Did you always want to be an author?

I never wanted to be called an Arthur so I’m glad my parents called me a John instead.

How did you come up with the idea for Moon People?
The Greek writer, Lucian, who was born about AD 120, wrote a Veracious History, telling of imaginary travels which took him as far as the moon itself. He gave a short description of the moon’s inhabitants as he imagined them.  Lucian’s description made fireworks go off in my own head and I started to create my own surreal descriptions.

Where do you get your ideas from?
Inside vacuum cleaners, under carpets, round corners and in between toes. Ideas are everywhere but they are nowhere at the same time.

How long did it take you to write Moon People?
About 175km.

Will Moon People ever be turned into a TV series or film?
I am sat by the phone.

What are you working on now?
I am writing a shopping list at the moment. It’s a novel experience for me because I never normally make one.

When do you write?
I like to write in the cold light of day. I also write in the heat of the moment and when the going gets tough. I sometimes write when I am wrong.

How many books have you written?
I have written 8 books for teachers. These tend to be stuff to do with maths, science and literacy and include words like ‘challenge’, ‘aaagghhh’ and ‘rhombicosidodecahedron’; sometimes in the same sentence. If you are interested then take a look inside www.johndabell.co.uk

What is your favourite book?
I’ve got a few favourites. My top ten are:

Without Warning by Oliver Sudden

Car Trouble by M.T. Tank

Stop Arguing by Xavier Breath

Danger! by Luke Out

I Didn’t Do It! by Ivan Alibi

Artificial Clothing by Polly Ester

Hide and Seek by I.C. You

French Windows by Pattie O’Dors

Exploring Haunted Houses by Hugo First

Split Personalities by Jacqueline Hyde

What types of things did you read as a child?
Signs mostly, especially ones that said ‘Private’, ‘No entry’, ‘No diving’, ‘Keep off the grass’, ‘Do Not Touch’ and ‘Do Not Disturb’. The one’s that most interested me all had the same letters and they said ‘Danger’. Some were in capitals. Some were in capital cities too.

You were a teacher for a long time. Why did you leave teaching?
There were a lot of chickens in the playground and I got tired of hearing foul language.

What advice would you give to young writers?
Squeeze your pen extra hard and your ideas will come out better.

If you could travel back in time who would you want to meet?
Myself travelling forwards. We could stare at each other for a bit then ask for directions.

Can you draw? If so, what do you like to draw?
Yes, I’m really good at drawing the short straw and drawing attention to myself. I like drawing the curtains at night but I’m not very good at drawing battle lines.

Tell us a joke.
How many surrealists does it take to change a lightbulb?

September.

 

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