AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Tim Harris
Tim’s latest junior fiction/middle grade kidlit series, Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables (it’s published by Penguin Random House) is a fantastically positive and humorous one, that had me wanting to go back to school!
Let’s find about more about the series, and Tim’s writing processes, inspirations, and more…
What was the inspiration behind writing Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables, and did it change much as you were writing it?
Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables was very much inspired by my own experience in the classroom. I wanted to write a positive school story – something that would hopefully encourage teachers and remind them of why they went into the job, as well as create a world of fun for children.
The series has certainly evolved with each new book. The first book changed lots from the early ideas, which were quite compartmentalised (a collection of short story ideas). The further I got into drafting and discussing ideas with my publisher, the more and more it became one longer story, which is something I’m very pleased happened.
Biggest challenges in writing this story, or in getting it published?
The biggest challenge for this book was finding the right voice. Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables has large chunks of narrative written in ‘third person’, and this made me very uncomfortable to begin with, given my first series (Exploding Endings) was written purely in ‘first person’. It’s become slightly easier as the series has progressed, but voice is something I’m continually wrestling with.
Can you let us in on any sneak peeks into your next books or other projects?
I can’t reveal too much at this stage, but I can let you know I’m working on the preliminary ideas for a new series. I’ve already fallen madly in love with the main character and am itching with excitement about the possibilities. Watch this space. 😊
What influences do you think shape your writing?
As an author of short stories, it’s hard to go past the big guns – Paul Jennings, Morris Gleitzman and Andy Griffiths. Aussie kids love humorous short stories, so following trailblazers like the authors mentioned made it easy in some sense.
During my teaching career, I saturated my classes with lots of Paul Jennings, so he’d have to be the biggest influence. When I started drafting Exploding Endings, I also paid closer attention to what Tristan Bancks was doing in his My Life/Tom Weekly series.
Where do you do your writing, and do you have any particular rituals in your creative process?
I write almost exclusively in my office. I don’t have any rituals, though I have made my office a place that I LOVE being in. This means it’s never a chore or hassle to get to work. I’ve filled the office with books, Lego sets, vinyl records, a sound system, a comfortable rocking chair, and of course a desk and computer! I’m always happy when I’m in the office, so it means I approach my writing with a positive mindset – something imperative when you’re writing humour!
Do you have some tips for other creatives?
Love what you do. The moment work doesn’t feel like ‘work’, you know you’re in a good place.