Category Archives: Papers Pens Poets

An Interview with… Simon Whaley

In June 2016, I interviewed Simon Whaley for Papers Pens Poets about his love of stationery. Simon revealed why paper and pen beats modern technology hands down.

Simon Whaley writing in his notebook

His favourite pen is the Pentel Superb BK77, in black ink.

I love it because it’s easy to hold and has a fine ballpoint nib.

He absolutely adores Moleskine notebooks and claims they are the perfect notebooks for writers. They are hardback, which makes them ideal for writing in wherever you may be: desk, chair in the garden, bed, or out on the hills.

I use two sizes of Moleskine notebook: the Classic Pocket and the Classic Large.

You can find out more about Simon Whaley’s stationery passions on the Papers Pens Poets blog: www.paperspenspoets.co.uk

Find out more about Simon Whaley and his writing here: www.simonwhaley.co.uk  and on Twitter: @simonwhaley

An interview with… Miriam Halahmy

In May 2016, I interviewed Miriam Halahmy for the Papers Pens Poets blog – the place where writers and illustrators come together to share their love of stationery.

Miriam

Miriam explained she always writes in pen because she worries pencil will rub out and she’ll lose something important. She prefers fibre tip pens and the Muji range are her favourite. Miriam told me:

I usually write in black or blue but sometimes I enjoy writing in green or purple. The pen has to flow easily for me and have a reasonable grip.

Miriam also likes small, lined notebooks and insists the lines can’t be too far apart. She  starts a new notebook for each novel. One of her favourite gifts is a fancy notebooks with heavy cover. She uses them as diaries when she is on holiday.

She uses a lot of plastic folders and plastic pockets to keep things in order during her writing process.

I need files for my filing cabinet to keep things in some kind of order, but when I’m working away my desk literally becomes a rising mound of books, papers, slippery slidy plastic pockets, and pens which have been discarded.

You can read the whole Papers Pens Poets interview here.

Miriam COVER HIGH RESWhen I interviewed Miriam for the blog she had just launched The Emergency Zoo, a novel which  focuses on a little known fact that during WWII there was a huge culling of the pets. Her book asks:

When war breaks out, who will save the animals?

In The Emergency Zoo the children spirit their pets away from the grownups and even end up caring for a baby cobra.

Hidden book cover

I have also previously interviewed Miriam for my columns in the national writing magazine, Writers’ Forum. The first time was in 2011 about her research secrets for her first novel Hidden, which is about racial bullying and set on Hayling Island. Hidden, has been the Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2016.

 

Miriam told me how her Hayling archive fills a whole bookshelf at home in her study. She also said she found lots of interesting snippets of inspiration by talking to the local sailors, coastguards and lifeboat men. This also helped to develop her understanding of the beaches, tides, currents and waters around Hayling.

I have swum in the sea in summer and winter and paddled in all seasons and I have walked all over the Island, taking photos, writing notes and talking to anyone who has a moment, from birdwatchers to houseboat owners, to teenagers in the skate park near the funfair.

In the April 2018 issue of Writers’ Forum, I interviewed Miriam for my Writing 4 Children column and she told me how her YA novel, Hidden, has been adapted for the stage by playwright Vickie Donoghue.

Writing 4 Children - Miriam Halahmy1

Find out more about Miriam on her website: www.miriamhalahmy.com Facebook author page : Miriam Halahmy – Writer and Twitter: @miriamhalahmy

An interview with… Sue Wallman

Papers Pens Poets is a blog where writers, book bloggers and illustrators can share their passion for all things stationery. It was the brain child of children’s author Jo Franklin. The blog contains reviews, articles, and weekly interviews with a wide range of authors, covering books of all age ranges and genres. Jo set up the blog and I did the majority of the author interviews.

The second interview I did for Papers Pens Poets was with YA author Sue Wallman. She has three YA books published by Scholastic.

In the interview, she revealed she is a real pen fanatic. Her love of pens was probably triggered by winning a Crackerjack pen. Yes! Sue was on the television reciting a poem dressed in a home-made costume and won herself an amazing Crackerjack pen. I am totally envious. I would have loved a Crackerjack pen. What’s a Crackerjack pen, you say? Well I’m afraid you just missed out! Here is a picture of it for you instead:

Crackerjack pen

But Sue’s favourite pen and she admits it may just be her favourite all-time possession, is an old Parker fountain pen which was her mum’s. It was a gift from her grandparents to her mum who used it for her O-level exams in the Fifties. Out of the blue, when Sue was a student, she gave it to her. The nib has never been changed – the way Sue and her Mum both hold it must be similar because the pen writes smoothly for both of them. Sue used this pen to sign her first book contract.

Parker pen

Sue also has a whole drawer full of Sharpies. Whatever colour you need, she has it. She loves the sound of the click when the lid snaps on. She also loves to share her passion for pens with her friends and family. At her book launches, she had pens printed with her book titles and web address as take-home presents.

 LALS pens

Sue told me:

When it comes to notebooks, I have a new one for each project and I don’t like going bigger than A5 because then it’s awkward to carry around. I’m a fan of the Asda notebooks that look like Moleskines and cost £3. I go expensive occasionally: I have a little notebook from Liberty that’s faded to a lovely purple and has beautiful striped elastic.

To find out more information about Sue Wallman and her books check out her website: www.suewallman.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @SueWallman

This article is adapted from an original interview on the Papers Pens Poets blog. You can find out more about Sue and her stationery there. It was also previously published on the SCBWI British Isles online magazine Words and Pictures.

If you are a published author of any age range (0 – Adult) or genre, or an illustrator, or a book blogger, or a librarian and would like to be featured on the Papers Pens Poets blog, please get in touch.

An interview with… Alex Woolf

On the 25th April 2016 me and my friend Jo Franklin launched a unique blog where I interviewed authors about their love of stationery, called Paper Pens Poets. The site has been running for over two years and there has been a new author interview featured on the site almost every week.

The very first author interview was with children’s book writer Alex Woolf and went out on the 6th May 2016. Alex could not really say he had a favourite stationery item. He told me:

I hunted around my desk to see if anything there sparked a particular affection. I eyed my blue Paper Mate® ball points, which I certainly appreciate, as I do my Avery® Jam-Free Laser Address Labels – they fulfil their assigned functions perfectly, though they don’t exactly set my pulse racing or bring a lump to my throat.

Then he saw his trusty old stapler. This is an item I myself have always taken fore-granted but Alex proudly proclaims that this is his favourite stationery item. You can see the full interview here.

Alex Woolf

To find out more about Alex Woolf and his books take a look at his website: www.alexwoolf.co.uk or follow him on Twitter: @RealAlexWoolf

You can also follow Alex on the innovative Fiction Express website.