I have alway been a little scared of Rhiannon Lassiter. I don’t know why. I met her briefly five years ago and she was really lovely, so I know I have no cause for worry. But how can you have a Halloween author profile without a good scare?
Maybe it’s because Rhiannon wrote a book while still at university? That feels so ultra-clever. Her books also strike me as ‘scarier than average.’ (Have you seen how she looks at us? And is that a graveyard?)
Over ttto Rrrhiannon:
How many books did you write before the one that was your first published book?
Although I’d started novels, the first one I finished was the first one accepted.
My first novel was accepted for publication while I was at university. Prior to that I’d submitted a draft proposal to a couple of publishing companies who’d said they were interested in reading more from me but that they didn’t think the idea I’d submitted (a fantasy story) was quite original enough. Then I started work on a science fiction novel, submitted a draft – and it was it accepted.
I know this is atypical and I feel fortunate to have got such a positive response so early on in my career.
Best place for inspiration?
I get ideas wherever I am. But I think some of my best have come on holiday and out of my usual environment. A house in the Lake District inspired Bad Blood. I began Waking Dream in Italy. Ghost of a Chance came from a weekend visit to a stately home.
Would you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Perhaps you already do?
I’ve sometimes thought about it because I like coming up with names for my theoretical other identity but I am too jealous of my ideas to assign them to another name. I want them all associated with me!
What would you never write about?
An experience I couldn’t identify with. If I couldn’t imagine myself into that identity or situation I couldn’t write about it.
Through your writing: the most unexpected person you’ve met, or the most unexpected place you’ve ended up in?
I was sent a photograph by a film producer of a teenage actress holding one of my books who was interested in playing the lead if it’s ever made into a film. I don’t think I can say who it was, though – sorry!
Which of your characters would you most like to be?
When I wrote Hex I wanted to be Raven. Since then I’ve put parts of myself into all of my characters so most of them are people who are like me or who I’d like to be. If I had to choose one it would be Poppy from Waking Dream because she’s a witch in a dream landscape.
Do you think that having a film made of one of your books would be a good or a bad thing?
I’d like it to happen. Although I know films don’t stick religiously to the written text, I’d like to see my characters brought to life. There’s been some film interest in Hex and it’s exciting to imagine that becoming a film. Because it’s science fiction, it’s the only way I’d get to see some of my ideas made real.
What is the strangest question you’ve been asked at an event?
Someone once asked me if I thought it was worse having monthly periods or uncontrollable erections. I said I thought being a teenager came with a lot of alarming side effects for everyone…
Do you have any unexpected skills?
I’m good at computer games. I don’t find that odd but sometimes teenagers I meet are amazed that I play GTA or SSX.
The Famous Five or Narnia?
Who is your most favourite Swede?
I don’t seem to have one, sorry. I checked and Lene Kaaberbole is Danish and Tove Jansson is from Finland.
How do you arrange your books at home? In a Billy? By colour, or alphabetically?
I keep a Billy in the attic which holds a heap of detective novels. The rest of my books are in built-in shelving and a few overflow bookcases. They are arranged by genre (picture books, junior, adult, SF and fantasy, graphic novels, non-fiction, myths and legends, cookery etc). They are all shelved alphabetically except the cookery books and non-fiction.
Which book would you put in the hands of an unwilling eight-year-old boy reader?
It depends why they were reluctant but either The Recruit (the first of Robert Muchamore’s Cherub series) or Ordinary Jack (the first Bagthorpe book) by Helen Cresswell.
If you have to choose between reading or writing, which would it be?
I’d choose reading.
But if I’m reading, I’m thinking – and my thinking tends to come in the form of making up stories. Even if I never wrote anything more via pen, pencil or keyboard I’d still be writing in my head.
Yep, I’m still scared. Take away Rhiannon’s keyboard and she will still write. Her books seem to be in perfect order, and as to the strangest question, well…
(Not a single Swede, either. It’s Halloween; let’s plump for pumpkins.)