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Comment from the book world in March 2023

March 2023

‘When I first started out I wasn't even allowed to kill anyone.'

27 March 2023

‘When I first started out I wasn't even allowed to kill anyone. People were worried about it. And then it got more and more daring as we went along...

I would never do real-world fears. A kid has to know it's fantasy. If I establish that, then I can go pretty far with the scares. One thing kids insist on is a happy ending I did this book called The Best Friend where the good girl is taken away as the murderer and the murderer gets off scot-free. And kids hated this book. The mail was amazing: "Dear R L Stine, You idiot - how can you do that?" They just couldn't accept it. I never tried it again. That book haunted me...

Until fairly recently the characters in children's publishing had to learn and grow. Why can't kids have books that are just entertaining? In my books the parents are nearly always useless. The kids face these big challenges on their own and they have to use their wits to get themselves out of the jam. That's all, though. I don't do any other kind of moral message.'

The late R L Stine, author of 530 books for children and young people, including the Goosebumps and Fear Street series, in the Sunday Times Culture


The importance of the characters in cosy crime novels

13 March 2023

‘At their core, cosy crimes are very character-driven stories about unlikely and everyday heroes, and the tone of them is very humorous. The detectives are people who are underestimated - older characters or slightly bumbling eccentrics who make mistakes along the way and get themselves into trouble. The sense of rooting for an underdog and seeing them triumph through setbacks in their investigations is an aspect people seem to have really responded to, and they have a real focus on the communities in which they live as well, something which I think is appealing.'

Siân Heap, editor at Canelo, in Bookbrunch