In which we ask Shane Peacock our 10 Questions
What was the last book you read?
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, which is definitely not for kids. The latest children’s book I finished was The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, one of my favourite books of all time, definitely for kids … and grown-ups too.
What was your favourite book growing up?
There was more than one. Being a guy, I loved the Hardy Boys novels, but as I got older, also read quite a few Agatha Christie mysteries, and believe it or not, I enjoyed Dickens from a young age. Our parents read Oliver Twist to us and it absolutely enthralled me. To this day, there is no writer better than Dickens for me, and his influence shows in my writing at times – it’s there in The Boy Sherlock Holmes.
What literary character do you most relate to?
I don’t seem to be able to give you short answers! I have a few … again. Tom Sawyer is one, because he was a guy having just loads of fun, very “boy” fun and kind of sarcastic about the world, an outsider. I liked the way he talked – and he also got to be friends with Huck Finn! I like Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses, another outsider and a thinker. And of course, Sherlock Holmes, though that’s sort of a wishful thing – who wouldn’t want to have brains like that and solve problems no one else can? He was the first superhero!
“The mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring cleaning his little home.” Name that book.
That would be The Wind in the Willows, which I don’t think I read as a kid but read to my own kids. They loved Toad of the open road! Who doesn’t?
Describe your ideal day off.
I like doing things with my family and travelling, so being on the open road (like Toad) with my wife and kids, perhaps on a train riding through England or walking the streets of London, showing them where Dickens lived, The Beatles recorded, or Sherlock Holmes roamed, or at a soccer match … ah, that would be great!
If you could attempt any profession but your own, what would it be?
Are you kidding me? I’d be first-line centre for the Leafs … that’s the Toronto Maple Leafs, which used to be a hockey team … and will again sometime soon!
What would your pirate name be?
Captain Shamus Dickens, scourge of the written word.
What is your favourite word?
Well, my editor says I use “elegant” far too much, so I must be enamoured of it … though “enamoured” (with the “u”) is nice too. I’m also partial to “Calithumpian.”
Who do you want to be when you grow up?
William Shakespeare … or Paul McCartney.
What is a Woozle?
One of those weird things in Winne the Pooh (or Winnie A Pooh, as my kids used to say) who cavort about with the Heffalumps.
Shane grew up in Kapuskasing, Ontario and studied at Trent University where he did a degree in English Literature and History. He later completed his masters at University of Toronto where he studied with Robertson Davies. Shane has enjoyed a tremendous variety of jobs, including stints as a labourer and as a bush sprayer. He has also worked as a journalist, and has written numerous plays and documentaries. His first young adult novel was The Mystery of Ireland’s Eye and his most recent series, his Young Sherlock Holmes series, has been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades.