In celebration of Talli Roland's newest book launch, WATCHING WILLOW WATTS, she's asked bloggers 'If I could be anyone, I'd be...'. A number of people chose J.K. Rowling for good reason, but I'm going venture a bit back in time and say Diana Wynne Jones for her extraordinary children's books. The list of her titles is longer than a snuggly house scarf and every bit as yummy as a chocolate frog.
I'd love to have lived inside her expansive imagination, to have her wit and skills at laying out compelling stories with twists and depth of content. And, oh, her sense of humor, how much fun that would be. But silly and wacky as her stories can be, they're dead-on serious, as well.
Her tales are never preachy but there's no doubt that even in her magical worlds there are consequences for bullying, intolerance, bigotry or other nasty behavior. Her characters are ordinary kids shoved into extraordinary circumstances, which they figure out how to handle. Sometimes even small acts of bravery are heroic and important is a message that comes through.
When she died of cancer in March at age 76, The Guardian wrote: "Her intelligent and beautifully written fantasies are of seminal importance for their bridging of the gap between "traditional" children's fantasy, as written by CS Lewis or E Nesbit, and the more politically and socially aware children's literature of the modern period, where authors such as Jacqueline Wilson or Melvyn Burgess explicitly confront problems of divorce, drugs and delinquency. "
She started writing as a child, and as a college student at St. Anne's at Oxford, she soaked up lectures from J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S . Lewis. How I'd love to time travel and drop in on one of those sessions.
If you haven't read her, treat yourself. Here's a partial list of her more than 40 titles: HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE, DARK LORD OF DERKHOLM, YEAR OF THE GRIFFIN, FIRE AND HEMLOCK, THE HOMEWARD BOUNDERS, HEXWOOD, POWER OF THREE, THE CHRONICLES OF CHRESTOMANCI, THE DALEMARK QUARTET, ARCHER'S GOON.
Um, I have to add that if I were to pick a fictional character I'd like to be it would be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just sayin'.