Sunday, 5 June 2016

Guest Post: Bookish Inspirations - Gabrielle Kent

I'd like to welcome Gabrielle Kent to the Outsider today! Gabrielle is the author of the fantastic middle grade Alfie Bloom series, published by Scholastic and available now. Over to Gabrielle now, to talk about her bookish inspirations.

Bookish Inspirations - Gabrielle Kent

To list all of my fictional inspirations for the Alfie Bloom series would be a Herculean task. Growing up I immersed myself in books. I went on adventures with the Famous Five, ventured to a world beneath the floorboards with Arrietty Clock, and solved mysteries with the Three Investigators, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Every term I went to Malory Towers with Darrell Rivers, and Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches with Mildred Hubble. During school holidays I travelled to Narnia with the Pevensie siblings, followed Bilbo Baggin’s into Smaug’s lair, and snuck through the gates of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory behind Charlie Bucket.

I never stopped reading children’s books and no-one should. You are NEVER too old for an adventure! My favourites are mysteries and adventure stories, but I love magical realism most of all. Those books filled me with ideas and excitement as a child, and still do. I love to imagine that not all is as it seems, that all we have to do is open a mysterious letter, or climb through a wardrobe and our lives will change forever.

I love authors who know that just because someone is an adult, it doesn’t mean they’re a sensible grown up. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s books feel as though they are for adults who never gave up testing wooden panels for secret passages, and who are still looking out for doors into magical worlds that they just KNOW border on our own.

I was thirty years old when I first read Harry Potter and immediately wished I could go back in time to give the book to my 10 year old self. It was the kind of book I had always wanted to write. When I saw how much children still loved this sort of story, it inspired me to finally share a magical adventure that had been trapped in my head since visiting Castell Coch in Wales. That’s when I fstarted to write about Alfie Bloom, the boy who inherited a castle.

As I was writing I channelled my love of magic, mystery and adventure into my work. I wanted to capture so many things that the books I love had shown me; the thrill of a life changing event, magic within our own world, solving mysteries, delicious feasts, going on adventures with friends and family, and the exaltation of defeating a terrifying foe against all odds.
Without realizing it, every book I ever read had become and important part of my author’s toolkit. The writers I love expanded my mind as well as my vocabulary and taught me that there really is magic everywhere. With all of their voices inside my head, like my very own Obi Wan, I work hard to create worlds and characters that might just be able to instill the same sense of wonder in children (and very big children) who know in their hearts that magic is all around us.

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