Home Interviews Janet Foxley for Lost in Childhood

Janet Foxley for Lost in Childhood

by Louisa Klein

1) Why children’s books? Did you choose this genre or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
Children’s books definitely chose me. Although I enjoy reading adult literary fiction I have never had any urge to write an adult novel. There is something terribly seductive about writing for children. I think it has to do with trying to recreate the magical place that books transported me to when I was a child, with trying to recapture childhood itself.
2) Is there a children’s author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly?
There are many authors whose work I enjoy, but I don’t think I could say that anyone in particular inspired me. What drives me to write is a love of stories.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
My last book was Muncle Trogg and the Flying Donkey, which continues the story begun in my first book, Muncle Trogg. The story is an upside-down fairytale in which giants are the good, normal people and humans or, to use the giant word, Smallings, are the baddies with magical powers, which makes for lots of humour. In a giant world which is under threat from the Smallings, the unfortunate 10-year-old Muncle has to find a place for himself despite being only the size of a Smalling. I am now working on a third Muncle story, and also writing an updated and less cannibalistic version of Hansel and Gretel for a reading scheme.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and getpublished?
Very! I was writing seriously for 35 years before I was published commercially. When I started writing there were none of the editorial agencies around that are invaluable nowadays in advising and guiding aspiring authors. I did a couple of correspondence courses but they were really not helpful. Only after I sent a manuscript to the first editorial agency I came across did I learn how to structure a novel. And they told me it was too long to stand a chance of being published as a first book, so I self-published that one, and wrote something shorter: Muncle Trogg. Muncle went backwards and forwards to an editorial agency several times. After 8 drafts it got a long-listing in a competition. After 9 drafts it got a short-listing in a competition. I started sending it out to agents, one of whom came up with the suggestion that led to draft 10. It had been turned down by 8 agents, including the one with the good suggestion, when I entered it for the 2010 Times/Chicken House competition. It won and the prize was publication. I still have no agent, but now it is from choice!
5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution? Would you consider the indie route?
I’m sure if I was still unpublished I would be tempted to do this. When I self-published Midsummer Legend, my too-long book, in 2005, there were no E-books and print-on-demand was very poor quality, so I had to pay for litho-printing. I may well consider publishing it as an E-book one day. I’m perfectly happy reading books on Kindle and, as I long ago ran out of shelf space, I think they’re a great idea.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer towrite only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
The only thing my publishers have asked me to do is my author page on Amazon. Social media aren’t that useful for reaching pre-teens, but I have an author page on Facebook and Muncle has his own Facebook page. And I have a child-friendly website. I don’t update them very often, so they’re not onerous. I wouldn’t want to be constantly bleeting and twogging! Janet Foxley Bio I was born in Leicester in 1944 and grew up in a succession of towns in the north of England. After a degree in German at the University of Newcastle I trained as a bilingual secretary, but soon married and stopped work to bring up a disabled step-daughter and two children of my own. Once the children were older I worked in university administration until my husband took early retirement and we moved from the over-crowded south-east of England to rural north Cumbria. I have been making up stories on and off all my life, but started writing seriously when I was at home with small children. My first book Muncle Trogg was published in February 2011 and the sequel Muncle Trogg and the Flying Donkey in January 2012
To know more, please visit her website: http://www.janetfoxley.co.uk
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below:

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