Interview: Mr Mac talks about The Super Weirdos and the Battle of Bash
Mr Mac AKA Andrew Macdonald grew up in Alexandra, Central Otago. He is a proud dad, teacher, sport lover (rugby union and touch rugby), musician, beard enthusiast, and is now a published author. Andrew now resides in the beautiful Mount Maunganui with his wife, Laura, his son, Frank, his cat, Bill, and his dog, Millhouse. He loves his job, enjoys learning new songs on the guitar or ukulele, and heads to the beach any chance he gets. Andrew talks to NZ Booklovers.
What inspired you to write this book?
As a teacher I used to write stories for my class, about my class. They found them hilarious and the classes interest in reading went up! I thought, if I can do this for one class, maybe I could help other kids too! So I began a four year journey of tinkering with my story, testing it on my classes, changing things that weren’t funny and drawing pictures which my students liked.
The biggest inspiration for me was when my class would crack up laughing and ask for more pages instead of going out to play sport.
What research was involved?
There are some pretty scientific words in this book which are surprisingly legitimate…I think I google three big words. There are some completely made up ridiculous aliens words too so I guess you could say the research was pretty intense.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
I would think about the story all the time and write notes in my phone. Anything I thought might work in the story, I’d make a note. Whenever I found time I’d sit down and write more of my story. School holidays was massive for writing. I would reread what I’d written, then write big chunks of the story.
Once I had the story pretty much right, I’d read it with my class and sent it to teachers so they could read it to their class. They would send me feedback from the class and I could make changes. Some ideas from kids completely changed the book! Absolutely for the better though.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the lead characters?
Because the book is loosely based around my friends and the main character is based on me, the only sensible option for the main character, based on looks, would be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Or Ryan Reynolds. Or Channing Tatum. Or Brad Pitt. Maybe Chris Hemsworth. I dunno… They just need to look exactly like me like these actors do.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this novel?
Testing the work on my class. Making kids laugh with my writing has been the absolute best thing. I now have kids come up to me at school who tell me they are writing novels because they want to write like me. That’s honestly amazing and humbling.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
I high fived my wife, had a glass of bubbles and ordered pizza with a grin a mile wide. I don’t even like wine, but that glass tasted good!
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s 13 Story Treehouse. I was lucky enough to hear Andy speak to a crowd of kids about how he writes his book. He was so funny and ridiculous, I was hooked instantly. I thought to myself, ‘I could do that’... And now I have. I often find myself wondering if he would enjoy my book. One day I might find out. I reread this book to my class every year because it’s absolutely genius and has a big series to follow it. Kids in my class have already read the whole series after I introduced it to them in February. I highly recommend this book to parents looking for a book that hooks kids into reading.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
Books two is well underway and it already feels good! I love how the journey has evolved for my characters and it’s been so fun to write more jokes and test it on a new class of kids! In the new year I will have another group of kids who will get an advanced reading. Other than that, I might try another glass of bubbles with my wife.