• BookFlap

Sylvia McNicoll, author & activist: "I wish I could fly on a dragon."

What was the first book you ever read all by yourself?

The Witch Tree Symbol by Nancy Drew


What was the first book you bought with your own money?

It was definitely another Nancy Drew book but I couldn’t tell you the title. It would have been a second hand copy.


Have you ever stolen a book? Why/when/where?

Not consciously. My immigrant family did anything to save a buck: hunted, fished and dumpster dived. But I never needed to steal a book. In every town we lived in, Dad signed us up for the library. Saturdays we visited a used bookstore in the city and we were allowed to buy whatever we wanted. Accidentally I did steal a copy of The Big Race, my own book, from a school at which I presented. Now I’m careful to keep my own reading copies away from school and library books. I also warn teachers and librarians to check my bags before I leave.


What book changed the way you look at the world?

M. E. Kerr wrote a book called Gentle Hands, about a teen whose wealthy cultivated grandfather turns out to be former SS guard at Auschwitz. I still don’t understand how a person could have such different sides to them but I understand that they do.


In which fictional house or land would you like to live?

Fictional worlds sometimes sends you horrific disasters and villains to deal with so I like my own real life better. I mean I wish I could fly on a dragon as in Arthur Slade’s Dragon Assassin series, but not if it cost me an eye or I had to constantly fight people to stay alive.

However, I wish my real world would allow a do-over when you made a stupid choice, and it cost you your life. This is a paranomormal realityI’ve created myself to cope with the deaths of teens I’ve read about in local papers. It exists in Dying to Go Viral, Best Friends Through Eternity, Body Swap and soon to come What the Dog Knows. All of these stories arose from true news stories.


Which fictional character do you wish was your best friend?

I would like Sophie from Teresa Toten’s Blonde’s series to be my best friend. As a teen, I always wanted to be a blonde plus my parents and relatives were as ridiculous as Sophie. We would understand each other perfectly.


What is your favourite word?

Avocado-in my head sounds like a latin beat that I could salsa to.


What is a word you loathe?

“Got” sounds so greedy and illiterate in my ears.


Choose three adjectives to describe yourself.

Funny, empathetic, messy.