Tag Archives: Interview with Leah Broadby

~Review of A Dreadful Daughter’s Spells by Leah Broadby and Molly Billygoat~

A Dreadful Daughter's Spells by Leah Broadby and Molly Billygoat

Chloe knows she is “A Dreadful Daughter,” but the truth is more complicated than that. Chloe is magiken, meaning she can breathe life into objects…even if she can’t always control them. She will soon turn fourteen. Growing up means losing one’s powers. Even worse, she will lose all memories of those powers.

Meanwhile, a painting is born on the wall of a dance studio. Feeling lonely and literally flat, he hops down from the wall and ventures into the dizzying, confounding world. The painting is close to starvation when he meets Chloe. Using her magic, she draws a pizza from rock, saving his life. He adopts the name “Timmy” and becomes her sidekick, of sorts.

Events turn sinister when the Skizen, a creature of diabolical power, begins kidnapping young magiken. Chloe’s magic is already leaking. Before she is drained of magic, Chloe and Timmy must save the children.

Also…is it ethical to fall for a painting?

With a touch of Douglas Adams’ humour and a pinch of Pendleton Ward’s wackiness, this book is an unanticipated trip into the unknown.

My Rating: 5 Stars!

This book is a middle grade delight! Written in a humorous, whimsical voice, I would highly recommend this book for any middle grade reader (and any adult who would happen to pick it up as well!) The characters are well developed and the writing is a joy to read!

A Dreadful Daughter’s Spells contains a smattering of humorously expressed life insights which add to the overall beauty of the manuscript. It is also highly imaginative and would, therefore, captivate any preteen or “tween”.

If you still have a middle grade child on your Christmas list, you may want to take a peek at this book on Amazon. It would truly make a wonderful gift!

Where you can purchase A Dreadful Daughter’s Spells:

CreateSpace eStore (only paperback available here): https://www.createspace.com/5337544
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dreadful-Daught…
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dreadful-Daug…
Amazon Australia (ebook only): http://www.amazon.com.au/Dreadful-Dau…

Where you can find Leah Broadby:

Leah’s blog/website: www.biglittlebrains.com
Email: storyfactory@biglittlebrains.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MollyBillygoat
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mollybillygoat/
Kickstarter Campaign for book: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/…

Interview with Leah:

1. What made you decide to start writing?

I’ve loved books since before I could read. When I realised words went with the pictures, I loved them even more. When I realised you could enjoy words without pictures… it was a life-changing moment! I could make the pictures all by myself – in my mind!

I was in grade five when I first had the chance to be in a creative writer’s workshop. I wrote a short story, which my tutor entered into a regional school competition. Being nine, I tried to act nonchalant when I came third. In reality, I was floored. I’d never come third in a competition before. The next year I entered the same competition with the actual intention of getting a prize. As I remember, the story was about a homeless paraplegic girl and her Dad, who discovered “little people” living inside seashells. The little people helped the girl and her Dad build a massive seashell home… I think. It was a rather innocent and wacky premise, but I received first prize.

From then on, I’ve only ever wanted to write. The joys of writing, the reasons for writing and my love of fiction evolved through time. The extent of my desire to write, however, has not wavered once since I was nine.

2. What genres do you enjoy writing and why?

I enjoy writing fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction, preferably with a satirical twist. For shorter pieces, I enjoy humorous, somewhat self-deprecating accounts of events in my own life. A favourite topic is my unfortunate accounts with toilets throughout Asia. I won’t burden you with the gruesome details here – suffice to say, if toilets were sentient, I think we’d feel as bad as each other. Writing of such events comes from an intrinsic feeling that humour is one of the best ways to deal with adversity and even tragedy; both in writing and in life itself.

To explain my love for specific genres of fiction, a preamble is necessary. For part of my life, I searched for universal meaning. It was a protracted existential crisis. My search yielded no results, so I ended up becoming a tooth-fairy agnostic – a term coined by Richard Dawkins for those who believe that the existence of God is as likely as the existence of the tooth-fairy. It would be arrogant to suggest He is utterly impossible, but logical to suggest that He almost certainly does not exist. No offense intended – it is merely how little old me feels.

Several things can happen when you realise humans are mere atoms that make up the pimples on what could be a multi-headed universe. First, apathy (agh – there is no reason for this charade), sadness (agh – the mass suffering in this world is just terrible luck) and fear (agh – my consciousness will end forever one day pretty soon)! Then there is the bright side: Freedom from convention. If universal morality does not exist, I can let go of many things, such as rigid notions of etiquette, intelligence, language, sexuality, the family unit, mislead ambition… the list goes on. Not that I was ever conservative, but tooth-fairy agnosticism strengthened my love for beauty inside chaos and increased my ability to dwell inside the moment. As for morality, my perspective allows me to make my own decisions, instead of letting a set of someone else’s rules or ideals dictate my actions. Naturally, I want to do good in the world, and have others do unto me… you know the deal.

The reason I explain my worldview is that it’s the major reasons for my love of fantasy and science fiction. These genres allow me to fully express my feelings on the tragic, beautiful and comedic nature of the human condition.

