Nod Ghosh

Novels, short fiction & poetry

interview with shelby allan


Shelby Allan

Shelby Allan

  • This interview is a little different. Following Heather McQuillan's interview in December, I chatted to a student from the School for Young Writers in Christchurch, where Heather teaches. I've known Shelby Allan for nine years. I'll let Shelby introduce herself:


  • My name is Shelby, age 9. I’m happiest when I have a book in my hand to read so writing goes along with that. I started attending the School for Young Writers last year. I love the supportive environment the school provides.


  • N: What do you like to write?
  • S: I like to write imaginary stories. The scarier the better, packed with action and unexpected twists and turns to the plot. Characters often meet a grizzly end too.
  • N: Have you always made up stories, or can you remember when you started?
  • S: I’ve made up stories in my head for as long as I can remember. When I started school I began to write them down.
  • N: Do you write differently if you are doing something for homework for school, from how you'd write for your class at the School for Young Writers?
  • S: The focus at the School for Young Writers is completely on our piece of writing. We get time to draft and re-draft until we are happy with it. At school writing is fun, getting ideas and thoughts onto paper, but with limited time.
  • N: How do you go about re-drafting your work?
  • S: I initially scan my work for spelling and other mistakes. Then focus on changing the boring bits. I know drafting is an important part of writing, but I’m still learning the art (hint it’s not my favourite part).
  • N: Do you like to write on the computer, by hand, or both?
  • S: At school I write on paper and then publish on the computer. I have journals of writing at home but tend to work on my iPad more now.
  • N: Do you ever think about the person who will read your story/poem as you write it, or is it something you do purely for your own fun?
  • S: I write for fun, sometimes I think about the reader, but not often.
  • N: Have you had a go at illustrating your work?
  • S: When I was younger I used to illustrate my work but I haven’t for a few years. My brother sometimes draws the monsters that I write about for me.
  • N: Who are your favourite authors?
  • S: Rick Riordan, Enid Blyton, Caroline Keeyne, Willard Price, R.C. Ransom, David Baldacci and Maurice Gee.
  • N: Out of the things you've written, what were you most pleased with?
  • S: I wrote a play last year. Some friends and I were allowed to perform it to our school studio. It was so much fun bringing the story to life. 
  • This year my favourite piece of work is the Climb. It’s a short story based on a photo of steep mountain ranges surrounding by a stormy sky. The expedition doesn’t quite go to plan.
  • N: What advice would you give to someone of your age who wanted to write, but didn't know where to start?
  • S: I’d start off just writing at home and then if you want to do more see if there is a school writing group or a public writing group near you.


N: Thank you very much for agreeing to be interviewed Shelby.