Q&A with David O’Doherty
Published on: 28 August 2017 Author: David O'Doherty
1. Why should we read a handbook for avoiding danger?
BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE TOOTHBRUSH SNAKE, a tiny snake from Belgium that creeps into bathrooms and lies beside your actual toothbrush. And if you're not paying attention and put toothpaste on it, IT SHOOTS UP YOUR NOSE. And the only way to get it down is by playing a trumpet.
2. Tell us a little bit about the hero of Danger Is Everywhere, Docter* Noel Zone?
Docter Noel Zone is a world-famous (level 5) dangerologist. Where you might see adventure or fun in the world, Docter Noel only sees danger. And he has piled his concerns and solutions into this book. How can you tell if your granny is a robot? What's the best thing to do if your school trip is ambushed by pirates?
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU ARE CONFRONTED BY A POLAR BEAR ON YOUR WAY TO SCHOOL/WORK???**
3. Is Docter Noel Zone based on someone you know?
I've always been obsessed with what-ifs. What if this room suddenly filled with water? What if my goldfish grew up to be a great white shark? What if the house got flooded and the goldfish/shark escaped and ate my entire family?
4. Have any of Docter Noel Zone's BST (Basic Safety Tips) saved your life so far?
Sometimes I forget that they are made up, which is ridiculous, considering I made them up. Docter Noel is scared of the toilet shark, a shark that comes up through the loo if you sit on it for too long. I definitely don't sit on the loo for as long as I used to.
5. Have you always been interested in writing or was it something that you became more interested in as you got older?
I've always liked making things up. In school I loved writing essays. My father is a musician and a writer. For my sixth birthday party, he wrote a play and we all went to see it and afterwards got to meet the actors and stand on the stage. I remember thinking, this seems like a very fun thing to do with your life.
6. What advice would you give to any of our young readers who are interested in a career as a comedian or comedy writer?
Just go for it! If you like stand-up comedy, write some jokes and try it out. Do a show at your school or in your front room. Film something silly on a phone and put it on the internet. Write a ridiculous book about how dangerous everything is. No wait, I've done that already.
7. What was your favourite children's book when you were growing up?
I loved a book of Michael Rosen poems called 'Quick, Let's Get Out of Here!' You could read the poems again and again and they were still hilarious, and it had brilliant pictures by Quentin Blake.
8. If you had to describe Danger is Everywhere in 5 words what would they be?
ARGH! SHARK IN MY LOO!
*He gave himself the first name DOCTER so he could concentrate all of his energy on being a DANGEROLOGIST. It saved a lot of time and hardly anyone notices the spelling.
**As regards the polar bear, you can't outrun or outswim it, and it is better at climbing than you. Docter Noel knows what to do though: CARD TRICKS. Polar bears are so baffled and impressed by even the most basic card trick that they will sit there for hours, trying to work out how is was done, allowing you to continue on your journey to school/work. So remember: ALWAYS CARRY A PACK OF CARDS.
Bookbuzz is a reading programme from BookTrust that aims to help schools inspire a love of reading in 11 to 13-year-olds. Participating schools give their students the opportunity to choose their own book to take home and keep from a list of 17 titles.