Perijee, Pineapples & Planets!

Over the course of the Adopt An Author project classes and their authors get to know each other really well – Ross Montgomery shared some details of an amazing holiday he recently went on to Montenegro:
WOWEEEEE what a beautiful place! An inspiring place to write too we imagine!
It sounds like 6L have been visiting some pretty cool places too!
Hello Ross,

We think your holiday looks amazing and we enjoyed looking at your photos. Lots of us have been on exciting holidays too including Mexico, France, Wales, Isle of Wight, Birmingham, Cornwall and London.

We’ve some more questions and comments. As you can see, we’re very interested in this new character Fi!……

Where did you get the idea of stealing a van? James
This is an excellent question – I’m not sure if I know myself! In the first draft Caitlin stole a Ferrari and immediately crashed it – I think I decided on an ice cream van because it was the only thing big enough to fit a cow and two girls inside, AND because it’s funny.
If you could, would you turn Perijee and Me into a series? William
Without giving TOO much away… I don’t know if I could turn PERIJEE & ME into a series! I’ve never written a series before, and I’m always tempted to revisit characters, but at the moment I think it works best as a stand-alone book. Perhaps you’ll understand when you finish it!
If you ever had the chance to put Perijee into another story what would it be? Alfie
I do occasionally end up putting characters from one books into other books – in fact, an early version of Frank was originally in my previous book THE TORNADO CHASERS, as a teacher called Mr Pewlish! In the end I changed the character completely and made the teacher a woman called Mrs Pewlish – but I liked the character of Frank so much I put him in PERIJEE & ME anyway, and I think he works much better there. I’m not sure where I’d put Perijee – I’ve got three more books out in the next year, and unfortunately he’s not in any of them!
Does Caitlin like being the character where she tells a lot of lies? Charlie J
What I like so much about Caitlin is that she often doesn’t REALISE how bad she is at lying! She’s too innocent to really understand what lying is, and how you can be good at it. Whenever I wrote her lying, I always thought of a child with chocolate smeared all round their mouth going, “Cake? What cake? I haven’t seen a cake round here anywhere…”
How did you think of Fi? Honor
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Fi didn’t turn up as a character until one of the very late drafts! Originally Caitlin found Mother quite quickly, and most of the second half of the book was about their relationship. My publisher told me this was boring – and to be fair, whenever people talk to me about the book everyone mentions Fi and no one ever mentions Mother! It’s a pity, as I really wanted Mother to be a strange, scary and memorable character – I’m not sure I got it quite right…
I realised that in order to make the story more interesting, I had to pair Caitlin up with someone who was the total opposite of her – streetwise, cynical, pessimistic and sharp. Someone who was totally appalled by how naive Caitlin is, but who is eventually won over by her warmth and love for Perijee. 
The character ended up coming to me quite easily – to be honest, I have a few characters in my other book who are quite like Fi! There’s Martha in ALEX, THE DOG & THE UNOPENABLE DOOR, Orlaith in THE TORNADO CHASERS…. there’s even a similar character called Ivy in my book published next year called MAX & THE MILLIONS! I guess I’m a fan of smart, sarcastic and slightly violent girl characters…
Why did you choose for Fi to steal a cow? Mothakin and Finlay
I’m so glad this joke went down as well as it did! I wanted the world after Perijee had taken over to be confusing and chaotic – Caitlin often doesn’t understand how the world works anyway, and it would be like dropping the reader right into the deep end as well. I loved the idea of Fi doing something absolutely bizarre and inexplicable as if it was the most normal thing in the world! And cows are pretty darn hilarious. Like pineapples.
What happened to Fi’s parents? Was she telling the truth when she said her mother was sick? Lauren
In truth, I haven’t ever decided what happened to Fi’s parents – I always wrote that moment thinking that she was lying about her mother being sick, but now that you mention it I suppose it could have been partly based on something that happened to her. The sad truth is that there are lots of children in the UK who live in very difficult home situations – more than we like to admit. Perhaps, if something as huge and catastrophic as an alien invasion happened, then there would be lots of children like her able to wander the country and steal things without being stopped.
Why did you choose the name Wanderly? Caitlin
What a good question! I often wondered this myself – I had to make up a name and it was the first one that came into my head. I think I wanted something that sounded like a town in the middle of the country – quaint, but big enough to have a town hall etc. Perhaps it’s because it has the word “wander” in it – rather than something more exciting or dynamic! Like Explosionville. Or St Nunchucks.
Did you have any other ideas of how Caitlin escaped the camp? Caitlin
I did! In fact, until the last draft Caitlin escaped in a different way – we still had her talking about putting her “disguise” on, then walks up to the exit. The guard looks at her… then turns away. Caitlin thinks her disguise is working perfectly, only for the guard to tell her to go back to bed. It turns out Caitlin is wearing a bedsheet over her head – she thinks if she dresses up like a ghost then no one will see her!
My publisher thought it was a bit too silly – after all, Caitlin often makes mistakes and misunderstands things, but she’s not STUPID. I much prefer the final version in the book – if nothing else, it helps remind us of the trouble Caitlin has with dyslexia!
Have you heard about a stolen cow before? Caitlin
Do you know anyone like Fi e.g. has her personality and attitude? Louis and Courtney
Yes – my girlfriend!! 
She’s probably be hacked off if she found that out – but then, so would Fi.
Where were you when your idea for Perijee and me swung into your mind? Mia
I’ve mentioned before that I was walking through a park near the place where I worked, and I saw the businessman lying on the ground – it’s right next to the Museum of Childhood, which is a wonderful museum – next time you’re in East London, make sure you visit!
What inspired you to have a 12/13 year old girl as a thief? Freya S
I like the idea of characters who don’t necessarily behave how you’d expect – I particularly like it when those characters are children! It’s one of the joys of writing a book – in real life, if you did what Fi did you’d get in serious trouble… but I love imagining her doing illegal things and getting away with it!
Why is her name Fi? Brooke
I realised this only recently! When I first wrote her, I chose the first name that came into my head – Fi just seemed to make sense to me, and I didn’t question why. It was only much later that I realised that when I wrote those new scenes, I had just read an early copy of a book written by my friend Katherine Rundell – THE WOLF WILDER 
(The best part about being an author is you get to read books before they’re published!)
Some of you may have read THE WOLF WILDER – if you haven’t, you should! It’s a wonderful book with an amazing main character – a young girl who lives in the middle of a snowy forest in Russia and teaches tame wolves how to be wild again. And her name is… Feo!
Basically, I completely stole the name and had no idea until much later. Luckily Katherine Rundell didn’t want to beat me up or anything – and she probably could. As well as writing books, she’s a tightrope walker, a pilot, and stuffs animals!
It was now Ross’ turn to set a task for 6L….
What do you think Perijee’s home planet might be like? Do you think there’ll be lots of aliens like him – will he have a family? What would their house be like? What would their cities be like?

Discuss your different ideas – then, as a class, have a go sketching your ideas down. Once again I’d like you to focus on your descriptive writing – if you end up drawing Perijee’s house, label it with really good descriptive words! Think about what a whole city of Perijees might need – roads? Parks? What would alien shops have to sell, and what would they look like?
If you like, you can each do a drawing – however you might prefer to do one big one as a class. I leave it entirely up to you!

We’ve picked a few of our favourite other-worldly landscapes to share – Perijee’s home looks pretty lovely – another exotic holiday destination to add to the list!
Bye for now!
Team AAA x

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