Liz Kessler

What books did you read when you were a child?
I read all sorts of books, but the ones that really caught my attention were either the ones with a bunch of children having adventures (I was a Secret Seven girl all the way) or the ones with a magical twist (Blyton again, but The Wishing Chair was a big favourite!).

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Can I choose my own character? If so, I would have to be Emily Windsnap, as I would get to transform into a mermaid and could explore all the secret and mysterious nooks and crannies of the ocean.

What is the best thing about reading?
For me, the best thing about reading is the feeling of being totally absorbed in a story. You become part of the world of the book and nothing else gets a look-in. I LOVE that feeling.

What is your all time favourite book?
I find this question SO hard as there are so many books I love. For its clever, clever plot and a storyline I wish I’d written, I’d say The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. For its utter beauty and the inspiration of its mere existence, it has to be The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. And for children’s books, I’d have to say The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster as I think that is still one of the best children’s books of all time.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Gosh. I’m not remotely an expert on this. My gut feeling would be to say talk to them, engage with them as much as possible. But there are many others out there who are far better qualified than I am to answer this one!

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
To be honest, I don’t really remember being hugely encouraged or discouraged by my parents as a child! However, I still have a copy of my poem Jinx’s Shopwhich appeared in the Manchester Evening News in 1976 and one of them must have sent it in, so I guess they must have encouraged me!

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I am always wary of recommending particular books for children to read. I think that one of the most important things to encourage a love of books and of reading in children is to find the books that appeal to that particular child. So my strongest advice would probably be to focus on books that make your child laugh, smile, engage and be inspired. If they get this early experience of books, chances are it will help to develop a life-long love of reading.

Liz Kessler has written over twenty books for children and young adults. Her Emily Windsnap books, about a girl who is part-mermaid, have been translated into twenty-five languages, appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list, and are currently in active development with a Hollywood producer.

Liz lives by the coast in Cornwall where much of her life revolves around the sea. When she is not staring out at the ocean to get inspiration for her books, she is likely to be found out on her body board, in her boat, rowing with the local Gig Club or swimming across the bay.

Her latest book, Emily Windsnap and the Pirate Prince, is the eighth adventure for her mermaid girl.

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