Book Nerd Interview
Meg Rosoff was born in 1956 in Boston, USA. She studied at Harvard University and left for England in 1977 to enter St Martin's School of Art, later returning to finish her degree at Harvard. She worked in New York City for 10 years in publishing and advertising, before moving to England.
She wrote her first novel, HOW I LIVE NOW, in 2004. It won several awards, including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Whibread Children's Book Award and the Orange First Novel Prize.
Her second novel, JUST IN CASE (2006), about a hunted 15-year-old boy, won the 2007 Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award and the Booktrust Teenage Prize
Her latest novel, WHAT I WAS (2007), is a love story and coming of age novel told by a 16-year-old boy expelled from two boarding schools and placed in a third. It was shortlisted for the 2008 Carnegie Medal and the 2007 Costa Children's Book Award.
Meg Rosoff lives in North London. She is also the author of MEET WILD BOARS (2005), a picture book, and co-author of a book of non-fiction,LONDON GUIDE: YOUR PASSPORT TO GREAT TRAVEL (1995).
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Reads, writes, talks.
Where were you born and where do you call home?
Born in Boston, home is London.
Tell us your latest news.
I've nearly finished my next novel.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Very early. And then again at 46.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Going on nine. I couldn't possibly have a favourite. The others would cry.
For those who are unfamiliar with your novel, There is no Dog, how would you introduce it?
Hello dear reader, I'd like you to meet Bob. He's 19. And God.
How did you come up with the title and cover design?
The title comes from a joke about a dyslexic atheist walking up and down in front of a church with a sign that reads "THERE IS NO DOG."
The cover design comes from the amazing Katie Finch at Penguin.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It's pretty funny.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Lucy?
Having sex with God isn't all it's cracked up to be.
If you could introduce Bob to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
He should probably meet Eloise at the Plaza. She'd be more than a match for him.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about Bob?
He's not real.
[Jean] - Ha! Lol
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
I started it, so I had to finish it. Otherwise I wouldn't have known how it ended.
What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Someone wrote and told me that my joy at writing There Is No Dog shone through on every page.
All I could say to that was, "Phew. Got away with it."
What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
There's a chapter towards the end of There Is No Dog in which Mr B has a huge, life-changing epiphany that changes everything about the book.
I had no idea it was going to happen until the words appeared on the page.
I love it when that happens.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I'm finishing a book called Picture Me Gone. It's set in America (at last) and involves a man who walks out on his family one day -- and the father and daughter who go to look for him.
I'd written about five drafts before I began to figure out why he left.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My all time favourite book IN the genre is A Wrinkle In Time. The heroine's called Meg (yay) and it's a wise and brilliant book.
Outside the genre maybe...Lolita, by Nabokov. Or Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Or Duck Death and the Tulip by Wolf Ehrlbruch. Or anything by Shaun Tan.
Or Dostoevsky. Or Samuel Beckett. Or MFK Fisher. Margo Lanagan. Pride and Prejudice? Is there a right answer to this? I'm not very good at narrowing it down.
Any recent appearances that you would like to share with us about/any upcoming ones?
I've just come back from a book tour of Holland and Belgium. All the kids there speak about five languages. It's incredibly humbling.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
Maybe a word here or there, but nothing big. I'd rather not do it all over again, though.
What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
"Tell us more about learning to ride horses. That sounds FASCINATING."
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
I worked in advertising for 15 years. I don't lie anymore.
If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?
World peace, if at all possible.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Every day since being published has been amazing. Really.
Which author would you love to co-author a book with?
A. A. Milne.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I've spent the last five years learning dressage. Would you like to hear all about it?
What is your favorite Quote?
"If you set out to take Vienna, take Vienna." -- Napoleon
What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Two boiled eggs and two cups of strong coffee. Not before 11am.
What are 4 things you never leave home without?
Keys, a book to read on the bus, a credit card, shoes.
Where can your readers stalk you?
What if God were a teenaged boy?
In the beginning, Bob created the heavens and the earth and the beasts of the field and the creatures of the sea, and twenty-five million other species (including lots of cute girls). But mostly he prefers eating junk food and leaving his dirty clothes in a heap at the side of his bed.
Every time he falls in love, Earth erupts in natural disasters, and it's usually Bob's beleaguered assistant, Mr. B., who is left cleaning up the mess. So humankind is going to be very sorry indeed that Bob ever ran into a beautiful, completely irresistible girl called Lucy . . .
The premise is simply “What if God were a teenage boy?” This almost sounds like a great plot for a silly comedy like Jim Carrey’s Bruce Almighty. However, Meg Rosoff uses this premise and surprisingly presents us with an amazing and delightful treat.
Forest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get”. And that is the pleasure of picking up a Meg Rosoff novel. You never really know what kind of story is in between the pages. With a title like There is No Dog, it couldn’t be any truer.
Although the characters are immortal beings, they possess real human feelings. Rosoff demonstrates with witty words and daily circumstances that even the godly divines can be human. Moreover, it illustrates how humans carry on faith with each other and the certainty in miracles that maintains us complete and overflowing with life.
There is No Dog is full of in-your-face comedy with characters that are unforgettable. It has a deep meaning about life. Rosoff has created an incredible world in which she explores the answer to What if God were a teenage boy.
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