Wombat Books chats with Janet Reid about her debut early reader, Trouble For Toby.
1. What’s one thing hardly anyone knows about you and the Wombat Family should?
I hold a licence to ride a motorbike. When I was in my teens, I rode a motorbike around my parents' farm, and even had a spill or two. Then, when I went to college, I got around on a step-through scooter. It cost me about twenty cents to fill up back then.
2. Toby has a fantastic imagination – from outer space to the circus. Do you often find yourself in your head like Toby?
Yes, I do, especially now I write for young people. But back when I was a school girl, my sister and I would make up stories and play them out. I remember one incident when we were playing in the old pigsties – I was the big bad wolf and she was the little pig. The story didn't end well and involved a bit of blood. I think I was a bit like Toby that day – I did something impulsive and ended up hurting someone. And, like Toby, I felt really bad about it.
3. Toby gets into trouble a lot. Have you ever taught any Toby-like students? Or were you a troublesome student in school?
Yes, I have taught kids like Toby. They were generally lots of fun to have in class. Toby's character is actually based on a kid a taught not so long ago. He was a terrific student and I rarely had a problem with his behaviour in the classroom, but he was always getting into trouble in the playground because of his impulsiveness. The spider incident in Trouble for Toby was what sparked the idea for this book.
And no, I wasn't particularly troublesome at school, though I did have my moments. I didn't, and still don't like getting into trouble. My sister, though, was trouble from the start, so maybe some of my ideas come from the mischief she got up to as a kid.
4. If you could be any fictional character, who would it be?
Hmmm … maybe Merida from the movie Brave, and not just for her gorgeous wild red hair. She fought against the conventions for the day, and yeah, she did land herself in trouble along the way, but she learned a lot from her mistakes. I like seeing characters, especially female characters, who push the boundaries of their world and make a difference.
5. Sum up Trouble for Toby in 3 words.
Impulsive, imaginative, courageous.
Janet Reid is a CYA success story. For more information, visit here.