Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
Who are the Ickles?
The Ickles are a group of individuals who all strive to live up to their names. Their names provide a strong clue about their personality, or their main role in life. You will meet Heroickle, the accidental savior of planet earth; Botanickle, who talks to plants, Physickle, who sets out to walk around the world; Cuteickle, the TV star, Pyrotechnickle, the Fireworks maker, and Astronautickle, who performs bizarre experiments in the weightlessness of space. And many many more.
What inspired you to become a writer of children's stories?
The primary creative influence in my life has always been my own imagination, which is always galloping off in many strange directions. It is vital to maintain a sense of wonder, especially when writing for children. I am also fascinated by words and their meaning. These storylines arise from the names of each individual Ickle. Their adventures are fanciful tales about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. They live in the real world, but their journeys often take them to far-off places, or fantasy lands where they live out their dreams.
How do you decide what to write about?
The names of the characters suggest the stories to me. Astronautickle has to be an Astronaut, Zoologickle a zoo keeper, etc. There is no shortage of ideas, not with the long list of characters available. My first book is a collection of twenty separate stories, all developed from the names that suggest the plot.
Which stories are your favourites?
This is difficult to say, as each story has its favorite moments. Mathematickle is a favorite, because it delves into the fantasy world of numbers and logic. Heroickle is an example of an unlikely hero rising to the occasion, using everyday objects to defeat a menacing alien enemy. Topickle provides a salutary glimpse of a dystopian future that all of us would like to avoid. Each story is fun and challenging in its own way and the selection provides a change of pace and venue to keep the reader stimulated and challenged.
How long does it take you to write a story?
This depends on the story. Some of the stories almost write themselves and are finished in a day. Other stories develop more slowly and may not be completed for several weeks. I return to an unfinished story when the inspiration hits me, otherwise I keep writing for as long as the ideas flow.
What is your advice for children's writers who are just starting out?
Write. Read. Write. Observe the world around you, through the fresh eyes of a child. Write from your own experiences, from the things that interest you. Have fun with words. Don’t be scared of writing nonsense or garbage. Better to write flimflam than nothing at all. Write what you like to read and what your children like to read. Don’t fall in love with your own writing but be prepared to edit it, hone it and polish it at the proofing stage. Write something every day until it becomes a habit and never give up.