The #15 profile – Chris Mould

Pirates! Don’t you just love them? Well, I mean, you don’t have to. But you could. Chris Mould seems to like them. Here is Chris telling you about his hair and other things:

Chris Mould

How many books did you write before the one that was your first published book?

Writing was something that burst out of me when I was halfway through collating a book on Victorian ghost stories that I’d only intended to illustrate. (Dust ‘n’ Bones). When I couldn’t find the stories I wanted I began to write them for myself and Hodder very kindly went along with it. My writing life went from there.

Best place for inspiration?

Ha, funny you should ask. I just recently came across this quote by Chuck Close (painter/ photographer)… ‘Inspiration is for amateurs –the rest of us just show up and get to work.’

I wouldn’t rest on that thought entirely but I think there’s some truth in it. I often feel like I achieve my work by digging it out of the page. I always imagine a blank page in a sketchbook has already got the drawings in there and it’s just a matter of excavating it with the pen.

But I do think that if you’re creative you tend to soak things up wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Architecture, long walks, good books/ films, things people say, good quality graphic design, impressive interiors, museums, blah blah blah.

Would you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Perhaps you already do?

I find people don’t forget the name, Mould. It’s fairly unusual as a surname but it kind of helps. So I think I’ll stick with it. I knew it would be useful eventually.

What would you never write about?

I don’t like violence. So I tend to avoid any direct references or involvement as much as I can. Even though I deal with pirates and scoundrels, you’ll find I mostly manage to avoid the gruesome bits.

Through your writing: the most unexpected person you’ve met, or the most unexpected place you’ve ended up in?

Oh crumbs I don’t like name dropping. I daredn’t so I’m going to refuse to mention my star studded lifestyle !

I’ve been really lucky to travel with work. Mostly to places beginning with B. From Budapest to Bologna to Boston (with Bristol, Bath, Bradford and Birmingham in between). And in February I’m heading to Brazil ! I’m hoping to do the rest of the alphabet very shortly.

Which of your characters would you most like to be?

I’d love to be Button in the new Pocket Pirates books. I’ve always wanted to be a tiny person. Ever since I was… tiny !

Do you think that having a film made of one of your books would be a good or a bad thing?

GOOD. Yes please. Where’s the contract ?

What is the strangest question you’ve been asked at an event?

‘Can I touch your hair ?’ is a recent one.

Also…’Where do you buy your furniture?’ is memorable.

Do you have any unexpected skills?

I reckon I’m a reasonably good cook. I’ve worked in a kitchen and I find it’s a good way to unwind and achieve some chillaxification.

The Famous Five or Narnia?

Narnia every time. Mr Tumnus and I were best friends at school.

Who is your most favourite Swede?

Got to be Stieg Larsson.

How do you arrange your books at home? In a Billy? By colour, or alphabetically?

I prefer to file them in accordance with how late the author was at meeting the deadline. That way it means all mine are at the front.

Which book would you put in the hands of an unwilling eight-year-old boy reader?

Pocket Pirates – The Great Cheese Robbery. Lots of artwork. Great for reluctant readers. Cheese and pirates…it’s foolproof.

If you have to choose between reading or writing, which would it be?

The trouble with me reading other people’s work is that I always LOVE to get lost in a good book but I start getting ideas from other author’s thoughts. So as I’m reading, I start writing something else in my head. It’s the creative curse at its most active. Very annoying. SO, I’m better off writing I think.

Well, that seems almost normal. I hope we can welcome you in Birling soon, Chris, and I can promise I won’t go near the hair. Maybe.

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