You are well-known for being an exuberant, and apparently awesome, arm-wrestler. If there was an arm-wrestling tournament for MG authors, which three others would you expect to join you in the semi-finals?
Ah, the MG Arm-Wrestling Championships… They will happen. One day. And I will ride into the arena ON A POLAR BEAR’S BACK. In the semi-finals, I’d expect to see Liz Kessler (don’t be fooled by the fairies and mermaids – she’s strong), Allan Boroughs (he’s all ‘I’ve swum in the Antarctic in just swimming trunks’ – so watch out) and Tatum Flynn (I’ve seen the damage she can cause with a table tennis bat…).
Rumour has it that you have an attention span of 6.8 seconds. (Which is apparently 75% of the average goldfish’s, and STILL quite a lot longer than mine.) What’s the last thing that held your attention for a significant amount of time, and how long was that?
Getting my face-painted as Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon this week – I concentrated on staying still for 6.9 seconds. Result.
Moontrug as Toothless The Dragon this week
There seems to have been an upsurge in YA over recent years, as shown by the popularity of YALC, followed by a very recent rise in the popularity of MG – with the wonderful MG Strikes Back, which we’re both a part of, showing the appetite for it! If there was to be an MG equivalent of YALC, what panel would you most like to take part in, and which three or four other authors would you want to be alongside?
I would like to take part in this panel: ‘Bring me my dragons: writing fantasy today’. I’d turn up (on my polar bears – obvs) to find Philip Pullman, Michelle Paver, Piers Torday and JK Rowling there – then I’d probably flee to the hills on my polar bears as I’d be so bowled over by all the MG wonderfulness in one room.
Dreams play a big part in the Dreamsnatcher (unsurprisingly!) What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
I dream really vividly and like Moll in The Dreamsnatcher, I have a recurring nightmare where I’m being chased by figures in black cloaks. But the weirdest dream I’ve ever had has to be the one where I went tightrope walking with a whereabouts wolf over a huge ravine! I blame the following authors – Emma Carroll and Nigel McDowell – as the dream seems to be a mishmash of their most recent MG books.
You blog and tweet under the name Moontrug. Google is failing me but I’m ALMOST sure you recently described something as the ‘least moontruggy thing ever’. What’s the MOST moontruggy thing ever?
Least Moontruggy thing ever = filling in an online self assessment tax form
Most Moontruggy thing ever = going on an adventure then realising you’re ‘in too deep’ or maybe doing tomboy things like somersault flips in your wedding dress.
The ‘Ooops’ Moment perfectly exemplified here by Moontrug
Moontrug being a bit Moontruggy and not ‘Bridey’ here…
Like me, you’re a fan of dance shows, and I think we have fairly similar tastes! What’s the MG novel (other than The Dreamsnatcher which would be AMAZING on stage!) that you’d most like to see a choreographer take on?
SF Said’s Phoenix. The stage designers could do this epic starry night set and I reckon alien girl, Bixa, could pull off a feisty moonwalk. Then Lucky could chip in with The Worm dance move and The Shadow Guards could do this creepy line dance move when they chase after the Alien starship crew. Yes, that would be fun to watch. I’d buy a ticket.
I'm sending this four days before the UKMG chat social, when a number of authors and bloggers will collide in a hotly-anticipated bowling game. Are you any good? If you aren't, who do you think will win? And if you are, who do you think will come second?
No, I’m rubbish. I big myself up by sending photos ahead of THE MATCH on Twitter, likening myself to The White Witch of Narnia but I’m pants. I need the barriers up to keep my bowling ball in play. Who will win? I reckon Darren from BookZone might be quite nifty.
I love the brilliant world you've created in The Dreamsnatcher, particularly the camp where Moll lives. What's your favourite ever fictional setting?
Narnia. So many adventures happen in Narnia. You’ve got Cair Paravel, The White Witch’s Castle, The Ruined City of the Giants, The Underland, River Shribble, The Great Woods, Dragon Island, Beaversdam, Harfang… And the best thing about it? You just need to push inside a wardrobe to get there. I’ve got a season pass.
The Exploration Society's Dreamsnatcher Experience, for boys and girls in Years 4 - 8 at the start of May, looks absolutely amazing! How did you get involved with the Exploration Society?
Eek, I’m so excited about it! We get to carve catapults and sleep in gypsy wagons and cook round the campfire and… What was the question? Oh yeah. Basically, I just saw an opportunity. I noticed that The Exploration Society were leading the way with outdoor education for children and that they had run a Philip Pullman Northern Lights style adventure last year so I pitched the idea of a Dreamsnatcher expedition to the CEO. And he took it.
The Dreamsnatcher Expedition for Kids!
Um, after world domination with my catapult you mean? After that, and after finishing my Dreamsnatcher series, I’d like to write another MG series about an Inuit girl called Eska and a grizzly bear cub. Travel mission at the moment: stay in an igloo in Alaska (but not get eaten by wolves or stamped on by walruses).
The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone
Publishing 26th February 2015
Watch the trailer HERE
Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare - the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows...The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher's dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Michelle Harrison and Eva Ibbotson.