Duncan Ball – Interview with CKT

Duncan Ball

What five words best describe you?

Friendly, curious, funny, hard-working, animal-lover

What is a typical writing day for you?

I’ve never had a typical writing day. On some days I write and on other days I work on writing-related things such as visiting schools or selling my books through my website. When I have a deadline for a book I spend all day every day writing.

Is there any part of the writing process you don’t like?

These days writers have to get themselves known so that people learn about their books. I’d rather just write the books.

Are you a plotter or a panster? (Plotter =Plotting out your manuscript before you write it. / Panster = Putting pen to paper and plotting as you go along)

I’m a bit of both. I make notes about the characters and about the plot but I don’t make them so detailed that I feel trapped. There are magic moments when you’re writing and the story and characters seem to take over and you need to have the freedom to let things take you somewhere you could never have imagined.

What prompted you to sit down and write your first story?

From when I was very little I loved stories. Then, for many years when I was studying or working at a job, I had visions of becoming a writer. Finally an idea popped into my head and I started writing. This was my first published book and it gave me the confidence to keep writing. I’ve now written seventy-five or eighty books.

Do you road test your ideas before you start your story?

No. It’s best to keep everything a secret till I’m sure I have something good to show. Talking about an idea can kill it.

What’s the funniest thing a child has ever said to you during a read aloud session?

I’ve been visiting school and talking to kids for over thirty years and, in that time, I’ve had kids say lots of hilarious things and others that left me scratching my head. One time I was telling some kids that my talking dog character, Selby, was a real talking dog who lives somewhere in Australia and he rings me up and tells me his stories and I just write them down. A girl said; “How do you know he’s a real dog and not just a person pretending to be a talking dog?”

Me: “Because he came to my house once, wearing his disguise, a dog suit. He didn’t want me to see what he looked like because he’s afraid people will find him and ruin his life forever.”

Girl: “How do you know it wasn’t a person in a dog suit?”

Me: “Because we went to a restaurant and when he reached for the soy sauce, the glove part of the suit separated from the sleeve and I could see a furry paw inside.”

Girl: “How do you know it wasn’t a person wearing two dog suits?”

Me: “?” (I confess that I had no answer. To this day I’ve been wondering about this.)

What’s next from Duncan Ball?

Recently the first three Selby books were published all in one book called Selby Celebrates.  Also another book called Two Tengu Tales from Japan  was published. These are Japanese folk tales that I re-told and which were beautifully illustrated by David Allen. But the next book of mine to be published will be a collection of funny plays for kids called, This School is Driving Me Nuts!  After these, I’m not sure what’s next. I do have a few ideas.

Duncan’s website: www.duncanball.com.au

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