Author Of The Month – Emma Carroll Q&A

Following on from David Solomons, I’m delighted to announce the Emma Carroll will be Mr Davies Reads’ Author of the Month for August.

Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I have been raving about Letters From The Lighthouse for quite some time now. To be honest, it’s more than just me; it seems like everyone who’s read the book has been recommending it left right and centre. It’s been mentioned at every bit of training or conference I’ve been to this year, it’s constantly being mentioned on social media and found it’s way onto many awards and end of year lists.

“Without doubt, this is historical fiction for children at its best.”

Emma is more than a one trick pony though. She has a whole back catalogue of books. From a children’s take on Gothic Horror( Strange Star) to tightrope walking (The Girl Who Walked On Air), there is something for everyone to enjoy. To add to that, the books are filled with mystery, suspense and the odd spooky twist. Without doubt, this is historical fiction for children at its best.

And now, Emma Carroll is back with Secrets of a Sun King, which is released this week. What better time to invite Emma along for a quick chat about her her latest offering and her work in general.

1. As I write this, you new book Secrets of a Sun King is about to hit the shelves. What can readers expect?

It’s an adventure that takes place in post-war London and Egypt. In a bid to break an ancient curse, three friends go on a mission to return an Egyptian jar to its rightful resting place. So,expect dynamic friendships, dual-heritage characters, feminism, strange coincidences, bad luck, tropical illnesses, houseboats, tombs… oh, and camels

2. I remember fondly learning about the Egyptians at school, particularly researching and writing about the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb. How much research did you have to do while writing the book to get the history side of the story right?

Having not studied the Egyptians before, it was all quite new to me. Luckily, I’ve travelled in Egypt so describing the Nile, Cairo and the Valley of the Kings wasn’t too hard. The historical stuff meant lots of reading up on Howard Carter and the various stories behind the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb. What really helped was that so much of it is still a mystery which, as a novelist, allowed me a way in to create the story I wanted to tell.

3. I’ve seen you described as the ‘queen of historical fiction’. Has history always been a passion of yours?

Oh gosh, that title! *blushes*  In all honesty, no, I’ve never been a massive history buff. What I love are old stories, so family anecdotes, little bits of domestic and social history about how people used to live are the things that really intrigue me. My favourite genre to read is historical fiction, so I think that’s been the biggest influence on what I write.

4. The first book of yours that I read was Strange Star and it is still (by a shade) my favourite. As an author do you have particular books that you have written that stand out?

Thank you very much! Strange Star was certainly the easiest of all my books to write because I deliberately kept close to the structure of Frankenstein. I’m often asked by young readers if I have a favourite amongst my books: at a push I’d probably say either Frost Hollow Hall because its the one that made my lifelong dream come true. Or Letters from the Lighthouse because it was the hardest, most emotionally gruelling of all my books to write, yet has been the most popular to date. But I’m rather fond of Sun King too…

5. Your last book, Sky Chasers, was written using Neal Jackson’s winning idea from the Big Idea Competition. What was it like writing someone else’s idea rather than your own?

It wasn’t much different from how I usually write, except this time round someone else chose the historical context. All the fictional stuff (i.e. most of it) and the research came from me, with the help of my wonderful editor.

6. And finally, if there was one thing you could say to the children who read Mr Davies Reads, what would it be?

A massive HELLO to everyone reading this blog. Bookworms are the best people (scientific fact, honest!)

Thank you to Emma Carroll for taking the time to answer my questions. Look out for my review of Secrets of a Sun King and other features about Emma over the coming weeks. 

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