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Elizabeth Wein – Q&A

When Elizabeth came to launch the longlist, on Thursday 7th November at Chryston Cultural Centre, the pupils had lots of questions to ask. Unfortunately we ran out of time, however Elizabeth has very kindly emailed the answers to some of the unanswered questions.

 Do you prefer books or films?

That’s like asking do I prefer ice cream or chocolate – both! Sometimes I feel like watching a film and sometimes I feel like reading a book. However, I don’t always like books that are made into films or films that are made into books. I’ve found that whichever comes first is usually better than the adaptation.

Kindle or printed book?

Definitely printed book. I have a Kindle and I use it a lot, and I’ve just finished writing an essay on Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy which would have been impossible without the Kindle’s search function. But after a couple of years of using the Kindle I still prefer the feel and look of a printed book. The Kindle will have to get a lot smarter and prettier before I like it better.

What would you love to write a book about?

The Russian women who were fighter pilots and bombers for the Soviet Union during World War II. The Russian women bomber pilots flew these rickety old planes, in the dark, over German lines. They’d stop their engines so that they could glide down without making a noise, dump their bombs, then start their engines in the air and fly off. The Germans hated them so much they called them “Night Witches” – the Soviets called them “Stalin’s Falcons.” I feel like I don’t know enough about Russian culture to write about them, but they are amazing people.

What is your next book going to be about?

More flying! My next book is about a couple of teens whose mother is a stunt pilot. The story takes place in 1935 during Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia.

What was your favourite book growing up?

This sounds kind of soppy, but it was A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who also wrote The Secret Garden. The heroine of A Little Princess, Sara Crewe, is kind of the basis for every character I’ve ever made up.

What was the last fiction book you read?

I think it was ‘Allegiant’ by Veronica Roth

What is the best thing about being an author?

Meeting people. Definitely. Meeting other authors is a wonderful result of going to literary festivals, and meeting student readers at school visits is amazingly rewarding.

Thanks to Elizabeth


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