5th February 2018
Charlie and Me is a heartwarming story of two brothers on a very special journey, recommended for ages 9+ and we were lucky enough to get our hands on some early copies. You can read all the reviews for Charlie and Me here and one lucky Toppsta reviewer, Ben (age 9), won the opportunity to interview the author, Mark Lowery. Read Ben's questions, and Mark's replies below.
1. When did you decide you wanted to be an author?
For as long as I can remember. I've always loved to write and it was the only thing that ever really captured my interest at school. Then, when I became a teacher, I found myself writing a lot of stories, poems and non-fiction texts for my class. I enjoyed it so much that I started to make serious moves towards doing it professionally.
2. Is Charlie and Me a true story?
No, but the most important elements of it are things that I think are really important in life - family, the wonder of nature, and that special moment when you see a beautiful animal in the wild. Also, I borrowed heavily from real-life events, like my family holidays to Cornwall from when I was younger, and that real adventurous feeling you get when you step on a train first thing in the morning and head off somewhere great.
3. The story made me laugh during it, and feel like crying at the end. Is that how you wanted the reader to feel?
In all honestly I try not to write with the reader in mind. I try and tell a story, and tell it as well as I can. Normally I try to write things that make me laugh, stuffing as many silly, gross, weird jokes as I can along the way. This book was different. It came into my mind almost completely formed. I had a sort-of half-awake dream one night when I couldn't sleep - a dolphin leaping into the air at sunset in a fishing village. I wrote a poem about it in my head. Then there were two boys watching from the harbour wall, and immediately I knew who they were and what they were doing. From there, the story told itself.
4. What kind of books did you read when you were 9?
Anything really but mainly funny ones or adventure stories - Roald Dahl, Willard Price, Famous Five etc.
5. I think Charlie and Me would make an awesome film. Do you think this may happen one day?
I would love that to happen very much!!!!
6. If it were made into a film, who would you like to play Charlie and Martin?
Justin Bieber and Donald Trump. No - I'm joking! Tough question. I think it all comes down to chemistry - they'd need to be two boys who really understood the relationship between the brothers and could capture that on-screen.
7. How many books have you written?
So far seven, but I have two more coming out this year and hopefully another one in 2019! [Click here to see children's books by Mark Lowery]
8. There were clues throughout the story about the ending, but it still surprised me. Is that what you intended?
Yes - I think so. When I knew who the boys were, and why they were travelling to St Bernard's (btw St Bernard's isn't a real place; St Bernard is the patron saint of dolphins and whales), I also got a sense of how I could build up to the ending throughout.
9. What type of book did you mean for it to be. Funny, Sad?
Like I say, I think the most important thing for me was to do the story justice and make it as good as it could be. I think it needed to be a bit of both.
10. What is your next book going to be about?
Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home
'Funny, tender, sad and huge of heart' Phil EarleThirteen-year-old Martin and his younger brother Charlie are on a very special journey. They're going to be travelling 421 miles all the way from Preston to the very tip of Cornwall. They're hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphin that regularly visits the harbour there. But is that the only reason they are going? It's a journey that's full of challenges and surprises. Martin adores his brother Charlie but he's not like ordinary kids. He's one in a million. He was born far too early, and ought to have died. And cheeky, irrepressible, utterly unique Charlie is always keeping Martin on his toes - especially on this crazy trip they are now on. Martin is doing his best to be a good big brother, but it's hard when there's something so huge coming once they get to Cornwall ...Read More Reviews