The story came about when I sat at home one afternoon thinking about life as a kid. I was never cool or popular and was bullied – often. I had no confidence so rarely stuck up for myself, even when I knew others were wrong. That became the very loose premise for the story.
What books did you read as a child?
I used to really enjoy reading fairy tales. I had a massive book full of make-believe worlds and characters. I couldn’t tell you who the authors were but I did enjoy them a lot.
Do you think about the books you liked as a child when you are writing now?
Interestingly, I don’t. I think I connect more with the books I enjoyed as a teenager and now as an adult, probably because story time was not a big thing in our house when we were growing up. I loved imagining as a child though and conjured up wonderful worlds to help me sleep. As a teenager, I read A.A. Milne, Kenneth Grahame and Caroline Keene. As an adult, I have a list of favourite authors. These are the books I think about most when I write.
Wayne Harris has created some fabulous illustrations to accompany your words. Are his illustrations similar to what you pictured your characters looking like when you wrote the book?
In all honesty I had no idea what I thought my characters would look like. I was waiting for the illustrator to bring them to life. I guess the only character I really had an idea about was the Wooble and even then it was a vague one. I knew I wanted it to be a big, hairy animal with a wise and friendly face, but that was about all. Wayne absolutely perfected the Wooble and all the other characters. Donfinkle and Doggle are more adorable than I could possibly have ever imagined them.
What do you think children will take away from A House for Donfinkle?
A fun, unique and incredible reading experience that will bring them back for more. But if they also take away the slightest notion that what they think is valuable, and that friendship can still be forged even with those who start out as antagonists, then that would be a wonderful and sublime bonus.