First Time Is the Charm

Monday, September 18, 2006

What is Endymion Spring? A person? A place? A thing? All of the above? (And how the heck do you pronounce it? More about that later.)

We don't want to give away too much, but "Endymion Spring" is a new novel about the power and magic of books. That's an idea that Cornelia Funke has written about in her popular books "Inkheart" and "Inkspell." Fans of those two are sure to enjoy this book by first-time author Matthew Skelton, who lives in Oxford, England, where part of his book is set.

"Endymion Spring" is really a story about the friendship between two boys separated by 500 years who pursue a quest through time to save something precious to each of them. KidsPost's Tracy Grant spoke to Skelton about his love of books, his inspiration for "Endymion Spring" and, yes, how to pronounce it.

What made you want to write this book?

"I was working on my PhD [an advanced university degree] and didn't want to read adult books. I wanted to read children's books. I had a dream about a boy in a library being pursued by a sinister figure, and I wanted to see who the boy was. . . . I actually wrote the book in two stages. I started off with Blake, a boy very much like me, and just wrote his story. In Blake, I relived a lot of my own insecurities. I care about him almost like a father now. Then a friend read the story and asked who Endymion Spring was. It was just a name, a whisper at that point. But that's how both boys came together. His story spoke back to Blake and put magical ingredients in the book."

This book is about the magic of books. What books were magical for you as a child?

"Susan Cooper's 'The Dark Is Rising' [series]. It had the J.K. Rowling effect on me, but years earlier. It utterly transformed me."

What is your writing day like?

"My best ideas come when I'm walking outside in the natural world. My imagination is like a dog: I let it run around; I throw it sticks, and it brings them back to me. Then I run back and write down what I've got. . . . I can spend hours and hours and hours and produce less than 500 words. I'm always so envious when I hear about writers who can force themselves to write. I worry over every single sentence."

What advice do you have for young writers?

"Just try. For many, many years, I was so scared that I would fail. Try and see what happens. Have fun with it. Don't worry about it nearly as much as I do. Love words, be creative with words. Read as much as you can; see how books are written. You'll know if [writing is] what you want to do. Something inside you will speak, and you'll have to do it."

How do you pronounce the name of your book?

He chuckles. "It's en-DIM-ee-on. But I've done interviews where the reporter spends the whole time stumbling over the pronunciation. Sometimes I'll say it's end-a-MY-on just to confuse them!"

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