Julia Golding is a multi-award winning writer for children and young adults. She has published over thirty books in genres ranging from historical adventure to fantasy, including the Mel Foster, Young Knights and Cat Royal series.
Here, she shares some secrets about her earliest ever adventures in writing, and her advice for would-be writers of all ages, before giving a marvelously monstrous writing dare. Read on for our interview…
What’s the earliest story you remember writing?
I’m not sure of the very first story but I do have my first book, written when I was about ten. It was called The Tapestry Room, illustrated by the author with a table of contents and maps. It tells the story of a girl who goes to stay in an old house where there is a tapestry that changes to show different pictures. Then the magic begins and she discovers it is a doorway to the worlds shown.
What’s your best advice for young would-be writers?
If you look at that story above you’ll see that it’s very close to some of the stories I was reading or watching at the time (Narnia, fairytales, even a TV science fiction programme called Blake’s 7), but that’s how I learnt the craft of writing. Don’t worry if your own stories are fan fiction or close in theme to your favourite authors – writing what you like is a good training ground before you set off on your own adventure.
Where did you get the idea for the Mel Foster series?
Most books start from a ‘what if?’ Mel Foster came from a ‘what if all the literary characters of the nineteenth century were as real as the historical people?’ That meant you would have Dracula rubbing shoulders with Darwin, Queen Victoria and Mowgli. I found that idea delicious and comic so decided to make it into a story about Mel Foster and his extraordinary bunch of monster friends. As the story grew, I discovered a lovely friendship developing between Mel and Eve Frankenstein and they are the heart of the story – as well as the brains when it comes to solving mysteries!
What can we expect from your upcoming event at Bath Children’s Literature Festival?
I’m sharing the stage with Katherine Woodfine as we have both contributed to a volume of short stories, all with a detective theme but set in many different countries and historical periods. In light of that, you can expect some sleuthing. Come with your Sherlock Holmes’ thinking caps and Hercule Poirot ‘little grey cells’ to join in the quiz. Pick up tips how to write your own detective stories.
Dare to Write: Mel Foster brings to life some famous monsters and turns them into Victorian superheros battling a dastardly demon butler who has taken over Queen Victoria. Imagine you’ve cast a spell and brought to life any monster you’ve met in your reading, hero or villain, and imagine them coming into your school, or favourite football team, or even taking over the country! For example, what would Smaug from The Hobbit be like as the mascot for Manchester United? Would Darth Vader make a good PE teacher? What would Cruella De Vil be like as Prime Minister – and how would you undo what you’ve done? Pick a monster and imagine!
You can see Julia Golding and Katherine Woodfine talk about mystery, mayhem and adventure in next week’s Mystery Girls event at Bath Children’s Literature Festival. Or for more from Julia, check out her website.