Quote: “Children are missing out on that very important other world, the imaginative world that you can create for yourself.”
P. B. Kerr, better known as acclaimed adult thriller writer Philip Kerr, has recently turned his focus to children's books. Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure is the first title in a wildly inventive new trilogy about a twin boy and girl with magical powers. DreamWorks studio has optioned the film rights for the title.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Kerr was always an avid reader. His favorite authors include Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Joan Aiken. Almost as soon as he could read, he realized he wanted to be a writer. He wrote his first story when he was ten. “There was no color TV, no computers, no Play Stations,” Kerr says, “Our entertainment tended to be home-made. It was easy for me to become keen on books; there was really nothing else to do. I feel sorry for my own children having so much else to compete for their attention.”
Kerr spent the next twenty-five years trying to become a published author, writing his first novel, Romans, when he was 17, and eventually publishing March Violets in 1989. Ever since, he has been a full-time writer, publishing more than a dozen different books.
“I had always wanted to write a children's book only I could never think of a subject. And then, almost at the same time as I was worrying about my sons not reading very much, I thought of a story.” Kerr says. Children of the Lamp was inspired partly by The Arabian Nights and is an imaginative adventure about a twin boy and girl who discover at age twelve that they are djinn (genies). Kerr has stated that it is liberating to write for children because he can throw out all the rules and let his imagination roam free.
He lives in Wimbledon, London with his wife and three children, in the house once owned by the children's author Joan Aiken.