AUTHOR - PRODUCER - CONTENT CREATOR - SPEAKER - MISCHIEF MAKER
YOU FOUND IT! The real and official website for MICK ELLIOTT, that guy who wrote SQUIDGE DIBLEY, THE TURNERS and produced tonnes of shows for Nickelodeon !
Stick around and find out some stuff!
When he's not writing disgustingly epic books for kids like SQUIDGE DIBLEY DESTROYS THE SCHOOL and THE TURNERS trilogy, Mick Elliott is a producer. For almost two decades he worked at Nickelodeon Australia, producing programmes such as SLIMEFEST, CAMP ORANGE, SLIME CUP, THE KIDS’ CHOICE AWARDS, PLAY ALONG WITH OLLIE and squillions of commercials.
Mick regularly speaks at schools and literary festivals about storytelling, writing and creativity. (See the CONTACT page for bookings!)
Mick’s brand new illustrated series SQUIDGE DIBLEY is out now!
In his spare time, you will usually find him sleeping, eating, jogging, farting or tinkering with his DIY nuclear booger bazooka. Sometimes all at once.
INFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WRITE THE TURNERS?
I wished that I had read more books when I was a kid. I wasted far too much time eating Coco-Pops and watching bad TV shows. So I wanted to write that book that I would have loved to read when I was 11.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR?
Apart from the privilege of collaborating with lots of clever people who are involved in the process of creating books, it's definitely seeing how readers respond to your stories. Writing is a very solitary process, so it is always a delight to meet readers of all ages and discover how they have enjoyed your ideas.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT WRITING A BOOK?
The re-writing. The first draft is usually pretty messy, with lots of ideas still floating around that don't necessarily work. Its only in the re-writing process that the story really starts to come to the surface as you peel away all the ideas (and sometimes whole chapters) that don't actually keep the story moving.
That and simply finding the time in between everything else in life.
WHERE DO YOU WRITE?
I don't really have a dedicated writing space or time, so I tend to just write whenever and wherever I can. Much of THE TURNERS series was written on trains, buses, at the kitchen table or sitting in bed.
I was also lucky enough to spend a week at the Varuna Writers' House in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales when I was writing the first book. It is an amazing writers' retreat, where I was able to think about nothing but Leo and his many hair-raising adventures.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WRITE A BOOK?
Firstly, know exactly who you are writing for. If it is for kids, then what age group is it for? Is it for boys or girls, or both? What is the genre? Is it fantasy, comedy, historic fiction, or any of the many other genres out there. Think about all these things as you start to plot out your ideas, then read as many books as you can for the same audience.
While I was writing THE TURNERS, I read hundreds of books for the same age group (kids 9 - 12) and it gave me a strong sense of tone, pacing, language and also conventions of the genre. This included reading the great ones (like The Mysterious Benedict Society, Holes, Diary Of a Wimpy Kid, Con-Nerd) and even the bad ones too (which I won't list here.)
Also, expect it to be both exhilarating and exhausting. Just getting a first draft written is a huge achievement. But it is only when you have the first bunch of words on the page that you can really start to carve the story out. That takes time, patience and persistence.
The first TURNERS book took four years to get to a point where I felt like it was strong enough to submit to publishers.
IF YOU COULD TURN INTO ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
That's a hard question because I have had to think A LOT about all the different animals that Leo turns into during the TURNERS books. I'd have to say probably an owl, because they are kind of noble, they can fly, they can turn their head around to look behind them and they get to stay up all night.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKS?
I love Roald Dahl, particularly his biographies, BOY and GOING SOLO. I am a big fan of Derek Landy's SKULLDUGGERY PLEASANT series which have such a strong balance of action, humour and fantasy with excellent characters driving the plot along. Trenton Lee Stewart's THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY is one of the best series for upper primary readers. Its pretty much perfection.
And of course, I love Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton's TREEHOUSE series; Jeff Kinney's WIMPY KID series and Liz Pichon's awesome TOM GATES series, which is absolutely hilarious.
WHAT IS THE NAUGHTIEST THING YOU EVER DID AS A KID?
I used to hide rubber animals in my grandmother's bed whenever she visited. Spiders mostly. I had a whole variety of them in different sizes. I branched out into other species though. Snakes. Bugs. Once I put a small plastic turtle in her sheets and she didn't notice until the middle of the night when it was embedded in her back.
She actually seemed to encourage my mischief though.
Another time I poured tomato sauce all over my leg and came running screaming out of the house just as my mum was arriving home from working a night shift. At the time it seemed hilarious, but looking back I can understand why she didn't find it funny. AT ALL.
I think that sense of mischievousness runs in my family. I still find it hard to take anything too seriously, even as a supposedly grown adult.
I absolutely loved Tim Minchin's soundtrack for the MATILDA musical, and I've found that the song 'NAUGHTY' is a bit of an anthem that I play in my head on a non-stop loop. Especially when I am in boring business meetings.
WHAT ACTOR WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
Nobody! That would be a terrible movie. Nobody would go and see it. It would just be me sitting at a laptop mumbling to myself and getting up now and again to go to the toilet.