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Interview with Laura Wood for the Poppy Pym series !
A la Une
auteur Laura Wood
Pour les6 à 11 ans

Let’s discover more about the author and Poppy !

Mes Premières Lectures : Hello Laura, and thank you for your time. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers ?


Laura Wood : Hello, and thank you so much for having me here on your lovely website ! I’m Laura, and I’m a British author who lives right in the middle of England. I write a series of books about a girl called Poppy Pym who was abandoned as a baby at a travelling circus. When Poppy turns twelve she is sent to a boarding school called Saint Smithen’s and that’s when mysterious things start to happen !

Mes Premières Lectures  : Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh’s Curse was released in France in March this year. We’ve deeply love it on Mes Premières Lectures ! How did you first come up with the idea of Poppy and her strange family ?

 


Laura Wood : You’re so kind ! I first had the idea a long time ago, when I was working in a children’s bookshop. I love books that have big, funny families in them and as soon as the idea for the circus arrived the characters popped into my head. Writing about Poppy’s circus family is my favourite part of the books…they are so alive in my mind that I feel like I am listening to them talk instead of making up what they say. Often I will begin a scene, like the phone conversations they have with Poppy, with no idea what they are going to say and I just let the characters take me wherever they like. It’s a lot of fun.


Mes Premières Lectures : You’ve won an award for this novel. How does it feel ?


Laura Wood : Winning the Montegrappa Scholastic prize for my first Poppy Pym book was completely amazing. I still can’t believe it. I always thought that people who won prizes were ‘special’ somehow, not ordinary, like me ! It was the biggest, most exciting thing that has ever happened to me and it really changed my life. Now, people all over the world are reading the words that I wrote, and that wouldn’t have happened without the prize so I’m very grateful.


Mes Premières Lectures : A second book about Poppy (Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx) was released in the UK in September (but not yet in France), could you briefly tell us a wee bit about the story ?

 


Laura Wood : The second book features ghosts, hidden treasure, and an army of badly behaved guinea pigs ! It’s Halloween, and St Smithen’s is hosting a local production of Macbeth after a mysterious fire breaks out in the original venue. As the play suffers one disaster after another it’s up to Poppy and her friends to uncover what’s really going on. Is there really a jinx upon the play ? And is there more than one mystery to be solved ? Poppy, Kip and Ingrid are on the case !


It is coming out very soon in France thanks to Seuil Jeunesse, and I’m so excited for you to read it.

Mes Premières Lectures : You also teach literature at Warwick’s university, and completed a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies and 19th century literature. Does this academic research inspire your fiction ? And if so, how ? We can feel a Victorian touch with Poppy for instance.


Laura Wood : Oh, definitely. I research and teach about Victorian children’s literature and it is a huge influence on my work. There are so many brilliant writers like George MacDonald and Lewis Carroll who really shaped the way we write for children. It was also when we saw the start of the tradition of the ‘school story’ that influenced writers like Enid Blyton and J. K. Rowling, and these were the books I grew up reading, dreaming of being sent to boarding school ! My biggest influence would have to be Edith Nesbit. If you read her book ‘The Story of the Treasure Seekers’ I think you can see how much Poppy’s voice owes to her. The book is narrated by one of the children and it lends the story so much warmth and humour… something I was really keen to capture with Poppy.


Mes Premières Lectures : What are your on-going projects ? Will we see more of Poppy’s crazy adventures ? We certainly hope so !


Laura Wood : At the moment my on-going projects are top secret, but I can say that you will be seeing more of Poppy. I’m also working on a couple of other things and as soon as I’m allowed to talk about them you’ll be the first to know !


Mes Premières Lectures : Will we be able to see you in France anytime soon ? And would you like to say something to your French readers ?


Laura Wood : I hope you will see me in France soon…I absolutely love it there and I would be so excited to meet some of my French readers. To them I would just like to say thank you, truly, from the bottom of my heart. By reading Poppy’s stories you make my dreams come true and I am so grateful for you. I hope you enjoy her second adventure !

Thank you Laura for your attention !If you would like to know more about Laura Wood’s work, here is her nice website !

 


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Interview with Laura Wood for the Poppy Pym series ! : Mes Premières Lectures