Congratulations on the publication of your book Jinxed! The Curious Curse of Cora Bell. What was it that inspired you to write this tale filled with magic, necromancers, shape-shifters, enchantresses, fairies, nightwalkers, witches and giants?
Thank you! I have always gravitated towards stories that are filled with a good dollop of magic, pretty much ever since reading Harry Potter in primary school. I find magical worlds really interesting because the possibilities are practically endless. I was watching a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at one stage and really wanted my next book to be something that was both funny and serious, and with a strong female character – and so The Curious Curse of Cora Bell was born!
What would you like young readers to know about the character of Cora?
Although Cora is missing one eye and has no memory of her life before she lived in Urt, she is just like every other girl – a little unsure sometimes, a little clumsy, a little wary of the world. Then she is thrown headfirst into a magical realm where she is still a little unsure and a little clumsy, but discovers – with help from two hilarious and hairy fairies – that she is strong in friendship, love, and courage.
You work as a children’s book editor – tell us what a day in the life of children’s book publishing looks like.
Lots and lots of emails! And questions. ‘Does this work here?’ ‘Can this part be funnier?’ ‘What about blue?’ ‘Perhaps no tambourines is best?’ ‘What do I have for lunch?’
I love being an editor. The opportunity to help creators bring their stories to life is incredibly rewarding. And working on children’s books is exactly how you can imagine it to be – lots of fun!
How do you keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to what interests young readers?
Being a kid at heart definitely helps! Usually what young readers find cool, I also find cool (I was well into the fidget spinner craze at one point). And a constant sense of adventure and imagination also never goes astray.
Can you share with us some of the stories you read as a child that made an impact on you?
Definitely the Harry Potter series. Also, the Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda, the Tashi series, the Series of Unfortunate Events, the Goosebumps books, Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, and the Wind on Fire trilogy by William Nicholson, but I’m sure there’s more.
Rebecca McRitchie would love to tell you that she was raised by wolves in the depths of a snow-laden forest until she stumbled upon and saved a village from the fiery peril of a disgruntled dragon. But, truthfully, she works as a children’s editor and lives in Sydney. Whimsy and Woe and the sequel, Whimsy and Woe: The Final Act, were her first fiction titles.