Sure, it’s December and this is my first interview of the year. Your point?
I’m returning in very high style with international flavor. I am very pleased to welcome writer Peter Millet. He’s from NEW ZEALAND. He writes fun books. Read on.
What led you to write about Johnny Danger?
My wife is a sixth-grade teacher and she asked me to write another middle-grade comedy series to read to her kids. We both share a similar sense of humor and she appreciates the jokes I hide away in my stories just for her. Anyone who is a fan of The Office or The Simpsons will be able to spot what game I’m playing behind the scenes. I am an eternal prankster and I love surprising people with the unexpected.
I also love sending up institutions that have become overly serious. We don’t need another brooding, sophisticated, muscular teen spy – we need a spy with bad breath, BO issues, wearing his dad’s old prom suit, and being genuinely confused about saving the world or finishing off an intense session of Minecraft.
Do you think living in New Zealand informs your writing and/or illustration? If so, how?
I’ll answer this question in a slightly different manner. After the Great Recession of 2009-11, New Zealand’s book scene was reduced to one specialist children’s publisher, one specialist children’s editor and no literary agents. (For the entire country!) Sadly many authors were forced to give up their writing dreams and do something else. A very unfortunate situation indeed. Prior to the recession my writing was influenced by our remoteness, wildness and uninhibited Kiwi attitudes. However, after the recession, everything has changed. Now it’s about overcoming staggering odds to continue the dream of writing children’s books.
If you could collaborate with any living children’s author or illustrator, whom would you choose and why?
Easy answer – an English children’s writer called Andy Stanton. He is the king of UK comedy with his outrageous midlde-grade series called Mr Gum. Working with Andy would be like goofing off on a SNL set or hanging around with younger, less portly member of Monty Python. I asked him about collaborating on a book one day and he flat out said no.
Hah, that Andy, he’s always the joker…
If a children’s book character, past or present, could move next door to younger you, which one would want it to be?
It’s a toss up between Peter Pan and Charlie Bucket (from the chocolate factory).
Firstly, Peter is my namesake. So that’s the logic behind that decision. I think flying would be seriously cool fun. Or maybe it wouldn’t. Just how does one take a lavatory break at 2,000 feet wearing tights? I’m honestly not sure.
Secondly, I spent many years of my life searching for a golden ticket amongst sticky chocolate bar wrappers. Potentially this accelerated the over pimple-ization of my face. Befriending Charlie would have avoided that unpleasant scenario. In turn, it also would have led to me meeting my writing hero Roald Dahl.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished a three-week project filming a high tech, over the top, computer animated trailer for Johnny Danger. I pulled out all the stops on this one. The idea is to have kids share and enjoy the entertainment factor of the trailer alone. It includes a new story line created just for the trailer. I love to innovate and hopefully this quirky trailer is a hit. See for yourself:
I’m also working on a rhyming picture book and a possible dramatic middle grade story featuring an abandoned elephant.
Here is my website: www.petermillett.com
I’ve published around 30 books over 16 years and it still feels like day one of my career. Hopefully I’ll feel this energized 16 years from now!
Johnny Danger will be published by Penguin Australia and it comes out in approximately nine weeks time:
For those readers who can’t wait that long, I have three free copies of my earlier superhero comedy series ‘Boy Zero’ available on a first in – first served basis. All I need is an email address and confirmation you have access to Kindle software.