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Fall 2018 Publishers’ Preview: Five Questions for Kenneth Oppel

Publishers' Previews: Special advertising supplement in The Horn Book Magazine

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2018 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Fall 2018 Publishers’ Previews, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

Sponsored by
Random House

In the middle-grade novel Inkling, illustrated by Sydney Smith, sixth grader Ethan and his graphic-novelist dad both find uses for the protean, sentient, and hungry blob of ink that has taken up residence in their home. What could go wrong?

Photo: Mark Raynes Roberts.

1. Any mysterious visitors in your writing room?

I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about.

2. I’m writing this question in pixels and you will answer it in pixels, so what is there for Inkling to eat?

Inkling doesn’t want anything to do with our soulless pixels. Digital technology is not remotely nourishing for him. He is off snacking on Town Is by the Sea at the moment.

3. Do you have a quick and dirty fix for writer’s block? Asking for a friend.

You can either go backwards and rewrite, or jump ahead into the future of the story where you have a juicy idea for a scene. I prefer jumping forward. As with a shark, stasis is death for the writer. Or you can get an Inkling.

4. Do you find reading some authors more likely than others to infect your own prose? Spill.

Over the years I’ve felt the powerful literary pull of Roald Dahl, David Almond, and Peter Carey.

5. Have your kids ever had to Call You Out?

No. My kids are perfectly well behaved because I let Inkling help them with their schoolwork.

Sponsored by
Random House

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