Interview with Anna Mainwaring

Today, in the Timelines* series of interview,

I have asked the five questions to Anna Clark.


[©2013 to A. Clark]


Tell us how you got involved in the Timelines project.

The opportunity arose through the Creative Writing MA that I’m currently studying for.  We were asked to submit a short story and as being a published author has always been an ambition of mine, I decided to grab the opportunity.


How and why did you come to write your story?

The brief for the story was to write something historical for ages 10-14.  I had a number of ideas but knew I needed to find something that I could focus on in 2000 words.  I remembered going to the Manchester Museum and being struck by the skeleton of an elephant that is on display.  I’d gone home and done some research into the story behind the elephant and found out that after being bought from a zoo in Edinburgh in 1872, the elephant had refused to board its train and so had then had to walk with its trainer from Scotland to Manchester.  I loved this story and so I decided to re-tell part of this for my submission.


Tell us a little bit about your story.

The inspiration is above.  But I decided to write the story from the point of view of a young girl who has never left her village and is desperate to see the elephant on its journey.  She and her brother wait to see it but it doesn’t come.  But she does get her dream and sees the elephant anyway…


Some people think it is easy to write while Ernest Hemingway said: “It is easy to write. Just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.” Where do you stand?

I find that the ease or difficulty of writing comes and goes.  The more time I’ve spent thinking about a story the easier the writing.  But I do try and write every day.  Some days this is very hard.


What is it that appeal to you when writing for children?

I fell in love with reading when I was a child.  Books for adults don’t often make me feel the same excitement I felt when reading my favourite books.  So in writing for children it brings me closer to that sense of magic I felt 30 years ago.


Thank you Anna Clark for those answers.

* Timelines is an anthology of historical short stories for children.

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