Today I am welcoming Maz Evans to my blog for a Q&A, where we will find out about the inspiration behind Who Let The Gods Out?, the wonderful Story Stew, and what's so special about writing for children...
What is the inspiration behind Who Let The Gods Out?
I have always been a great lover of Greek mythology, so when I came to write my own book, it was the natural backdrop for my story. One day a random thought popped into my head (they often do): If the Gods are immortal, they must still be here… what are they doing? And so, the seed was planted…
Tell us a bit more about the main character, Elliot. Do you have anything in common with him?
Elliot has become my fifth child – I love him so much. I have a great fondness for cheeky kids and Elliot has a lovely dry wit. He doesn’t like following the rules, but many great people don’t. What he does have is an innate sense of justice and a quiet courage – he won’t shy away from danger, but he won’t make a fuss about it either. There are bits of me in all my characters – with Elliot, his backchat and aversion to mornings ring particularly true.
What made you want to write about Gods and Goddesses? Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?
I believe you should always write what you’d want to read, so a funny book about mythology was my ideal. I had a working knowledge of classical mythology from school and university, but one of the great joys has been going back and reading all the different renderings of the myths – some of which are incredibly naughty!
Tell us about your experiences with Story Stew. What does the workshop involve?
Like so many things in my life, Story Stew was a happy accident. When I was lecturing in creative writing, my son’s teacher asked if I’d do some story writing with his primary school class. I’d never considered it before, but I loved it – kids and I get along as we share a similar sense of humour. Other schools started to ask and before I knew it, Story Stew became my full-time job. The workshops are anarchic, but at their heart teach a simple story structure that absolutely anyone can follow. It is my proud boast that every single person, child or adult, has produced a story in my classes. [smiles smugly, slips on banana skin]
Do you come up with the plot, or your characters first?
Plot should evolve naturally from your characters. Anyone who says otherwise needs a slap with a wet halibut. What is your character like? What do they want? And what do they need? How are they going to get it? What’s stopping them? There’s your plot.
What inspires you to write?
Sheer, obsessional love of the art form. I have always loved the written word – as humans we have no more potent weapon in our arsenal. Think of the good/harm words can do? They are incredibly powerful and should be used with great respect. I hope that my words provide an escape hatch from life, but also hold a mirror to it. I love observing humanity. We’re bonkers.
What did you like to read as a kid?
Absolutely anything I could lay hands on – I devoured books like I now devour calories. Like Matilda, I read everything in my local library. I really loved anthologies with loads of different stories in. I really must write one at some point…
What’s special about writing for children?
Young minds are utterly brilliant. Kids see the world in such a wonderful, simple way. I hope I never lose that childlike wonder at our world. Yes, it has some dark scary corners – all the more reason for us to work together to switch on the light. And that’s what being a children’s author is for me – holding up a torch and saying “Look at this! How does it make you feel?” It’s an immense privilege.
Are you working on any other projects at the minute?
Gods is the first of four books in the series, so I’m just finishing Book 2, which is also out this year, before plunging headlong into Books 3 & 4. I was a scriptwriter before I became an author and hopefully have a new show going on in the summer. So it’s going to be a busy year!
What advice would you give to aspiring young writers?
Read by the bucketload and keep going. Your first work is unlikely to be your best, so try to read it with someone else’s eyes – what is the story you really want to tell? Your story matters and we want to hear it. So work your socks off to get it out there.
Thank you, Maz, for taking the time to answer my questions!
Buy Who Let The Gods Out here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Let-Gods-Out-Evans/dp/1910655414/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486385069&sr=8-1&keywords=who+let+the+gods+out
Check out Maz Evans here: http://maz.world
Until next time :)