They also allow me to expand a reality too claustrophobic for my liking. Such expansion is easy with the human imagination, which I celebrate every day. I do so love to imagine all things weird, quirky, crazy, funny, and other-worldly.

Every time I write science fiction or fantasy, I am fantasising. This would seem self-evident, but hear me out. I imagine: Perhaps this character I create is rising in another universe as it comes together in my head. Perhaps this scene I see is being siphoned from another universe into my brain and onto the page. Perhaps, what if, maybe… I love ‘maybes’ and ‘what ifs’. It is a chance to create a world I would prefer. It is a chance to add more possibilities onto existence. It is a chance to find pieces outside of the puzzle.

The human imagination is the breeding ground for entities both absurd and profound, including gods, devils, and umpa-lumpas. What is not to love about it?

3. What are some of your favorite books and why?

Terry Pratchett is arguably my favourite author. I say ‘arguably’ because I manage to argue with myself just fine. I love Pratchett for many reasons, the foremost of which is his comedic mastery over the English language. His books make me laugh out loud. I particularly love his character ‘Death’. Most important to me, though, is that Pratchett maintains witty cynicism without losing the sense of magic integral to his stories. I cried when he passed on, but he has given me many more laughs than tears. I don’t think he would object to that.

Walter Moers is another writer who has touched me with his sheer, daring feats of imagination. A German writer, all his books have English translations. I therefore must praise the translator too (especially having done many translations myself), for the books read so beautifully. There is no chance a person could guess they are translations.

Moers takes the reader into the brains of giants, into catacombs of dangerous books, into treacherous seas of mini-pirates, into other dimensions of indescribable substance, into the depths of carnivorous forests, and more. His characters are as diverse as his worlds. My mind is put among the stars when immersed in his work.

Another, more recently-discovered favourite author is Kurt Vonnegut. My reasons for loving him are rather different and not so much about escapism. He forces me to stare into the face of my own fears and imagine the previously unimaginable – simultaneously. His stories, from sentence structure to overall plot, are so beautifully crafted that I am left in awe. The Sirens of Titan will forever exist within my mushy brain-stuff. I don’t think I could ever write at his level of brilliance, which is a sensation I enjoy. I enjoy it because my own writing can only benefit from such intensely intelligent and satirical works.

His sense of tragedy regarding the human condition, the satire he weaves into this tragedy, his love of artistic beauty… All this really hits me in the heart. He makes me laugh and cry. It is partly because I feel the same as he seems to, and partly because he is so wildly good at writing.

4. More favorites: your favorite food, color, activity and place?

My favourite food? I’m sort of a hedonist so this is a hard question. I lived in Asia for a long time (particularly Korea), and I consequently go weak at the knees at the site of Korean sashimi, eel, fish roe soup, kimchi, seaweed dishes, roasted sweet potatoes and stinky fish that make most weak-bellied Westerners want to vomit…. I also love pine nuts and thin savoury crepes and risotto and you get the idea!

I have some favourite activities that are inappropriate to mention on a blog. So, I will say this: Few things are better than binge-watching comedy, quality drama and cartoons (especially Adventure Time). Of course, I derive similar pleasure from feasting on a book that captures me fully. Music-obsessed, I listen to a lot of jazz, prog rock and folksy jives. Frank Zappa is a cultural hero, in my opinion. A good run around in the forest doesn’t go astray. Skinny dipping has been a favoured activity for over nineteen years… and this is where I’ll stop.

I paint, and if you look at my website you’ll quickly discover what my favourite colours are. Mostly burnt oranges and reds alongside sky blue. I don’t like painting with green. I have no idea why. It just feels like green should stay outdoors.

It is difficult to say where my favourite place is. I was born and grew up in Tasmania, which remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. The Himalayas presented the most epic landscape to have ever hit my irises. I love Cambodia and Laos for the culture. Despite rapidly passing time, Korea still feels like my second home. If I extend on this I will be typing for a week.

5. What inspires you to write?

Writing creatively is not a choice for me. If I don’t write, I become depressed. I sometimes have nightmares in which I am forced to live without writing. When I do write, I am fulfilled. I guess these factors are more motivating than inspirational.

Early on, Dad fed my imagination by reading me books and making up stories for my brother and I. In this sense, he is my original inspiration. Now, inspiration comes from great writers of novels and scripts… and cartoons. I do watch a lot of cartoons for a thirty-four year old!

6. What would you like your readers to remember about you?

Anything! If they remember me, I’ve done something right. Right? Right.

7. If you could give me one piece of advice, what would it be?

I do not claim to be qualified to answer this question, but if I could give people one piece of advice, it would be to do what makes you happiest within the parameters you are able to move.

I am well aware that, having been born to liberal-minded parents in Australia, I am lucky. My mind may have shrivelled if it was born into some environments. The freedom to express my creativity is not a privilege I take for granted. Across the globe are people that, in the pursuit of survival, may never discover their penchant for creativity.

As long as you can do something that brings you joy and/or peace without hurting others or threatening your own survival, you must do it. Each of us exists in a tiny corner of the universe, in a tiny corner of the world, stuck inside our own bodies and brains. What is life for, if not to revel in what enjoyment is to be had?