Samuel J. Halpin

What books did you read when you were a child?
Anything by the following authors: E. Nesbitt, it goes without saying Roald Dahl, copious amounts of fairy tale books (the weirder the better), C. S. Lewis, Barrie, Tolkien, Rowling, Paul Jennings, R. L. Stevenson, L. M. Montgomery, Enid Blyton, oodles of Dickens, Encyclopaedia Britannica (it’s a riot, try it) and anything else that lurked on the shelf.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I can’t decide between Severus Snape, Peter Pan and Samwise Gamgee. Snape because ‐ always, Pan for never growing up and Samwise for his unwavering loyalty.

What is the best thing about reading?
I remember once eating an entire pancake (cream and jam) that was meant for my brother completely by accident simply because I was so mesmerised by what I was reading. Being lost and not looking for a way out is the best thing about reading.

What is your all time favourite book?
I think that prize would be most probably sliced in half and divided between I Capture the Castle and To Kill a Mockingbird. I have read those two books more times than I have fingers to count on.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Talking about what they’re reading. An understanding of why you liked one book over another gives you the mastery to know what sort of writing communicates most effectively to you, shaping critical thinking.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
An enormous part. Mum would haul us down to the library and stuff our arms full with as many books as our backs could cope with. And Dad would always tell me to listen for the punctuation in music and treat it like a story.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I think in order to encourage children to read you must appeal to their individual natures and set their imaginations alight. For so many kids they never get the right book to start them off on that journey and miss the opportunity to learn how to take pleasure in reading. If I was forced by a parent at gun point to recommend a book I would say, Where the Redfern Grows by Wilson Rawls, because whenever my Dad would read it to the kids at school he says to this day that there isn’t one child in all his years of teaching this book who didn’t listen, laugh and then weep.

Born in Tasmania with Irish roots, Samuel J. Halpin is 27 and writes daily. Having studied journalism at the University of New South Wales, he went on to take cinematography at AFTRS, the national Australian film school in Sydney before moving to London and working in comedy TV production. The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods which publishes in January 2019 is his first answer to a childhood raised on a hodgepodge of fairy tales, crowded
bookshelves and cups of hot cocoa.

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