Robert Paul Weston is the British-born Canadian author of Zorgamazoo, Dust City, and Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff, along with recent release (just this past Tuesday!) The Creature Department. He currently lives in London, England, and you can follow him on twitter or find him on Goodreads.
Have any experiences in your everyday life prepared you for the job of making up marvelous monsters? Which ones?
I live in London, England, on the east side of the city, where there is a large amount of street art. In my neighbourhood, a simple walk to the library takes you past capering creatures of all shapes and sizes. They are painted on the walls of tall buildings as well as hidden in the shadowy crags of back alleyways. I discover new ones nearly everyday and, if you are in the right frame of mind, they are always inspiring. I often take photographs of them and post them on my website. You can see some of them here: http://robertpaulweston.com/blog/london-street-art/
Did you have to do any specific research on monsters/creatures? What was your most interesting and/or disgusting discovery?
Of course I research! It's a writer's lifeblood, no matter what you're writing. Perhaps my favourite find is a rare creature called the Gillygalloo. Details about its appearance are sketchy and vary somewhat, but I've come to understand it's a part-fish, part-bird creature that lays valuable square-shaped eggs. Also interesting is the fact that it originates in North Eastern American and Quebecois lumberjack mythology.
What are your favorite young adult or middle grade speculative fiction titles (aside from your own)?
Skellig by David Almond
Momo by Michael Ende
Young Adult Novel by Daniel Pinkwater
What I Was by Meg Rosoff
House of Stairs by William Sleator
Do you have any hidden (or not so hidden) superpowers?
I can speak to inanimate objects. They are excellent listeners.
What are you reading right now?
On Familiar Terms by Donald Keene
Thanks so much for answering those questions, Robert! Skellig has been on my to-read list for ages, but now I know I’ve got to get to it sooner rather than later.
Think you might like to read The Creature Department? Enter the giveaway! Two (2) entrants will win finished copies of the book. To enter, simply fill out the FORM. Earn up to two (2) extra entries by commenting on this interview post and/or my review post. Giveaway open internationally, will end at 11:59pm EST on November 22, 2013. Winners will be selected at random and notified via email. Good luck!
It’s a tentacled, inventive, gooey, world in there...Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory.Beneath the glass towers and glittering skywalks, there's a rambling old mansion from which all the company’s amazing inventions spring forth. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall.Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken teeth. Tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly. And huge, hulking, hairy nonhumans (with horns). It is unlike anything they’ve ever seen.But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000 factory if a new product isn’t presented soon, the creatures know they are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it’s up to Elliot, Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, “employees” to create an invention so astonishing it will save the Creature Department.
Fine print: I am providing/mailing the giveaway prizes (or ordering them from The Book Depository), and did not receive any compensation for this post.