Writers' Minds: A. F. Harrold

Photo by Naomi Woddis
A.F. Harrold is a poet, writer and performer with a plethora of books for younger readers including six in the series about Fizzlebert Stump, a boy who lives in a circus and The Imaginary, a book for slightly older readers, The Song From Somewhere Else and poetry in Things You Find In a Poets Beard (illustrated by Chris Riddell).

I met him at the Bishop’s Stortford Literature Festival in February, where he kept an audience of adults and children captivated for an hour, great performer, bit 'Hagridesque'. For more on that particilar event you can read my blog. A.F. Harrold also writes for adults and performs regularly in bars and basements, he was the poet in residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2010.

1 Inspiration – where do your ideas for a story come from? Hunter or gatherer?

More a potterer and tinkerer and stumbler and a oh-that-might-work-er and a I-think-I’ll-have-another-bath-er.

2 Are you a plotter or a pantster – is there method in your process, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Most often pants. If there is a plot at the beginning, it’s generally of the loosest sort. Sometimes an image, a scene, a picture to be got to, or to be gone from.

3 Shed sitter or café dreamer? Where do you write?

Upstairs study.

4 Do you have any artefacts, mottos or words of wisdom by your desk?

There are pictures on the wall – watercoloured and penciled bears by Barbara Firth, a couple of gifts from Emily Gravett, a print of Jill Bennett’s original (and superior) BFG, a self-portrait by Leonard Cohen, a picture of Frank Zappa from Cal Schenkel, a grumpy bear by Nadia Shireen, a potato print bear by Pip Hall – but mainly it’s empty biscuit packets and unwashed mugs.

5 Target word count per day or as and when it comes?

If it happens it happens.

6 High days and holidays? Do you write seven days a week, or weekends and holidays off?

There’s no difference between days, except the postman doesn’t come on Sundays.

Cover illustration: Chris Riddell

7 Quill or keyboard? Pen or technology?

It’s all keyboard ballet these days.

8 Music or silence to write to?

Hush now.

9 Chocolate or wine?

Chocolate, please.

10 Perspiration or inspiration?

Half and half.

11 Where do you find the muse? Any techniques for inspiration?

By attempting the keyboard ballet.

12 Do you ever hear your character’s voice in your head? Have you ever seen them in real life?


13 If there was one piece of advice or wisdom you could impart to other writers about the craft of writing, what would it be?

Never give advice, some idiot will assume you think you know what you’re doing.

A.F. Harrold is published by Bloomsbury. You can find him here: http://www.afharroldkids.com/#about

Jools Abrams is originally from the North West, but now lives in Hertfordshire. She is an award-winning writer of short stories for children and adults and has read at Word Factory and Birkbeck events. The latter is where she completed an MA in creative writing and children's literature with Michael Rosen as her tutor. She's also a ghost memoir writer for The Story Terrace in London and a writer of novels for young adults, currently mentored by The Golden Egg Academy. She's written screenplays and worked with The Script Factory in London and self-published a book on outdoor pursuits She Who Dares, inspired by her women's group. Jools is a qualified primary teacher, a forest school practitioner, has worked in independent cinema and the arts and is mother to two older teens.

Louisa Glancy is a features editor for Words & Pictures.
Contact: writers@britishscbwi.org
Twitter: @Louisa Glancy

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog.Thank you so much for sharing this blog.


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