Author Q&A: Ethan Willis

April 03, 2019

Ethan Willis is the author of the novel ‘Blue as the Sky’. He recently visited our Bournemouth centre to kick off the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards and we took the chance to ask him a few questions!

Cover of Ethan Willis' book 'Blue as the Sky'

Thanks for coming to our Bournemouth centre! How did that go?

It was fabulous. The place was packed and there was a great atmosphere. Children who are normally quiet threw themselves into the evening. They were inspiring. So much so I am now working on a series of writing programmes to deliver to children which I intend to take to schools for the next academic year once filming has started on my screen play!

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I was about five or six when I wrote my first story and was hooked!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Anywhere! All good stories have good people and I base my characters on people I know.

How proud were you when you got your first story/book published?

I was so proud; few people get to do things like that. I am very excited to have it turned into a film though it has been a lot of hard work and a few challenges along the way!

What is it about?

Essentially, boy meets girl, girl dies suddenly and boy has to learn to deal with it. It’s not all sad though, there are lots of funny bits!

When you were a child what did you want to do when you were older?

Write! I was a pretty decent sportsman but writing was all I wanted to do!

What tips would you give our young writers entering the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards?

My top tip would be to keep trying – you may not be amazing to start with but with practice, you can learn to be the best you can be!

How do you go about writing your novels?

The idea is the most important thing. Write two lines that explain the start, two for the middle and two for the end.  It’s like lego; use this as your building blocks and start from there.

We are asking children to write stories about ‘you can change the world’. How would YOU change the world and why?

Changing the world doesn’t happen through fighting. It happens because of people wanting to make a difference.  Make people believe they can make a difference and they will!

Who do you think has made the most positive change in the world? 

Barack Obama. He made people who were not listened to feel they were important and they mattered.

What were you like at school? Did you have a favourite subject?

I loved my primary school. I am an only child and quite shy but I had some amazing teachers and some really good friends.

At Explore Learning we encourage children to be fearless learners, how have you had to be fearless in your life? What advice would you give to children about being fearless?

When I first told people I was going to write a book and then actually was writing one, they always said “I could write a book”. Lots of people say it but I would like to think I stuck at it, kept rewriting it until I was happy and was so determined, that hearing no just made me stronger!

Inspire your young writer with the Explore Learning Writers’ Awards! All they need to do is tell us a 500 world story about changing the world.



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