Judi Curtin is the author of a huge list of books. She has been described as ‘Ireland’s Jacqueline Wilson’, possibly because of her prolific output, and because her work would appeal to the same readers of Middle-Grade contemporary fiction which is strong on friendships and issues.
Stand By Me is the latest novel in the Molly and Beth series. The great thing about Molly and Beth, aside from their friendship, is their ability to travel back in time. I was instantly hooked. I love time travel, and think it is important for children to read about the recent past as well as earlier periods of history.
I was lucky enough to send some questions to Judi, and it is lovely to share her answers with you. Do check out my review of Stand By Me when you’ve finished reading the Q & A.
How do you think childhood has changed since the 60s? I think childhood nowadays is more controlled. In the 1960s children spent a lot of time entertaining themselves, which was good for their creativity.
Is there anything you wish modern children could experience from the 60s? I’d love them to experience the freedom – where they could play outside for hours, without parents fretting over the dangers.
Why should children read about the recent past? Children usually think of their parents as dinosaurs – so it’s no harm for them to learn a little about the realities of the past. It might make them a little more sympathetic.
Stand By Me focuses on changing attitudes to medical conditions. Is there a reason you chose this theme? I think it’s terrible that very often in the past, people with disabilities were locked away from the world, as if they were somehow shameful. We complain a lot about the modern world, but in this we have greatly improved.
Stand By Me is also about missed opportunities to continue friendships, and regrets over time. Do you have any messages for your readers? I don’t consciously write books with messages, but I think we all need to remember that we can’t change the past, so it’s best to nurture and value friendships. Supposed slights can be so damaging, yet seem trivial when viewed over the space of years.
If you could travel in time, which era would you visit and why?I’d love to go back to when my grandparents were young, so I could see them as teenagers, and talk to them about their hopes and dreams for the future.