My oldest daughter loves reading! Her taste in books tends to vary but they all seem to involve animals to some degree. The desire to read might have been born from a desire to play video games but it’s quickly shifted into a love of the stories themselves. The current favorite kids books are Warrior Cats and Wings of Fire but I’m pretty positive that this series will quickly climb the list to join them.
When I was offered the chance to review Tigeropolis I asked if the author would be willing to answer some questions from my daughter as well. I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to encourage her creativity and dreams (she’s considering becoming an author herself someday). You can imagine my happiness when the offer was accepted! My daughter sat down and came up with five questions she wanted to ask author Richard Dikstra. Here is what transpired.
Kids Books, Tigeropolis Author Interview
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How do you come up with the ideas for your stories?
The Tigeropolis stories come out of my longtime involvement with conservation. I’ve long been a supporter of organizations that encourage better ways for local people to benefit from well organized, responsible, wildlife tourism. The books take that idea and run with it. I also thought that it would be nice to write something that had a serious message but was also fun.
What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always been involved with the creative sector and have written a couple of nonfiction books. The Tigeropolis series was directly inspired by my first ever sighting of a tiger – I’ve seen quite a number of tigers since then, but I’ll always remember that first encounter… We’d gone for days and days without seeing a single tiger. I was really keen to see one. It was my last night in India. I was flying back to the UK the next day and it was late, it was now near dusk. We’d had no luck and so we were driving back to camp, defeated. I was resigned to never seeing a tiger as I wasn’t sure when I’d next be in India
Just as we were about to drive out of the park a tiger suddenly decided to stir and show itself. In all probability, the tiger had been there for hours, laid up in the undergrowth escaping the 40-degree heat of the mid-day sun. It strolled past us for a hundred yards or so, let us take a few photographs and then disappeared back into the jungle. It was totally in control. Right there and then I thought – why not write a series where the Tigers are in control. I started mapping out the first book on the plane back to London
What advice do you have for kid’s who want to grow up and become a writer?
I suppose there are only two pieces of advice:-
i) If you want to write then just do it, you have something to say, and ii) it’s good to seek other people’s opinions on your work – you don’t have to take their advice, but it’s always worth listening to – almost everyone needs an editor to keep them right.
When you start writing a book do you always know how it’s going to end or do you make it up along the way?
Yes, I always know how it’s going to end before I start, but I usually don’t know how I’m going to get there. I try out a few ideas as I go along and not everything makes it into the final draft.
What can kid’s do to help with animal conservation?
The big changes only come when those in power decide that they need to act, and that really only happens when they think that it’s what their voters want. This needs people to make their views known. So, even just doing small things like encouraging your parents to use less plastic, or fossil fuels, all help make politicians begin to think they need to start changing the way we do things. As children, you are important influences.