The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Katy Birchall

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Katy Birchall


Summary: Jim enjoyed The It Girl and he had quite a few questions for author Katy Birchall when she popped into Bookbag Towers.
Date: 6 May 2015
Interviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James

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Jim enjoyed The It Girl and he had quite a few questions for author Katy Birchall when she popped into Bookbag Towers.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Katy Birchall: A mass of extremely cool people of all ages, grouped together and storming The Octopus dance move

  • BB: Anna spends a fair amount of the novel in detention for accidentally setting someone's hair on fire. What was the worst thing you ever did at school, and did you get caught?

KB: I was very good at school and now, annoyingly, have no interesting stories to tell. I am really bad at any kind of confrontation so was always terrified of getting into trouble because I couldn’t bare anyone yelling at me! I just worked pretty hard and was lucky enough to be able to have an amazing group of friends. It still baffles me that they let me hang out with them – I think I wore a navy jumper with a yellow Labrador stitched on the front until I was about 17. That should have been unacceptable but they went with it.

  • BB: Which is your favourite speech from Lord of the Rings?

KB: My favourite speech has to be one of Sam’s in The Two Towers. It is so eloquent, with such a simple but important message about finding courage when you didn’t realise you had any and why that quality in an unlikely hero can make the best and most memorable story. It’s a beautiful passage:

Adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten.

  • BB: It has to be asked - what's your signature dance move?

KB: The Octopus. I’d love to see everyone’s take on it...get it on YouTube people and send me the link!

  • BB: Anna loves watching old films (sometimes, as in the case of Psycho, ill-advisedly!) So here's a fantasy casting question - if you could travel back in a time machine and pick any actors from any time period to play Anna, Marianne, Helena and Anna's dad, who would you pick?

KB: Obviously Natalie Portman in her Garden State days. You get to pick someone way prettier and cooler than you to play you, right? I mean, that’s kind of how this game works, right? If not, we may have a problem finding someone in Hollywood who could pull off my socially-inept qualities. – Anna

I don’t know, someone stylish and cool. Anna told me to say a teenage Katharine Hepburn but I don’t know who that is. Doesn’t she mean Audrey? – Marianne

Oh Darling, that is a tricky one. If I could pick anyone in the world to portray me on the screen, I would have to pick Ingrid Bergman. She was simply divine and I’ve always loved Sweden. – Helena

John Wayne. Definitely. What, Anna? What do you mean I have to be slightly realistic? That is perfectly realistic. No, I will not test this theory out by wearing a cowboy hat. You think I’m going to fall for that one? I can see the camera in your hand. Stop interrupting. So, yes, John Wayne. – Nicholas, Anna’s dad

  • BB: You've been described as 'mildly obsessed with Marvel comics'. If you could invite any six Marvel characters to your launch, who would you pick?

KB: I do love Marvel but I’m more obsessed with the films than the comic books. Going to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do, more so when there’s a new Marvel film out! I would have to pick Natasha Romanova so she could give me some spy tips, Iron Man for the comedy one-liners, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Jean Gray and, of course, The Hulk. Now THAT would be a launch.

  • BB: And on that note, if you could develop super-powers of your own, what would they be?

KB: I always wanted to be able to control things with my mind, just like in Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

  • BB: What was the last thing you Googled?

KB: The last thing I Googled was the BFI Imax to try and get tickets to Avengers: Age of Ultron on the day it came out. They were all sold out so I’m seeing it the day after it comes out in a cinema near where I live. I wish the last thing I had Googled was much more sophisticated than that, like a recipe or something.

  • BB: You read from The It Girl at a recent blogger event, along with fabulous Egmont Editorial Director Lindsey. But if you couldn't have a member of the Egmont staff with you, who would be your dream partner to read an extract?

KB: My dream partner to read an extract would OBVIOUSLY be a member of the Egmont team.

But if for some reason they all deserted me, and I’m allowed to pick someone fictional, I would have to go for Gandalf. I think Gandalf reading The It Girl would be quite something.

  • BB: What's next for Katy Birchall?

KB: I’m working on the second and third books for The It Girl, both to be released next year, while concentrating on my wonderful job as Deputy Features Editor at Country Life magazine, so it looks like a year of hard work and fun as Anna embarks on lots more adventures!

  • BB: Thanks for chatting to us Katy!

You can read more about Katy Birchall here.

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