Blog Tour: Mantelpiece Musings: Interview with Annabel Pitcher

Today we are very happy to be a part of Mantelpiece Musings, the blog tour for Annabel Pitcher’s ‘My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece’. Below you can see our interview with the author herself!

Describe your book in 5 words.
Oooh, tough!  No, wait, is that two gone already? Those words don’t count do they?! Right, let’s start again. I would describe My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece as real, funny, quirky, emotive and hopeful.
Did you need to do any research for My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece?
I did a little bit, checking my facts about Islam and visiting websites devoted to people who had lost their lives in terrorist attacks, but mostly I just wrote as authentically as I could, drawing upon my own experience. I find it very easy to empathise with people, so it wasn’t too difficult to imagine the father and his reaction to losing Rose, or how a child of Jamie’s age might become fed up of the attention given to her urn on the mantelpiece.

Who would you like to see as the main cast if My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece got made into a movie/ TV adaptation?
There are some fantastic questions here. I have never been asked this before.
Okay, here goes… (swigs tea and loads up Google)

Jamie – Ryan Turner from the front cover and trailer
(see here: He’s always been my Jamie, ever since I saw him in the promotional video.

Jasmine – Saiorse Ronan.  She’s a good actress, very real and raw and sort of strong yet vulnerable, which is important for Jas.

Dad – Right, this is a strange one, but I always picture Simon Pegg. Though he’s better known for his comedic stuff, he’s a great dramatic actor as well, and he’s a little unhinged but empathetic, which is crucial for Jamie’s father.

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do you have to do anything like this while you write?
I prefer to work in silence, but when that gets too much, I always listen to classical music when I write. Anything with lyrics I find too distracting.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Since about the age of ten, I always thought of writing as one of my career options – but I also considered playing for Manchester United (men’s team) and becoming an international spy. I wasn’t particularly serious about it, but I knew that I loved writing and I loved the way I felt when I was making up stories, and how fun it was to invent different worlds. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I started to take my ambition to be a writer more seriously. In a bookshop in Ambleside, I suddenly realised that people were making a living as authors, and there was no real reason why I couldn’t give it a go too. That day, I bought loads of notepads and pens and started to jot down different ideas. A couple of years later, I wrote My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.
Are there any other YA authors that you admire?
I like Jennie Downham for the courage of her writing. She deals with difficult subjects in an unflinchingly honest way, never becoming sentimental or resorting to cheap shock tactics. The characters in her books feel so real, as if they are people you could meet in the shop or at school, and that is difficult to achieve. I also admire David Almond. He writes poetically, really focusing on the lyricism and sound of the words, and is more concerned with the beauty of a piece of work than its commercial appeal. I respect that.   
What is your favourite book of all time and why?
The Go-Between. It is a beautiful, coming-of-age tale that perfectly captures the uncertainty, pain and excitement of leaving childhood and being on the brink of adolescence. I’ve read it five times and I’m sure I will read it five more!
What book are you reading at the minute?
At the moment, I am laughing my way through Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman.  

Which YA (human) character would you love to be and why?
Hermione in Harry Potter, for her brains, her guts and the adventures that she has. I’d love to escape from a goblin bank on the back of a dragon, hunt for horcruxes, sleep in a magical tent in the middle of the countryside with Ron Weasley… Yes, I’d do all of that quite happily!

Which YA (non human) character would you love to be and why?
I think I’d have to be Pan, Lyra’s daemon, in Northern Lights, for his ability to shape-shift. Imagine being a bird when you just fancy getting away from it all, a mouse if you want to hide from the world, a lion if you need to be brave… Incredible.

Thanks so much Annabel for answering our questions! It has been a pleasure having you on the blog today!

The new edition of My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece was published by Indigo on 29th September!

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