Cornelia Funke was a staple of our childhood reading (hello, ‘Inkheart’!) and basically made us dream about characters from our books coming to life until we were, well, we’re still dreaming about that…
We were lucky enough to get the chance to ask Cornelia a few questions.
When did you realise you wanted to write? At the advanced age of 27, when I was so bored by the stories publishers send me to illustrate that one night I sat down to write a story, which featured everything I wanted to draw…sea serpents, sandmen and….of course…dragons. It took me four more books though and quite a few years until I realized that I am actually more passionate about the writing than about the illustrating. By now that changed again and I am equally passionate about pen and brush.
What’s the hardest thing about being an author? Promotion. I love events with readers or to go to a bookstore. I enjoy interviews like this, but I need to have time to write and paint in between, so I never go on long author tours and I don’t like to think about my stories and images as something I need to sell. I sometimes wish I could write books that don’t have my name on it and are just…the stories.
If you could spend the day with one of your characters, who would it be? The dragon, always the dragon, if possible several of them. And then the small creatures: the glassmen, the homunculus….If I had to choose which character I would like to be, it would of course be Fox.
Is there a book that has changed you? What is it? Two books changed me – or maybe they just showed that I had changed – ‘The Thief Lord’ and ‘Reckless’. Both books challenged me as a writer, made me try something new to find the right voice for the story. Both books took more than ten drafts and were first either disliked by my editors or by my readers. They made me grow as an artist and work on a story that I was not sure anyone wanted to read.
If you weren’t an author, what would you have liked to do? At 11 I yearned to be an astronaut. I was quite serious about it, until I learned I need to join the military for it. I was never good at obeying orders, so I abandoned that wish. I am quite glad I did, as they so far didn’t come up with the kind of spaceships I intended to fly. I also have a great passion for non humans, both plants and animals, so in another life I would like to work for their protection. I try a bit of it even in this one.
What are you reading at the moment? Many many books, as always. I am a book eater. So I read Japanese Fairy Tales for the next Reckless-Book, Maori and Alaskan myth for the next sequel of Dragonrider. I have ‘The Little Red Chairs’, ‘The Orpheus Clock’, ‘To the End of the Land’ and ‘Barkskins’ on my reading table, ‘The Botany of Desire’, Owls aren’t wise, Bats aren’t blind……I could go on like this…too many books that are tempting.
Finally, because we want to know where the magic happens, send us a snap of where you write!
We just died of jealousy. NBD.
‘Reckless: The Petrified Flesh’ and ‘The Living Shadows’ will publish on 29th September. Cornelia will be appearing at Waterstones Piccadilly on 31st October,
Tell us your favourite Cornelia Funke book at @maximumpopbooks
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