DBF Interviews: Sarah Webb

WEBB, S 28.11.08 0059

Sarah Webb enjoys writing for both children and adults alike. Her Ask Amy Green series has been shortlisted for the Queen of Teen Awards in the UK, The CBI Book Awards and the Irish Book Awards. The third book in The Songbird Cafe Girls: Aurora and the Popcorn Dolphin, has recently been published. A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea, her new rhyme and song collection illustrated by Steve McCarthy was published in September.

Sarah’s Dublin Book Festival event for children, A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea (where she will be joined by Steve McCarthy) will take place on Saturday 4th November at Smock Alley Theatre. Tickets can be booked here!


Q. Sarah, you are well known for writing novels both for adults and children. Do you find one group more challenging to write for than the other? or do you have a preference for writing for one group over the other?

I tend to get an idea first, followed by a character. If the character is a child, the book is about children. If the character is an adult, the book is about adults. I simply follow the main character’s life and stay in her or his shoes. I love writing for both. Recently I’ve been concentrating on children’s books but I also have an adult novel on the boil.


Q. We’re very excited to welcome you and Steve McCarthy as part of the programme for the Dublin Book Festival this year. What can we expect from your event which centres around your new children’s book A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea?

There will be skipping, games, songs and lots of drawing. I love sharing rhymes and songs with families. We will also create some boats together, using felt for the sails and flags.


Q. What, if any, is your writing practice and could you give any advice to young aspiring storytellers?

Writing practice – putting your bum on a chair and staying there! I walk my dog, think about the scene I’m writing that particular day and get stuck in as soon as I sit down at my desk.

Advice – take your writing seriously, make time to write, make time to think and lastly, read!


Q. Lastly, what is a favourite book from your childhood that you would recommend to all of our budding bookworms out there?

I read children’s books all the time – for work and for pleasure. They are smart, direct and emotional books that don’t mess around. This year I’ve been blown away by Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo and The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. But every young teen should read Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, it’s a classic coming-of-age book for girls.