Eoin Colfer talks about his first books

Date: 14 Mar 2013 by Support
Location: N/A
Eoin explains where the character of Benny Shaw came from.

Benny & Omar was my first book. I'd been writing stories for years before that, but it took a trip to Africa to give me really exciting subject matter. Within a month of arriving in Tunisia, a dozen possible storylines were bouncing around in my head. But the thing that hit me hardest was the difference in the quality of life for Europeans and Tunisians. Things that we take for granted, like running water and electricity, are often luxuries in Africa. I decided that the best way to bring this point home was to pair a Tunisian boy with an Irish chap and see what happened. As you may know, quite a lot happened, not all of it good. But at least the smartalec Benny got a taste of real life.

Benny was so popular that I decided to bring him back for another installment. I realised that you don't have to go to a foreign country to have adventures. Irish youngsters are perfectly capably of getting up to mischief on their own turf. So Benny lands home and is sent to the country on holidays, to a small fishing village in the southeast. Duncade is based on the village of Slade in County Wexford and on the promontory of Hook. A lot of the struggles - boy/girl, townie/culchie - are updated versions of my own experiences as a boy.

While Benny was exorcising the teenage Colfer, there was a younger version who wanted to have his say. I created Ed Cooper to give a voice to these memories. I hope that with Going Potty, Ed's Funny Feet and Ed's Bed children can both have a laugh and maybe come to grips with a few childhood difficulties.