If your main character was going to a party to celebrate their book birthday, what would they wear?
Jo: Calypso is quite a romantic at heart,in the old-fashioned sense of the word. She loves dressing up and imagining herself into other stories, since her home life is quiet and isolated. She lives through books, so the chances are she would use the characters in her story books as inspiration. Calypso's heroine is Anne of Green Gables, and in that book, Anne would give anything for a dress with puffed sleeves (which she eventually gets). So I rather suspect that Calypso would yearn for a dress with puffed sleeves, so that she could feel properly dressed up. Failing that, a long medieval gown like the women in Renaissance paintings wear.
Kiran: Isabella’s not fussed about clothes, but her best friend Lupe would make her borrow one of her dresses - maybe blue silk or cream taffeta - which Isabella would ruin the hem of by tripping over (being so much shorter), and proceed to spill food on it. Whatever Isabella wore, it would be covered in ginger hairs from her cat Pep.
What three things would they most want to find in their party bag?
Andy: I think Dev, the main character in the book who lives in the Inventory, would be hoping to find a very cool gadget or gizmo in his bag. He’s not allowed to play around with the ones they have stored away at home (although that isn’t going to stop him from trying).
Perhaps a party hat? It may look a little goofy, but these ones use a special nano-paper that allows the wearer to read other people’s minds. Who wouldn’t want to do that? Another would be one of those little plastic magnifying glasses you occasionally find in Christmas crackers - except this one magnifies light in short pulses thus forming an instant laser blaster. Ideal for shooting down pesky flies if nothing else. Finally, the third would be a party blower. One of those that rolls open and makes an annoying whistling squeak? What’s a party without a party blower?
What would be their ideal birthday cake?
Andy: Oh, that will have to be an impossible cake. Ideally a chocolate sponge cake, with gloopy chocolate on the outside. But it would be no ordinary sponge, it would be AutoBite Sponge Cake - a cake that tastes different with every chomp. It would start as chocolate, then smoothly transform into orange… then mint… and finally Turkish Delight before you had chance to swallow it. The only problem is, like most things in the Inventory, it doesn’t work quite as well as it should. The snail and ultra-curry options can be off-putting. Especially when you’re not expecting them.
What party game would they be most confident in winning at?
Carrie: Since Annie can stop time, she’d be really good with musical chairs. She could just stop time and slip in a chair and boom - winner! However, stopping time would probably be considered ‘cheating,’ so yeah… She wouldn’t do that. Annie’s not the most confident human being, so she probably would expect to lose at all the games, honestly. Oh. That’s so sad…. Poor Annie!
Jo: Spelling, or any kind of game that involves wordplay. (All right, I know spelling isn't actually a party game - but it should be, because I would have won it ALL THE TIME as a kid!). Because Calypso spends so much of her time reading, her vocabulary is enormous and her retention for detail excellent. Mind you, any game that involved imaginary play would also suit her, though Calypso might feel shy about putting her ideas forward because in a social situation, she's not a natural leader. Anything out of her comfort zone, such as tag or musical bumps, would make her very uncomfortable, and she'd probably want to go and sit in the corner with a book until it was over.
Kiran: Either pin the tail on the donkey - due to her recent adventures, she’s good at navigating in the dark - or a treasure hunt, especially if there was a map involved!
What was the most memorable birthday party you had, or went to, when you were a child?
Carrie: There was this fantastic blizzard on my birthday and one by one all the other kids moms called to say that they wouldn’t drive their kids to my house for the party. I cried. So, my dad went and picked everyone up and then it became this fantastic sleep-over celebration where we had no power and just ate cake and more cake and went sledding. My dad rocked.
Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, graphic novelist, author and conservationist. His latest novel, IRON FIST, is the first in THE INVENTORY series and is published by Scholastic.
Jo Cotterill is the author of numerous books including the SWEET HEARTS series, ELECTRIGIRL and new book A LIBRARY OF LEMONS, published by Piccadilly Press.
Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a poet, playwright and novelist. Her debut novel THE GIRL OF INK AND STARS is out in the UK with Chicken House Books in May 2016, and in the USA with Knopf in July under the title THE CARTOGRAPHER’S DAUGHTER.