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Q&A with Malachy Doyle, author of Pete and the Five-a-Side Vampires

 

Welcome to the third of our weekly series of chats with the brilliant authors of our Dragonfly series of books for younger readers. 

This week we have the talented and prolific Malachy Doyle joining us, author of the funny and scary Pete and the Five-a-Side Vampires, illustrated by his daughter Hannah Doyle, which was selected as a Summer Reading Challenge title in 2016.

Malachy's new book Fug and the Thumps, an adventure story for 8-11s perfect for reluctant readers, will be publishing with Firefly Press in February 2018. 

 

Where did you get the idea for Pete and the Five-a-Side Vampires?
When I go round schools I often ask the children, 'What would you like me to write a book about?' 'Football!' says a boy (usually). 'Vampires!' says someone else. So that's what I wrote. And I set it in Llanidloes, where my two daughters were living, because they used to have a fab fancy dress night there once a year, when everyone in town dressed-up. It was crazy!
 
The illustrator of Pete and the Five-a-Side Vampires is your daughter, do you have any plans to collaborate again?
Yes, it was lovely to work with Hannah. She's illustrating some Welsh language books at the moment, but we're doing a picture book together and I'm really excited about it. Watch this space! 
 
You have just become a board member of Firefly Press and have been very involved in promoting writing and publishing from Wales, can you tell us a bit about that.
Though I now live back in Ireland (on a tiny island), I spent 25 years in Wales. It's where I became a writer, and everyone was very kind to me, so I like to support Welsh writing as much as I can. And my children and grandchildren all live there, so I'm back a lot!
 
Which books by other children's authors do you admire?
So many favourites! David Almond. Geraldine McCaughrean. Morris Gleitzman. Tove Jansson. Sonya Hartnett. Robert Westall. Alan Garner. Siobhan Dowd. Patrick Ness. Katherine Paterson... Ooh, I LOVE books! 
 
You have a new book coming out with Firefly Press next year, Fug and the Thumps, what is that about? 
I love getting out on open water in my kayak. Writers are always thinking 'What if?' Fug and the Thumps is about all the things that could go wrong when you're kayaking. And it's about school bullies. Writers have long memories. They get their revenge on people by putting them in a book! 
 
All Dragonfly books are half price on the Firefly Press website to celebrate Thimble Monkey Superstar by Jon Blake, illustrated by Martin Chatterton, being shortlisted for the Lollies Award 2017 - limited offer only. Click here for more information.