Where did you get your inspiration for The Peski Kids?
I was inspired by two main ideas:
Number 1 – how awful all other books are. None of them reflect the way brothers and sisters really talk to each other. In the real world brothers and sisters talk to each other in a constant stream of sarcasm, needling, yelling, accusations, weedling and verbal abuse. Which is far more interesting than being nice, kind and considerate. I wanted to reflect that.
Number 2 – the town I live in. It is very nice but also very strange, with bizarre festivals for all sorts of random annual events. Life is totally different when you live in a small place where everyone knows everyone. It makes everything a little bit claustrophobic, which is the perfect setting for a mystery.
· What was the peskiest thing you did as a child?
I was a delight as a child. In fact, I still am a delight. Have you been talking to my mother? She likes to tell people I was a horrible child who scowled a lot and had a terrible temper. Which I think is grossly unfair. Yes, I was grumpy. But I never got in trouble with the police or hosted outrageous parties totally trashing the house, like imaginary teenagers do on sitcoms. So really, as I say, on balance I was a delight.
· If you were competing in the Cockroach Races what type of cockroach would you pick? And what would you call it?
A brown one. That flies! The only thing freakier than a cockroach, is a flying cockroach. People forget they have wings because they scamper everywhere, but when a cockroach takes flight there’s not getting away from it. You can’t stomp on it. There’s just a freaky flying insect capsule of disease heading for your face!
And Bruce. I would call him Bruce.
· Which one of The Peski Kids are you most like?
April, partly because she’s a girl but mainly because of her rage issues.
· Have you ever had a neighbour as crazy as Loretta Viswanathan?
No, my real life neighbours have never been that exciting or glamorous. Also, Loretta isn’t crazy. She’s psychotic. There’s a difference.
I have known people so good looking other people are rendered stupid by just being near them. It must be a strange way to live life, but Loretta makes the most of it.
· Is Pumpkin the dog based on your own dog or a dog you know?
Yes, I have a very cute cavoodle called Henry. But my dog is sweet and well behaved. Admittedly, I have trained Henry to ‘attack’ on command, but his idea of ‘attacking’ someone is throwing himself on their feet with his belly up and hoping that they’ll scratch it.
· Can you give us a clue about what might happen in the next Peski Kids adventure?
The Peski kids are going to go out in the forest and come across something nasty. Then no one is going to believe them, so they’re going to go back into the forest and try to catch it (preferably at night when things are at their most scary). The story is actually way more complicated than that, but I’m not going to ruin it here. I want you to buy the book and read the whole thing.
The Peski Kids is available now at your local Dymocks!
When April, Finn and Joe Peski come home from school one day to find their mother missing, they are forced to go and live with their dad. They haven't seen him in years, and to make matters worse, he lives in a small country town - how will these city kids cope? In the country everything is green, the air is crisp and clear and the sky is a sharper shade of blue. In fact, everything is so nice it makes the kids uncomfortable.
However, with the challenges of a new school, new friends, attempted kidnappings and the annual cockroach race, the Peski kids soon realise that life in a country town might not be quite as boring as they imagined!