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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.

Posted by Dexter Smith

March 23rd 2014

When I read your first novel, it was shortly after I got suspended at school for yelling at my gym teacher. For the first time in my entire life, I felt like I had someone to related to in Kestrel. I had felt alone for a long time, my friends were simply bullies and my adopted parents are two of the most atrocious people I've ever encountered, yet when I read your novel, I felt like there was a place for me in the world somehow. I've become a writer myself now, it is my favorite hobby and I believe my first true inspiration for the written word came from your books. I've read reviews of the books and people have criticized your writing style, saying there is not enough descriptions of characters and all that stuff- I say that is nonsense. Your writing style allowed me to use my own imagination and paint my own pictures, it was merely different from the norm and I appreciated that about it the most. It was the only book series that I finished twice and the first to ever make me cry. It will also be the first I have read 3 times through, once I start again. Never before had I looked through a chapters in an attempt to find work from a writer who had inspired me to the extent that you had. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing the Wind on Fire series, it was one of the biggest highlights of my childhood by a large margin. I will probably write to you again in the future once I have read them again. Take care.

William Nicholson responded:

You make me very happy. This is why I'm a writer, and why you're a writer - because we can share experiences, however different our lives may be, and know we're not alone. Strange, isn't it, that even though I write about a made-up world, it connects with you in a more direct way than if you and I had been linked by social media, Facebook or whatever. We still need good old-fashioned books.

Posted by Paul Sheppard

March 21st 2014

I want to assure you that Mr de Grunwald has not been posting under a string of assumed names and is not a figment of your imagination. In your reply to him you mentioned AMHERST. I'm interested to know if the book is another in the Edenfield series? I will be attending Charleston, on 26 May, for RECKLESS, and may bring my (hardback) copy of MOTHERLAND which I loved best. That is if it is acceptable to approach and ask you to sign it. This is a serious question because I really don't know. After all, you will be otherwise occupied, and Charleston is not a "signing" event.

William Nicholson responded:

AMHERST is the latest in the Edenfield series, in that it follows the experiences of Alice Dickinson, who we first met at the age of 11 in SECRET INTENSITY. Now attempting to write a screenplay (her step-father is a screenwriter) she travels to Amherst, Mass, to research the adulterous love story of 19th century poet Emily Dickinson's brother Austin. While there she gets embroiled in an affair of her own. The novel tells both stories, the 19th century affair, and the modern one. So I'm staying with my Edenfield frame, but allowing the edges to bulge even more. Great that you're coming to Charleston for my event on May 26 - it is indeed a signing event. I'll be at the table in the book tent happy to sign whatever anyone brings me (though in my Wind Singer days a girl once asked me to sign her stomach, and I demurred).

Posted by Francisco Vidal

March 19th 2014

How it was working on Unbroken?

William Nicholson responded:

I loved it. A brilliant book. Tricky to condense into a movie, of course. I'm sure other writers have been brought in since my work to bring it to the stage where the director's satisfied. I look forward to the finished movie.