Children's fiction is greatly important to the world of literature. Above all else, children's books are a fantastic educational tool, and open up endless possibilities for fun and interesting ways to get today's kids reading, and allow them to explore new interests. With a strong focus on history, Mark Golding's wildly entertaining 'Out of Time' is undeniably one of those books.
We had the opportunity to speak with Mark recently, where we discussed which books he enjoyed growing up, how he views the importance of reading as a teacher, and his favourite period of history.
1). You’ve penned a really fantastic children’s book here, Mark. Were you an avid reader when you were younger? If so, which books really spoke to you as a youngster?
I have to give credit to my parents for encouraging me to read from a very young age. As such I became a very avid reader. The book that probably had the biggest impact on me as a child was a science fiction story called the Frozen Planet of Azuron by Fred and Geoffrey Hoyle. The story follows the adventures of a young boy who travels throughout space with the mysterious Professor Gamma. I can still remember the first time I read this book - I was around five-years-old. As well as helping to develop a lifelong love of reading it also introduced me to the world of science fiction.
2). What first made you want to sit down and write a book?
As a teacher I found it difficult to find the time to sit down and write despite always wanting to put pen to paper. It was during the first national lockdown in 2020 and following the recent death of my father (who always encouraged me to follow my dreams) that I found the time to sit down and write. The process of writing was what kept me sane during those challenging early days of the pandemic. The protagonist of Out of Time was originally my cat Milo. However I soon realised they there were limitations to having a cat as the hero of the story. I then took inspiration from my nephew Joseph which led to the creation of Joe Jackson, the main character in Out of Time.
3). As a teacher, how important do you think reading is in the life of a young person?
I believe that reading is essential to the development of young people. Reading helps to expand vocabulary, increase concentration and importantly helps to increase imagination and creativity. There is also evidence that suggests that reading keeps the brain active and increases life expectancy.
4). The book sees our protagonist travelling through several exciting periods of history, such as the Cretaceous Period and the Roman Empire. What is your favourite period of history, and why?
Although I don’t think it would form the basis of a Joe Jackson adventure the period of history that I have the most interest in is the period from the late 1920s to the end of the 1940s. This was a period of significant change and devastation. It represented both the best of human endeavour with the invention of the jet engine, the discovery of penicillin and the launch of the NHS with the worst when we saw the rise of fascism and the horrors of the Second World War. My interest in this period stems from conversations with my grandfather. I find it amazing that such change occurred within the lives of my grandparents.
5). If we may ask, what is next for you and your writing endeavours?
I am currently in the process of writing another Joe Jackson story. I plan to continue the story over another two books which will take Joe up to his 18th birthday.