FEATURE – Janis Mackay, Scottish Children’s Book Prize winner

Janis with her award-winning book, The Accidental Time Traveller

With her time-twisting tale of adventure and friendship, Edinburgh author Janis Mackay is a deserved winner of the Scottish Book Trust’s Children’s Book Award 2014, with The Accidental Time Traveller.

A previous winner of the Kelpies prize with the first of her Magnus Fin series of children’s novels, Janis is also an accomplished storyteller, creative writing tutor and versatile author living and working in Edinburgh.

The Accidental Time Traveller won the Award in the Younger Readers category, which was voted for by the people who really matter: the children who read it!

We caught up with Janis and asked her a little more about the book and what she has planned next.

Where did you get the idea for The Accidental Time Traveller?

I got the idea of Agatha Black from Marjory Fleming. I read her diary, written in 1811. She was eight and lived in Edinburgh. She died before her ninth birthday, but left behind this amazing diary.

That gave me big clues as to the speech and mind and life of a Scottish child 200 years ago – and it was fairly easy to create Agatha Black out of the real child Marjory.

What can we expect next from the heroes of the book?

I have written the sequel – The Reluctant Time Traveller – and it comes out this September. In this book Saul and Agnes, who now have the formula, travel back one hundred years to 1914.

What do you hope readers will get out of their adventures?

A sense of friendship, kinship – and history, and an appreciation for those who went before.

A hearty congratulations to Janis on her well-deserved success, which has surely cemented her place as one of Edinburgh’s best-loved and most popular authors of children’s fiction.

You can find out more about Janis and her books at her website and follow her on Twitter at @janismackay.

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