Children's Book Club: Perijee & Me

Perijee & Me was our first Children's Book Club read and we all really enjoyed it! Once we had finished reading Perijee & Me we came up with some questions to ask the author Ross Montgomery over Twitter.

'I think Perijee & Me was an amazing story and I gave it 4 stars out of 5 because it was very similar to a book I really enjoyed called 'A Boy Who Sailed The Ocean in an Armchair'.' - Leah

'I enjoyed Perijee & Me and I gave it 5 stars out of 5! I recommend it to children aged 7-11' - Ellie

'I give Perijee & Me 4 out of 5 stars because I really liked the plot and the friendship that developed between Caitlin and Perijee.' - Meg

All of our questions and answers are below. (WARNING: spoilers!)

Why did Fi steal the cow? (Ellie)
Originally I wanted it to be an unexplained mystery in the book - however my publisher insisted I make it clearer! So at the very end it's mentioned that cows have become worth more than gold after The Monster. I still haven't explained why!
Oooopsie she actually asked HOW did Fi steal the cow!!!! (Jasmine's mistake!!!)
JASMIIIINE! This is such a good question! I'm not sure I know the answer myself. In fact: how do YOU think she stole the cow?

Why did you make the people from Obsidian Blade old women? (Leah)
I liked the idea of making scary baddies from people you don't expect to be scary. Caitlin trusts them but she shouldn't just like how people are scared of Perijee when they shouldn't be. Appearances can be deceiving...

Who is your favourite character? (Ellie)
I do love Caitlin - it was so nice learning how to write with her "voice" and try to think up how she would see things.

What inspired you to write Perijee & Me? (Georgia)
I was walking through a park and saw a man in a suit lying face down on the ground like a plank. He looked like an alien that had fallen from the sky and was trying to copy everyone around him, but failing! And I thought: bingo.

Who or what was Perijee based on? (Alexandra)
Probably my experiences of learning how to talk to toddlers (I'm a teacher) - I'd also recently just got my first ever cat! His name is Fun Bobby and he's a complete nightmare.

What made you think the twist where Perijee comes from the sea? (Leah)
I do love a good twist! I was obsessed by the Mariana Trench at the time - the more I read about it, the scarier it seems. PS In the first draft, it turned out at the end that Mother's real name was Mariana Trench!

Why did Caitlin's mum and dad divorce? (Ellie)
It's very sad, but sometimes relationships just don't work out. In C's parents' case, perhaps they just weren't well suited?

How did you come up with the book cover? (Saskia)
I can't claim any credit for this! It's all @dc_litchfield - check out his picture book THE BEAR AND THE PIANO!

Why was Frank so shaggy and scruffy? (Alexandra)
Pahaha! Because he is a dirty stopout. In the first draft there was more background about Frank - he'd just broken up with his wife and let himself go a bit. He has a son on the mainland too!

When did you write Perijee & Me and how long did it take? (Meg)
I started writing it in June 2014 - was supposed to be published in July 2015 but took too long! In total it took 1.5 years.

Why does Caitlin always wear a hat? (Meg)
In the 1st draft it was because Middle Island is meant to be freezing cold - based on the Hebrides!

Why does Caitlin have no friends? (Ellie)
You can see when she talks to Fi that she's lovely and friendly, but doesn't quite know how to talk to people her own age. This is because her parents have sort of isolated her - and in life, you need to be able to talk to people!

Why did the island come into the story? (Georgia)
On the island, Caitlin is cut off - which is kind of like how she is in the rest of her life. She's lonely and isolated!

Leah says that her favourite part is when Fi is in the supermarket - what's your favourite part?
I also love this bit - it was one of the last bits I wrote! In the first draft, there was no Fi at all. Caitlin left the camp and found Mother by herself. My publisher said it was boring (it was) so I made Fi!
We all agree Fi is the best!!!!
Oh, thank you! I'm very proud of having come up with her as a character. Can you imagine if she was never in the book?!

Alexandra says that she likes it when Caitlin says her surname is McCeiling!
I am so glad you like this joke! The very last change to the story was the "Beef Oven" joke - originally Caitlin escaped the camp by dressing up as a ghost and trying to walk through a wall. It doesn't work.

Georgia thought Perijee was really cute as a prawn - what's your favourite stage of Perijee?
Probably him tottering around the island, marvelling at tiny bugs and sunshine before murdering some seagulls.

Meg enjoyed the part where Caitlin is on the boat with Mother and hasn't yet realised that Mother is evil!
Oh, wonderful! I've always worried that that part doesn't quite work - in the original it was much more scary. Mother had a sidekick called Jabber who never showed her face and poked out eyes with her sharpened fingernails!!
*gasps from all round the table*
Yeah, this is probably why it got cut out. *looks embarrassed*

Why did you create Obsidian Blade? (Leah)
Everyone in the world hates Perijee - except Caitlin, and Obsidian Blade. But they love him in very different ways. Obsidian Blade may love him, but its a bad and destructive love. I wanted to show that love CAN be dangerous too - unlike Caitlin's.

How many characters have you created (out of all of your books)? (Saskia)
Oh wow!! I'd have to sit down with a pen and work that out. Don't forget, there are HUNDREDS of characters I've created which I've then deleted or edited out! In fact, Frank even turned up in the 1st draft of THE TORNADO CHASERS.

Which was your favourite book to write and why? (Georgia)
Definitely PERIJEE. It was hard at times - writing often is - but I really learned how to see the world through Caitlin's eyes.

How is it that all through her journey Caitlin never got ill? (Alexandra)
Hands down the best question of the day! I reckon she's one of those people who NEVER gets tired or ill - you know the type!

Why did you name Perijee Perijee? (Ellie)
He was originally called Parsec! I also wanted to call him Planemo, but then too much like Finding Nemo...

Clara asks what your favourite book is? She has read too many books to pick a favourite!
I'm exactly the same! Couldn't possibly choose one book...
Hold on! She has decided that Hetty Feather is her favourite!
But this is a good choice! I LOVE Jacqueline Wilson - my favourite author as a boy. Who says she just writes for girls?!

How long is it between the start and end of the book (in months or years)?
I'm TERRIBLE at stuff like this. My publisher tries to work it out for me - check out this note!

But if I had to guess, it would be the whole of her summer holidays - ready to start school again at the end! (How's that for a happy ending?)
WOW lots happened in 6 weeks!
Yeah, I am not a very realistic writer. But then again, it is a story about an alien destroying the world!

Did you have any help with your books? (Charlotte)
I have SO much help - I couldn't have written it without my editor. All writers need them. Without her, there'd be no Fi!

Now I have a question for you: do any of you want to become writers? Have you written some stories already?
Saskia wants to be a children's writer and already written some short stories! 
Go Saskia! Keep going with it - writing is like a sport, you need to keep practising to get better at it.
Meg is writing a book on her computer at home but isn't sure if she wants to be a proper writer!
There's only one way to find out Meg - I also stopped writing for years and made films instead! Still telling stories I guess.
Clara would like to be a writer because she loves to write, even though she's quite slow!
I know lots of authors who are dyslexic - so long as you love it, it doesn't matter if you're the slowest writer in the world.
Leah wants to be an author and writes books that her teacher likes!
Whoop! Well done Leah, keep it up!