Jennifer Killick Takes the Inside Out Challenge
Jennifer Killick Takes the Inside Out Challenge
You see this is going to be my 200th blog post! I started this blog back in December 2017 with no real idea what I was doing. My first book review wasn't until January 2018! But since then I've grown and grown. Last month I hit 200,000 views, which I still find utterly incredible. And I've got to know so many other bloggers, publishers and authors and count many of them as friends.
After a period of benign neglect, I've spent the last month working hard to breath new life into this site, with daily postings and a lot more care and attention. So I really wanted to do something special to celebrate my 200th post.
In the early days of the Book Worm Hole I did a fun little challenge, that I called the Inside Out Challenge, and got a number of other bloggers to take it, telling us about books that inspired some very specific emotions in them. After a while I stopped doing that, (don't ask! Things got messy.) but then last year I did a one off post of it with the wonderful Sinéad O'Hart, and it has proven to be one of the most popular things I've posted, still racking up large numbers of views a year on. You can find it here. It was actually a year ago exactly from when I'm posting this one, which is a total coincidence.
That felt like a good way to celebrate this blog milestone, and it didn't take me long to decide who I wanted to ask to do it.
Jennifer Killick is one of my favourite authors and favourite people. Her books are brilliant! Often rude, frequently scary, and always hilarious. My son and I are currently laughing our way through her Alex Sparrow trilogy, and her new series, Dread Wood, deserves to be a modern classic. So I was absolutely thrilled when she agreed to contribute to my post.
Without further ado, here is Jennifer Killick, taking the Inside Out Challenge.
First, please introduce yourself.
Hello! I’m Jennifer, author of children’s horrodies Crater Lake and Dread Wood, plus the Alex Sparrow series, and Mo, Lottie and the Junkers. When I’m not writing books or visiting schools, you can find me eating cake, watching anime, and preparing for the zombie apocalypse. Thank you for inviting me to talk about the books that give me the BIG FEELINGS.
Can you tell me about a book you have read that made you feel joy?
If I’m in need of joy, I always turn to ‘One Piece’ by Eiichiro Oda. Although it’s a seriously high stakes series about the adventures of a pirate crew in a world full of danger, there is so much warmth in it that it always comforts me. The characters are impeccably drawn, every one with their own back stories, side stories, and the kind of endearing quirks that make you fall deeply in love with them. The main character, Monkey D. Luffy is hilarious, and though I’m not much of a risk taker in life, I could definitely see myself leaving the nine-to-five and taking to the seas with him. There’s so much joy in adventuring with the Straw Hat pirates.
What about a book that filled you with sadness?
I actively avoid reading sad books. I know many people enjoy them and feel it’s important to read them, and I understand that. But there is so much sad in life. When I read a book, I want it to feel fun. I want a laugh and a scare. I enjoy a brief sad or moving moment, but when I put a book down I don’t want that to be the feeling that stays with me. So for a book that filled me with sadness, I have to go back to when I used to read lots of them, and one of my favourite authors – Thomas Hardy. All of his books are sad, but one of the saddest for me is ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge.’ In it we follow the life of a man who does good, but also makes some terrible choices and is ultimately punished for them in the cruellest way. He dies alone, full of regret, believing that nobody cares for him, and nobody should. It really hurts my heart to think of anyone being in that situation. And the image of a tiny bird, dead in a cage, hidden in a garden (if you’ve read the book, you’ll know) brings tears to my eyes every time I think of it.
Have you read a book that made you feel angry?
A book that makes me angry – and I say ‘makes’ rather than ‘made’ because I think of it often and find myself huffing and shaking my head – is ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, also by Thomas Hardy. I should clarify that I love the book. It’s beautiful and tragic, as all of Hardy’s novels are, and has been a favourite of mine since my teens. My anger is directed towards a particular character in the book: Angel Clare. His self-righteous treatment of Tess leaves me absolutely fuming, and I will never, ever forgive him, even (especially) when he belatedly tries to make amends for abandoning her by moving on to her sister. What a piece of work. Tess deserved better.
Has a book ever disgusted you?
I think the most disgusted I’ve ever been while reading a book was during the Red Wedding scene in the Game of Thrones series. I read the books before I watched the series, and while there were many differences, I really enjoyed both. As Game of Thrones fans will know, there are many, MANY disgusting scenes to delight in, but the Red Wedding made me physically react (I threw the book across the room and for a while refused to read any further) because I loved Robb Stark deeply and wasn’t ready for his gruesome exit.
Can you tell me about a book that made you afraid?
I could give you a long list of books that have made me feel afraid. I love a scary book, though I have limits to the amount of scariness I enjoy (some stories tip me over into life-ruining fear). There are so many brilliant authors writing creepy books for children and adults, but my choice for this is one of my all-time favourite young adult authors: ‘Harrow Lake’ by Kat Ellis. The chilling atmosphere is so pervasive that you can almost taste it. The writing is clean, clever, and impactful and full of perfectly sinister little details – the tree, the jitter bugs, the puppet. Horror writing at its best.
And finally, can you tell me a little bit about a book that you know inside out?
I’m lucky that I have always been surrounded by books, and there are several that, as soon as I turn to the first page, create the same feeling of cosy familiarity as putting on my comfiest slippers. A more recent addition to this list is a book that was my youngest son’s first favourite: ‘Wow, Said the Owl’ by Tim Hopgood. For a few years, we read and re-read it together, knowing it so well that I could recite it to comfort him, even when we didn’t have our copy with us. It’s a beautiful story of exploration, and colour, and finding courage, and it will always have a place in my heart.