An Interview with David Henry Wilson
David Henry Wilson is a children’s author and playwright, best known for his Jeremy James series and the Superdog series. His books have been translated into many languages including Spanish, German, and French. We talk to him about his recently released children’s fable The Castle of Inside Out.
1) What led you into writing?
A vivid imagination, a love of language, and a storyteller who lives inside my head.
2) What was your earliest career aspiration?
I always wanted to be a writer. Somewhere in the house is an exercise book full of stories I wrote when I was still at primary school. But I also had a long career as a university lecturer, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
3) Can you describe your book The Castle of Inside Out and its inspiration in thirty words?
The book describes the adventures of a young girl who tries to get help for the starving green people living outside the castle. But the crazy animals who run the crazy castle are not interested in helping anyone except themselves. The “inspiration” came from the sheer madness of the world we live in.
4) Do you have any plans for your next book?
Some years ago I wrote a sequel to The Castle of Inside Out , and I am currently revising it.
5) What has been the most exciting moment in your career?
Last year, Michael Friend Productions performed two of my Shakespeare sequels at the Attic Theatre in Stratford upon Avon, where Shakespeare was born. This was a huge project, and a wonderful cast of actors made it a thrilling experience.
6) What is the last book you read?
A novel called Damnificados by J.J. Amaworo Wilson. It’s about a group of outcasts who live in a huge abandoned tower block, and it’s a wonderful blend of social and magic realism, fascinating characters, adventure, humour. My enthusiasm for the book has nothing to do with the fact that I am the author’s father!
7) If you could have dinner with any three people, past or present, who would they be?
Make it four: my late wife and my three children. Otherwise: William Shakespeare, Ludwig van Beethoven (after buying him a hearing aid), and the best cook in the world.
8) If you hadn’t been a writer, what would you have liked to be?
A great composer or a great cricketer.
9) Which of your own books do you like best?
For younger children, Elephants Don’t Sit On Cars; for children of all ages, The Castle of Inside Out; and for adults, The Coachman Rat.
10) What do you do to relax?
I improvise masterpieces on the piano (only when I am alone), listen to classical music, watch sport on TV (especially cricket and rugby), and for thirty years I captained a local cricket team, but now I do the scoring for them every Saturday. I also sleep.
Lorina, a young schoolgirl, is led by a black rabbit through a wood to a magical land. There she finds a race of green people, who are all overworked, starving and subjected to the toxic fumes billowing out of a nearby castle. She decides to gain access to the castle for the poor green people, and within its walls she meets the “insiders”, selfish creatures who hoard all the resources and treat the outsiders as slaves. Her quest leads her to encounter the bureaurat, the superviper, the farmadillo and, eventually, the awful Piggident himself.
Will she be able to save the green people from the cruelty of these ‘insiders’?
Wonderfully illustrated by Chris Riddell, The Castle of Inside Out is an unforgettable and hilarious tale of adventure, set in a world where greed must be fought by the courageous and compassionate heroine.
RRP £6.99, NOW £5.59, 20% Off