, for obvious, shameful reasons would be the divine Edward Cullen. And in the cell to my right would be someone lacking tolerance, patience or kindness. They’re my least favourite people. Let’s say then, that it’s Lucius Malfoy. I’d like to think that there wouldn’t be much conversation. I’d like to think the ensuing battle would be short lived and savage. I’m convinced that Edward would destroy him; he’d chew Lucius up and spit him out in seconds. And I’d like to think that I would be there watching it all as it unfolds!
4. What book makes you think of home?
Home: Let’s say for argument’s sake that home is where I sat for hours on end reading and reading for nothing other than pleasure. So, if that’s the case then I’m going back to my childhood home in Leics. I’m not ashamed to say that everything Enid Blyton reminds me of that place. From The Faraway Tree to Malory Towers to The Famous Five, I devoured them all. But then also, more recently, when I was researching books which dealt with teenage pregnancies, I came across a book by Berlie Doherty called Dear Nobody. It’s a beautifully written, tender story about one of those heavy, love-struck teenage relationships. It reminded me of my teenage years. It’s very ‘Midlands’ which sounds weird, but if you’re from the Midlands then you might get what I mean.
5. If you could swap lives with any character for one day, who would
it be and why?
I’m a big fan of islands, especially if they’re small. I love the idea that you’re just a short walk away from the sea in any direction. It’s a fantastic feeling of freedom, yet I can’t really explain why. Maybe it’s because I was brought up on books which featured them: The Famous Five’s Kirrin Island, Swallows and Amazons, Robinson Cruso, Lord of the Flies; they all use islands as fictional backdrops for either paradise or chaos. Either way, that’s one of the reasons why I liked E Lockhart’s We Were Liars. It was my first summer read of this year and I completely fell in love with Beechwood Island as its setting. So, who would I swap lives with for a day? Cadence Sinclair of course, but I’d have to stipulate that it was well before she turned fifteen!
6. Can you name five authors who share a name with you? (first or last)
Ooooh, love this question because I have three YA authors who all share my name and they’re all blimmin’ wonderful. Lisa Williamson (The Art of Being Normal), Lisa Glass (Blue and Air) and Lisa Heathfield (Seed). Coincidence eh? Lisa Genova wrote the fantastic Still Alice and there’s a Jackie Drakeford out there who has written some books about animals.
7. Have you ever read something because everyone else seemed to have
read and loved it, and then hated it?
After spending so much time and effort on one measly book, I’m now at the stage where I just can’t say I hate a book. Someone has spent bags of time on its writing; others have edited, published and illustrated it that I don’t have the heart to say I hate it. There’s a wonderful wealth of books out there which means there’s something for everyone. Books are so personal. What works for someone doesn’t for someone else. But that doesn’t mean they should be hated.
Is that a cop-out? Am I going soft? Push me and I’ll say that I’m not sure what all the fuss was about for The Girl with A Dragon Tattoo series. But I can’t truthfully say that I hated them.
8. What is the one book series you could not live without?
Call me predictable, but come on… Harry Potter? Where would YA be without him?
9. Imagine every book in the world is housed in one room, and that
room is on fire. You can only save five books, what would you save?
I’d save Stolen by Lucy Christopher and Big and Clever by Dan Tunstall. These were the two books which, when I was a library assistant came through the post and inspired me there and then to take up writing. I’ll always, always be indebted to those two wonderful YA books. Then I’m afraid I’d have to grab The Baby. That’s two years of my life there! Then, for my last two I’d go for the aforementioned The Bone People and finally Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet. I love all of Tim Winton’s books. He’s such a fabulous Australian writer. He writes for adults and teenagers and I count myself as his number one fan. Interestingly, three out of my five saved books are from Antipodean writers. What does that say about me?
10. Do you enjoy reading shorter books (200-350 pages) or longer books (400+)?
I think they both have a place. There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into an epic saga, but equally it’s great to have a quick read which you can skip through in a day and feel completely satisfied. If it’s a good story then it doesn’t really matter how long it is, I’ll enjoy it either way.
I’d like to thank Lisa for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions and I hope you enjoyed her answers as much as I did! To find out more about Lisa and her work, see below.
Now a children’s tutor, Lisa Drakeford used to be a library assistant and became inspired to write by the brilliant young adult novels filling the shelves.
She started writing seriously four years ago, attending a number of writing courses and winning a place on the Writing East Midlands Mentoring Scheme. The Baby is the result.
You can find Lisa on Twitter here.
When Olivia opens the bathroom door, the last thing she expects to see is her best friend Nicola giving birth on the floor – and to say Nicola is surprised is an understatement. She’s not ready to be a mum, and she needs Olivia’s help. But Olivia has her own problems – specifically her bullying boyfriend, Jonty, and keeping an eye on younger sister Alice. And then there’s Nicola’s friend Ben, who’s struggling with secrets of his own …
You can find my review for The Baby here.