Friday 28 September 2012

Little M sat down for a chat.....with Susie Day

Little M asked Susie Day a few questions. Susie is the author of the wonderful book, The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones.


Susie Day (photo: Justa Mili)

Little M: Is Bluebell Jones inspired by your childhood?

Susie: The story, no. Alas, I did not blow out my birthday candles on my 13th birthday to find my 14-year-old future self grinning back at me, full of advice. If I had, perhaps I could’ve skipped that unfortunate phase of home-hairdressing.

But the setting, a seaside town in Wales - that’s absolutely drawn from my childhood. I’m from Penarth; when I was growing up, going down Barry Island Pleasure Park and playing the penny slots, riding the Wacky Gold Mine and then eating some fairground doughnuts was basically the best night out of my life ever. There’s a lot of that in Penkerry.

Little M: How did you get the names for your characters in Bluebell Jones?

Susie: I stole them from the Jim Henson Creature Shop!

Redfraggle (copyright JHP and HIT Entertainment)
When I was small I loved the character Red in Fraggle Rock: she was carefree, with a real sense of adventure (I was more of a Boober or a Mokey, myself) - so when I imagined this girl, this amazing projection of the future, complete with bright red-dyed hair, she had to be called Red.

When I first started writing this book, the main character was called Poppy - but once Red was there, naturally she had to become Bluebell: Blue and Red. And Fozzie is of course named after Fozzie from The Muppets, because everyone loves Fozzie.

Little M: What inspired you to write Bluebell Jones?

Susie: I wanted to write a coming-of-age story about a girl absolutely on the brink of being teenage. I remember finding that ‘on the cusp’ time so difficult, when some girls seemed so much further ahead than me in caring about clothes, knowing what was ‘in’, deciding what kind of person they were. I just wanted to skip over all that and reappear one day at school, finished and ready.

Little M: Do you have any pets?

Susie: Nope! I used to have goldfish called Starsky, Hutch and Huggy Bear. I’d love to have a cat, though.

Summer snap: Gelati in Corniglia, Italy
Little M: Are there any funny moments working at the boarding school?

Susie: Many, many funny moments! (For anyone confused by this question, as well as writing I work in a boarding school, and live in a house full of teenage boys.) They do a lot of the old classics: bucket of water on top of the door you’re about to open, trying to make the pizza delivery guy frisbee the pizza boxes through a tiny gap in a first-floor window, that sort of thing.

My highlight from this past year is still L: I go around the house each night to check on everyone, and he always liked to hide and then leap out and shout ‘aaaargh!’ to scare me. Except L was really, really bad at hiding. There was always a leg sticking out, or he’d start laughing before he could do the ‘aaaargh’ bit. One night he actually climbed into his wardrobe while I was in the room, and then jumped out - and he was very put out when I didn’t look sufficiently surprised.

Thanks for asking me such great questions!
Susie xx


Read Little M's review of The Twice-Lived Summer of Blubell Jones.
You can vists Susie at her website.

And, if you're coming to our event at the Ilkley Literature Festival, you may get a special taster of Bluebell Jones :)

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely interview! I love the name Huggy Bear for a goldfish :) and Jim Henson-inspired character names! Susie, you must have some hilarious stories of life in a boarding school..


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