Interview: Peter Millett talks about The Invincibles
Peter Millett is a full-time author living on Auckland’s North Shore. “From an early age I enjoyed playing word games with rhymes and jokes. I had my first funny verse published in the national newspaper when I was at primary school, and I’ve been creating comedic rhyming verse ever since.” Peter Millett is author of Children’s Choice Award Winner The ANZAC Puppy .
Peter talks to NZ Booklovers about the first book in his new junior fiction series, The Invincibles.
Tell us a little about The Invincibles.
The Invincibles is NZ’s first ever superhero team. Sort of Marvel meets Morrinsville, or DC meets Dunedin! As a kid I only read about American superheroes. Now we have some local legends to cheer for. The heroes I’ve created are rugby mad and use their ‘footy’ powers to help protect our national game. And there’s flying sheep too!
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write my first ever action/adventure/comedy book set in NZ. And I wanted it to include universal fiction themes and be super exciting for kiwi kids to read.
What research was involved?
40+ years of reading/watching/listening to superhero stories, plus 40+ years of watching the All Blacks play footy. The research was very enjoyable.
What was your routine or process when writing this book? How did you collaborate with the illustrator?
I wrote the text first with a major focus on the plot device (a ticking 80 minute deadline theme). I then spent 6 months with school-based test readers. Some major changes resulted from these test reads. Next, Myles and I started working together. We are both huge superhero fans. Myles is incredibly approachable and the end result is something we are both very, very happy with.
If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.
I actually do have a soundtrack! As I wrote the book this music inspired me. Listen to it here in my trailer: https://youtu.be/a1QtAJpREAw
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the lead characters?
I would love The Invincibles to be made into a movie. And I hope it happens. I would want 5 ordinary school kids for the lead characters, and Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Rose Matipo and Rhys Darby for the adult characters. Taika could play the villain, Tricky Ricky.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this novel?
Sharing the writing experience with my test readers. It takes a community to raise a book, and my community is unbelievably creative, funny and supportive.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
My ritual is the same every time – I celebrate by making a book trailer that projects the joy I had creating the story. It’s a way of creating a time capsule for my writing exploits. And making a trailer is highly creative in a different way. It’s a fabulous brain-change after months of one-track mental processing.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
The ‘Top Secret Undercover Notes of Buttons McGinty’. It’s Monty Python set in NZ. I’m a huge Python fan. This book encapsulates the chaotic randomness of English humour mixed in with the laid-back kiwi approach to calamity.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
I have more kid’s books in the pipeline but I’m open to trying something new. I’ve always wanted to produce an animated short comedy project. And I enjoy public speaking and taking risks as well. Let’s see what evolves. And Taika Waititi, if you’re reading this – call me.
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