Q&A with Catherine Holt

Join Midnight Reynolds on her first adventure in Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer by Catherine Holt. When twelve year-old misfit Midnight Reynolds takes a job helping out eccentric Miss Appleby in the mansion down the street, she never imagined her work would involve battling ghosts. But as it turns out, Midnight and her new employer have quite a bit in common—they were both born on Halloween and have the power to see spirits of the dead. But when Midnight learns more about the history of her town, she starts to wonder if she’s fighting on the right side.

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We were lucky enough to sit down with Catherine Holt to chat about writing habits, ghosts, and the Midnight Reynolds series.

Q. What was your inspiration for your title?

A. I was toying around with a book idea when the name, Midnight Reynolds, popped into my head. I was immediately intrigued and started to try and figure out a plot worthy of such a cool name! That took some time, and during this process the book was called Midnight Reynolds and the Lost Librarium, Midnight Reynolds and the Emerald Tablet, and Midnight Reynolds and the Book of Life. However, it wasn’t until I finally decided to make Midnight a ghost hunter that I finally figured out the title (with the help of my agent!).

Q. Do you have a regular routine while creating a book?

A. No, my writing habits are very erratic. One week I can burn through the words like a crazy person and the next week I’ll be lucky if I can write a paragraph. Of course my love of watching Netflix can sometimes get in the way as well! In fact, I’m probably the reason that writing deadlines were invented, because if left to my own devices, not much would get done!

Q. What’s the easiest and hardest part of creating a book?

A. For me the easiest part is actually getting the idea and writing the blurb and the outline—probably because it doesn’t take long! As for the hardest part, it’s taking that outline and turning into a story that makes sense. I find about halfway through I end up in a real tangle of ideas and plot threads and then I have to spend far too long getting myself back on track.

Q. Why write children’s books?

A. The short answer is that I don’t think I’ve ever really grown up! I’ve always read YA and MG books (and watched the movies and TV shows) so writing for kids was a natural progression. And because I don’t do things by halves I’m also a children’s librarian, which really is as cool as it sounds! I think I love the genre so much because anything goes and because no one blinks if you bring in a zombie or two!

Q. Do you have any writing quirks?

A. I don’t have my own office—kids are so annoying how they want their own bedrooms. As a result I tend to do most of my writing wherever I can find a sunbeam (I think I was a cat in my previous life). In winter, that’s in the bedroom and in summer it’s somewhere in the garden. Oh, and there must be coffee, because who in their right mind would write a book without caffeine?

Q. Are you working on any other projects?

A. I’ve just finished the second Midnight book and am about to start book three, plus I also write romance and YA under another name and I’ve got a few books in the works there.

Q. What books did you like to read as a kid? What type of books do you like to read now?

A. When I was a kid I read everything I could get my hands on. My father was a huge Tolkien fan so I’d read The Hobbit by the time I was ten, along with many of his old favorites like Swallow and Amazons and William. I was also a huge Trixie Belden fan, along with Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Three Investigators. Oh, and my all time favorite children’s book is the first three Earthsea books by Ursula Le Guin.

Q. Do you believe in ghosts?

A. Actually I do! I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural and anything ghost related, and while I’m not sure that spirits look like what we see in the movies, I absolutely believe they exist. My husband grew up in a house that had a ghost and some of the stories he and my mother-in-law have told me were more than a little scary. Then again, I’m the wimpiest person in the world, so I am very easily scared!

Q. How do you like to celebrate Halloween?

A. Confession. I grew up in Australia and now live in New Zealand and traditionally Halloween isn’t such a big deal over here. When I was a kid no one did anything remotely related to Halloween, though over the last ten years, more and more people have embraced it. However, because it’s our spring time, and it doesn’t get dark until seven o’clock, some of the spookiness is lost in the blue skies and bright sunshine!

 

Thanks so much, Catherine. To join Midnight on her ghost-hunting adventures, check out our website.

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Q&A with Catherine Holt