Kid Reporter talks to author Matthew Skelton
|Author Matthew Skelton shows Scholastic Kid Reporter Jamie Sanders some of the stories that he wrote as a child. (Photo: Genet Berhane)|
By Jamie Sanders
Scholastic Kids Press Corps
September 8, 2006
Endymion Spring tells the story of a young boy named Blake, who has traveled to England’s Oxford University with his mother and younger sister, Duck. One day, as he is running his hands along some books in the library, one of the books bites him!
To find out why, you’ll have to pick up the book, Endymion Spring. For now, check out what author Matthew Skelton had to say when we sat down to talk about his debut novel:
Scholastic News Online: So when you were a kid, did you like mystical, magical stories?
Matthew Skelton: When I was a boy, there were some books that really changed my life . . . Susan Cooper wrote a series called Dark Is Rising.
SN: I read that!
Skelton: See, that changed my life. [The series] had the J. K. Rowling effect for me when I was about 12. And after that I would go for walks and I would be with the characters.
I always go for walks and I always take my imagination with me. And I often describe my imagination as a little dog that’s always with me and it’s sort of panting and that’s sort of going ahead with the leash and my imagination’s going there, and it’s going there, and it’s sniffing, it’s sniffing, it’s wagging, it’s fetching sticks—my imagination is like that.
|(Photo: Courtesy Random House)|
SN: How do you feel about Blake?
Skelton: Blake, I think, is a really nice character. And he’s got a lot more to be confident and proud of than he realizes and I think that perhaps he’s going to grow up to see that. But Duck—she’s a little menace. She’s sweet, but she’s irritating.
SN: Did you base Duck on your sister?
Skelton: Actually, I didn’t. The embarrassing thing is I was much more like Duck when I was a boy. Because my sister’s older than I am and she used to beat me up a lot . . . so I was the little Duck. The annoying sister—er, brother.
SN: Did you base the character of Endymion Spring on anyone?
Skelton: No, he just came to me as—it’s weird—before any other character, as a voice . . . I didn’t know who Endymion Spring was and it was actually several years after starting the book that people kept asking me, ‘Who is Endymion Spring? If you answer that, you’ll have a better book.’ And I just did a bit of research . . . and then suddenly this little boy appeared to me and he started to enter my head.
SN: The character of Endymion Spring doesn’t have a voice. Was it tricky trying to tell his story?
Skelton: Absolutely. It’s really hard to write dialogue with a mute character . . . it would have been really nice on occasion just to have had some conversation!
SN: How did you come up with the ingenious riddles in the book?
Skelton: The riddles actually occurred to me once as I was falling asleep!
So much of this book was a surprise to me. I know you probably have teachers who say, “outline this properly,” or, “show me the outline before you write the essay.” I’ve never been able to do that. So I was just happily typing away, seeing where the story would take me . . . and little things happened by surprise.
SN: I think you’ll have a lot more fans as more people read this book.
Skelton: Honestly, that’s the best thing that I could possibly hear—to know that young kids like it. That is the best thing.
Critical Thinking Question
Read today's news story, and then answer the following question.
Endymion SpringMatthew Skelton says that as a kid, he read books that changed his life. What book have you read that has changed your life?
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