Interview with Mark Lowery by Sophie Land age 11

Interview with Mark Lowery, author of Charlie and Me, by Sophie Land age 11

Sophie: I found Charlie and Me funny inspiring and sad – all at the same time – how did you manage to make it all these things?

Mark: Thank you! I’m glad you liked it. It was very strange – the story kind of wrote itself. When the idea popped into my head I pretty much knew everything about it. That’s never happened before, trust me! Really, I think that having Charlie as a character is what enabled that to happen – you don’t know whether to laugh with him or give him a cuddle because you feel sorry for him!

Sophie: Who is the ‘me’ in the title (Martin)? Is it ‘you’?

Mark: Hmmm. Great question. If I’d had a little brother, I’d like to think I could be as supportive, kind and understanding as Martin. I probably wouldn’t have been though I’m afraid!

Sophie: What inspired you to write a book like this?

Mark: Well, weirdly enough, I got the idea after eating a rather unpleasant curry! I was suffering with terrible bellyache and couldn’t sleep. At about 2am, this strange waking dream appeared in my brain – two boys standing at a harbour, watching a dolphin at sunset. Immediately I grabbed my phone and wrote the poem that appears at the start of the book, as well as a brief synopsis of the story. So, if you need inspiration, order a Lamb Jalfrezi!

Sophie: I like the descriptions of Cornwall- the white beaches and blue sea and that it was so calm you could almost hear the rays of the sun..I think the nice thing about books is that you can see places you – where else would you like to write about?

Mark: Yes – the South-West was where we used to go on holiday. I love it – in parts it’s rugged and wild and beautiful, and the way it sticks out gives it this unique separateness from the rest of the country. I like normal places, and finding the strange, funny or interesting stories within them. At the moment I’m writing a book about chip shops!

Sophie: What made you want to become a writer and how old were you when you first knew you wanted to write?

Mark: I’ve always wanted to write. It was the only thing that kept me quiet at school! I started taking it seriously when I became a teacher, and found myself constantly writing stories and plays for the children in my class.

Sophie: I really liked the surprise near the end – I won’t do a spoiler but how did you learn to become such a good writer?

Mark: Thank you! I don’t know about that but I always think that if you want to improve as a writer, you need to read A LOT. The great thing is that you can learn from the best – Louis Sachar, Phillip Pullman, Andy Mulligan, David Almond and millions of others – just by reading their books. And also you’ve got to write a lot as well: practice might not make perfect but it definitely helps you to think about your style and how to make things better.