This week The O’Brien Press chatted with the wonderful Judi Curtin about her forthcoming book Time After Time. We got down to the good stuff like time travel and friendship!
Where did you get the idea for this new book?
It started when I thought about the regret a young girl would feel at never having the chance to know her mum. Then I had to find a way for them to be together, even though the mum had died many years earlier.
Time travel is such a cool concept, what was your inspiration for this?
Time travel has always fascinated me. Who wouldn’t want the chance to revisit the past? Who wouldn’t want to experience historical events? Who wouldn’t want to see their parents as teenagers?
If you could travel through a porthole to any decade/period in history, when would it be?
I think I’d go back to the 1920’s, when my grandparents were young. It’s an interesting era, and I’d love to see the lives my grandparents had, many years before I came along.
Is Molly based on someone in particular?
No. Except for Domino the cat, all of my characters are completely fictional. (But that doesn’t stop people saying they recognize themselves in my books!)
Did you have fun writing about the 80s?
I loved it. I know it’s ancient history to my readers, but for me I’m writing about my youth.
What is your favourite thing about the 80s?
The fashions might seem gross now, but they were wonderful too. Everything was big and loud and colourful.
When you were writing Time After Time did you miss your other characters from the Alice series or the Eva series?
I always miss my old characters, and more than once I’ve sneaked a few from one series into another.
What was your favourite part of writing Time after Time?
I loved writing the part where Beth meets her mother – the first time I’ve made myself cry. Sad, but very rewarding.
Do you read children’s books yourself?
Only rarely (which might be controversial). I read voraciously when I was a child, and as a teacher and parent, I continued that for many years. Now though, I mostly read books written for people like me.
When you write, how much do you think about the reader?
In the first draft I’m very much writing what I want to write. In later drafts, with the help of my wonderful editor, Helen, I do try to consider how the reader is going to engage with my characters and story.
How does your interaction with real children affect the way you write and what you write about?
I do very many events with young people, who can be quite transparent. They seem to like my stories about families and friendship, and as I like writing these, it’s easy to continue.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read everything you can get your hands on. Keep a diary. Enter competitions – not necessarily to win, but so you get practice at polishing your work.
Time for the mean question: What is your favourite book in the entire world?
Today I’m going to say The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis. It’s the only Narnia book I read as a child, and I’ve always loved it. (But if you ask me again next week, it could be Heidi, First Term at Malory Towers, The Great Gatsby, or even whatever book I read tonight!)
What one item would you like to banish into history and is there anything you’d like to bring back from the past?
The thing I’d like to banish into history is internet shopping – who really needs to buy a pair of shoes at three in the morning?
The thing I’d like to bring back from the past is Angel Delight dessert. The wonderful name completely made up for the fact that it tasted so terrible. It evokes such happy memories from my childhood that I had to mention it in Time After Time.
Judi Curtin, August 2016.
We will be having a launch for Time After Time at Eason O’Connell Street on Thursday 8th September. Come back in time with Judi and get ready to party 80s style this September! See your invite below:
Time After Time is available to pre-order here and will be available in all good bookshops from 5th September 2016!