When I came across M.J. Fahy, I have to admit, I noticed her book first, and only then noticed M.J. herself. The book is called The Magpie King. Magpies. Need I say more? I love magpies. Okay, they are the bad guys in her book, but that doesn’t really matter, because magpies. Have I mentioned yet that I love magpies? Yes? Uhm…in that case, let’s just talk to M.J.
That’s her, by the way. And I bet she can tell us lots about mag…her book.
Who are you?
I’m M.J. Fahy, and was born in 1963 at my grandparents’ cottage in Upham, Hampshire.
Where are you?
I live in Southampton, Hampshire (I haven’t strayed very far), on the sunny-ish South coast of England.
How are you?
I’m going to reply with the standard British: I’m very well, thank you; which covers all mundane disorders usually attributed to fifty-year-olds.
Fifty. Fifty? I want to look like you when I’m fifty. Wait, I’m getting sidetracked…Which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.
The first book I’ve written, The Magpie King, is a children’s fairy tale set in and around the village of Upham, Hampshire. It involves magic; strange creatures; faeries, elves, and the age-old battle of good over evil.
Why did you write it?
I wrote it because I had to. The story had niggled and drifted around the cobwebby, seldom-visited pockets of my brain for years, then when my grandmother died I realised I wasn’t actually going to live for ever after all, and that I’d better start writing the book. Middle-age is a brilliant catalyst for creativity.
‘I wrote it because I had to.’ Best reason there is. Which actors would you cast for the movie?
If I was lucky enough to have my book made into a film, and I could choose the cast, I think I’d pick unknown actors for all the younger roles. Dawn French would be top of my list to play Dorcas Gumble, a Gypsy with magical abilities; Dame Eileen Atkins as Nan Moon, grumpy but stalwart head of the Moon household; Malcom McDowell for Papa; Catherine Tate as Marigold, because of her glorious red hair; and the wonderful Julie Walters as Queen Maeve – I think she’d be amazing, playing a five-hundred-year-old monarch!
What are you currently working on?
Right now I’m writing a sequel to The Magpie King, which I hope to publish in January/February 2015. Also, I’ve begun an unrelated children’s story that will appeal more to boys, I think; it’s publication date will be August/September 2015.
…that will appeal more to boys? Sounds like I need to read it to my daughter. 🙂 Which target audience do you write for? What do you think makes your book especially appealing for that audience?
I write for Middle Grade readers aged 9 – 12 years, though many adults have bought and enjoyed my book, too. When I was in middle school, I remember wanting to read books that offered a glimpse of magical worlds running paralell to our own, waiting to be stumbled upon quite by accident, so that’s what I wanted to write. There’s plenty of gunge, slap-stick, and insect-munching too, which will appeal to my target audience, I hope.
I loved the insect-munching in your book. So…economical. Who is your favorite author?
My favourite authors change depending on my mood, I’m quite faddy like that. At the moment I’m reading as many of Tess Gerritsen’s books as I can get my hands on.
If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?
My superpower of choice would be the ability to fly.