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Posted by Marsha Barnosky

April 24th 2014

Dear Mr. Nicholson I hope this email finds you well. I had to chuckle about your twitter dilemma; I've used other social media but still struggle with Twitter myself. I am writing a book on grief and loss and hope to use a quote attributed to Joy Gresham in the movie Shadowlands:" We can't have the happiness of yesterday without the pain of today. That's the deal." I have researched who to go to for permissions for movie quotes and it's unclaer who to ask. I know you authored the movie and the play, but the few articles I've read on the subject seem to indicate that many entities may share a copyright. Can you direct me to whom I should write to request permission, if not to you? If it should be directed to you, is there a process to follow? Forgive me if this is not the place for this question, I keep hitting a wall on this. Thank you in advance for your response! Marsha

William Nicholson responded:

All versions are written by me, so I give you permission directly. The line you refer to is spoken twice in the play, first by Joy after her remission from cancer as: 'What I'm trying to say is the pain, then, is part of this happiness, now. That's the deal.' And at the end by Jack after Joy's death as: 'The pain, now, is part of the happiness, then. That's the deal.'

Posted by Maxine Wells

April 15th 2014

Dear William, I wondered if you could pass on a few words of wisdom. I have the fire in my belly, and the will to succeed in writing, but I struggle to find a storyline. Could you tell me from where you get your inspiration and ideas for a new book please? Best wishes, Max

William Nicholson responded:

It's hard for everyone, so don't be surprised it doesn't come easily. Sometimes you just have to wait. While you're waiting you can play around with story ideas and see if they grow in your mind. Stories don't usually appear fully formed, they start as seeds and put down roots and send out shoots and branches. If all this fails, look to real life. Take a story of something that's happened to yourself, or someone you know, or someone you've just read about. That can provide a frame. Then you hang all your own imaginative stuff on that frame.

Posted by Arianne Marie Cerilla

April 14th 2014

Hi, Mr. Nicholson. I love The Wind on Fire Series. I read it in 2010 when a classmate of mine lent it to me. Now, after four years, I bought my own copies and am starting it again. Are there any plans for a movie? This will truly make a great film.

William Nicholson responded:

No signs of anyone wanting to make a film at present, I'm afraid. But I'm delighted you like the books.

Posted by Rubens

April 14th 2014

Hi. I know I sent in a question a few days ago but I unfortunately I must send another. I was thinking of writing a story but cant get any original ideas.You, Suzanne Collins, Tolkien and Jeff Kinney have all inspired me but everytime I write I replicate there/your writing in different words. I have seen other posts saying you started writing The Wind Singer after getting annoyed about exams.So is there a secret trick or do I just base it of a problem I see in the world?

William Nicholson responded:

There's no secret trick. Don't worry if you find yourself influenced by other writers. Your own way of writing, and what you write about, will be your own thing; and anyway, it's a good way of learning the craft. It's true I was triggered by anger at exams, but anything will do as a trigger, so long as you feel it in your gut. For a book to have life, it has to come from somewhere in you that has life. You should get a real buzz out of the process of writing: that's the sign that it matters to you. And if it matters to you, maybe it'll matter to others.

Posted by Rubens

April 8th 2014

Hi, if your reading this know I would just love to know if you will ever make the Wind on Fire a movie. I am halfway through Firesong and I love them all. These books made me feel like I was special and I was hounered to read them. I could imagine it being an amazing film. -Rubens

William Nicholson responded:

I'd love to see a movie of the books too, but I'm not getting any real offers. Maybe one day...

Posted by Sarah

March 26th 2014

Dear Mr. Nicholson, I'm in my final year Cambridge studying English and Education and have chosen to write on the Wind Singer for my Children and Literature coursework. The Wind Singer (and Wind on Fire Trilogy) captivated me as a child and continues to do so as a final year undergraduate - thank you! I am particularly interested in the power of the voice in your first novel - particularly against the education system and other evils that your dystopia captures so vividly. What do you think about this aspect of the novel? There has been much critical work discussing the relationship between voice and power in children's fiction, but for the life of me I can't find anyone who writes about the Wind Singer. Are they mad?! Or am i just missing the point? Thanks

William Nicholson responded:

The aspect of the Wind Singer you focus on - the assault on exams - is what drove me to begin to write the book. I wanted to dramatise the absurdities of ranking people through examinations, so to that extent the story was conceived as a polemic. What then happened, inevitably, is that I got interested in the characters and their world, and it grew into something much more. I don't know how that relates to voice and power - I leave that to you. As for finding others who write about the Wind Singer, there was a Scandinavian, I seem to recall, whose PhD thesis revolved around the trilogy, but I can't remember a name. By the way, given the theme of the book I was very amused to find Longman brought out a teaching text edition, with questions for students to answer at the end of each chapter. But I don't think it's ever been a set book for an actual exam. That would be a sweet irony.