Sylvie, aged 8 left a wonderful review of the book:
"Ben Miller is my favourite author and I have been so wanting to read this title. It didn’t disappoint. I read it very quickly because I did not want to put it down... I learnt from this book and it encouraged me that if you try hard you can do lots of things you think you can’t.
I loved that this book had mystery, magic and adventure all in one and I would definitely recommend this and Ben Miller’s other books to my friends."
We gave Sylvie the chance to interview Ben about the book - read on for their fantastic Q&A. You can also read the first chapter of the book here.
1. Why did you feel inspired to write stories for children?
I loved reading when I was little! When I had children of my own, I thought I’d try writing some stories for them. My first story, The Night I Met Father Christmas was written for my kids, I never really meant for it to be published. Of course I’m very happy it was!
2. Who is ‘Diary of a Christmas elf’ based on? As I know that you have based 3 of your stories on family members.
Hmm. I suppose Tog, the main character, is based a little bit on me growing up.
3. Where did you get your ideas for the settings from in ‘How I became a dog called a Midnight?’
There’s a house called Bernithan Court in Herefordshire that I visited once, that has a magical lake; a famous carp called Clarissa was caught there, and all the vegetables in the garden grow to giant size. That’s the house that inspired the one in the story.
4. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing stories?
Lots of things! I play guitar and sing quite badly. I also like baking cakes, and eating them.
5. Which book character did you like creating most of all?
I really love Clive, the magician, right down to his shiny waistcoat. I love the way his tricks go wrong. Clarence, his stage assistant, was a close second.
6. Do Midnight and your own dog, Jet have anything in common and how do they differ?
They are so similar! Jet is really big, so big that she could be a human dressed up in a suit. So that made me wonder what it would be like to be a dog...
7. How do you promote your books other than on Toppsta?
One of my favourite ways is to visit schools and bookshops, because that way I get to meet my readers. You are my favourite people! I love hearing about the books you like, and about your own ideas for stories.
8. Where do you write your books?
In a shed on the edge of a wood. It’s always really cold in there, because of the trees, so I have to wrap up warm.
9. I love the illustrations in your book. Was it tricky to find the right illustrator to match your writing?
Thank you! Yes, it took a long time to find Daniela. I love how lifelike her drawings are, and how full of life the characters appear. You feel like you could step through the frame of the drawing and meet them!
10. When you write your stories do you ever wish you are inside of them?
When I’m writing them, I really do feel like I’m in them. I dream about them. A lot. I would love to change into a dog, like George does, I think it would be really fun. Apart from the bum-sniffing.
How I Became a Dog Called Midnight by Ben Miller is out now in paperback