I adore Hilary McKay's books. I re-read them again and again and recommend them regularly. When I recommend her, though, I'm always at a loss when my patrons ask me to name a few readalikes. I can never think of any, because Hilary McKay writes like... Hilary McKay. All I can tell them is this: Her books are special. If you don't read her, you're missing out.
I've read three separate interviews with Hilary McKay in which she was asked if the Casson stories was based on her own childhood. (She's the oldest of four girls.) They weren't. They're imaginary. And before you ask, same goes for the Conroy sisters.
So I didn't ask about that. But, as I'm out of new Hilary McKay books to read (until Forever Rose is released in the States -- get ready to moan and groan -- in Spring '08!), it occurred to me that the next best thing would be to read some of Hilary McKay's favorites:
I came across this quote about your childhood reading online somewhere: “I anaesthetised myself against the big bad world with large doses of literature. The local library was as familiar to me as my own home.” What books were your favorites as a child?
Childhood: All the classics, L M Montgomery (loved Emily of New Moon). Ursula Le Guin, Tolkien, Joan Aiken, Rosemary Sutcliff, Elizabeth Goudge, Eleanor Estes, Nesbit, Kipling, Blyton, Arthur Ransome, John Masefield, all of those plus many more. As much Natural History as I could get my hands on. And I find it hard to say which books were childhood books, and which teen.
I remember giving my mother a Christmas list of books when I was eleven: Lord of the Rings, Ring of Bright Water (Gavin Maxwell), To Kill a Mockingbird, Brave New World and something else I can’t recall. She bought me them all and wrapped them up in one fat wonderful parcel.
Are there any that you still go back to as an adult?
I go back to them all.
I’ll try not to burst into tears as I ask this, but: I’ve heard that Forever Rose (due out Spring '08 in the States) will be the last of the Casson books. True? If so, what’s next? (Actually, heck. If not, what’s next?)
Yes, yes! Hurray! Hang out flags, light rockets, open a bottle of something that fizzes, it IS the last (and by far the best, to make up for Caddy Ever After- by far the worst).
In explanation as to why I am stopping:
- I am a great believer in: Stop While You Are Ahead
- (First rule of child rearing): If you love them let them go.
At present I am writing a slow and loving sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess.
Book(s) currently reading:
Music in current rotation:
Litter. Big cars.
Happily I am at present obsession free.
Bread and honey, unplugging the phone.
Favorite piece of trivia:
I leave that to Rose. She recites trivia all through Forever Rose.
Airports (actually that might be an irrational hate). Low ceilings especially in lifts.
Serendipity- never used it in my life.
Today's other SBBT interviews are as follows:
Mitali Perkins at Hip Writer Mama
Svetlana Chmakova at Finding Wonderland
Dana Reinhardt at Interactive Reader
Laura Ruby at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Holly Black at Shaken & Stirred
Kirsten Miller at Miss Erin
Julie Ann Peters at A Fuse #8 Production
Carolyn Mackler at The YA YA YAs
Jordan Sonnenblick at Writing and Ruminating