The Booktopia Book Guru asks
author of Anyone but Ivy Pocket
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
I was born somewhere near the beginning and raised in a series of locked rooms up and down the east coast. My schooling consisted of a one-legged governess with a prominent overbite and whatever I could gleam from the back of coffee tins.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?
Like any twelve-year-old, I dreamed of overthrowing the government, declaring my homeland a dictatorship and enslaving the general population.
At eighteen, I longed to enter a convent and devote myself to weaving tapestries, overthrowing the Mother Superior and enslaving the nuns.
By thirty my more radical instincts had been tempered and my sole ambition was to be ironically jaded and short of breath when climbing stairs. I am happy to say, I achieved my goal.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
At eighteen I was of the firm belief that Charles Darwin was the root cause of both my existential angst and my post-breakfast bloating. It took years for me to realise he was only the cause of my post-breakfast bloating.
The classic sitcom The Munsters was repeated numerous times throughout my childhood and I’d suspect it was, at least partly, the inspiration for my first book – Watching the Munsters. In literary terms, the missing chapter of Picnic at Hanging Rock, in which the girls vanish through a tear in time, caused a brief, but profound, dizzy spell – resulting in several majestic and highly libellous letters to Joan Lindsey’s estate. Lastly, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love blew the windows open and allowed me to consider that living in my imagination was a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?
In my mid-twenties I noticed that due to a certain amount of excessive creative energy, my weekly shopping list ran to three hundred pages and contained long tracts of surrealist poetry and third person narratives with a whimsical bent. As such, I felt becoming a novelist was the path of least resistance.
6. Please tell us about your latest novel…
Anyone But Ivy Pocket is the compelling tale of a twelve year old maid of no importance. She is violently deluded, majestically self-important, frequently ill-mannered and has the intuitive sense of a pound cake. What’s more, Ivy’s caught up in a ghastly business involving a murdered duchess, a mystical necklace, a brattish aristocrat and a most remarkable destiny.
7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?
It’s my sincere hope that they take the book away with them after reading the work – and then burn it. I’m against lending books to family or friends. Ditto, libraries in general. This has less to do with any philistine tendencies and more to do with a thirst for royalties.
8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?
Wilkie Collins springs to mind, primarily because he is a master of understatement and economy. As does Charity Bullhorn – Charity was Beatrix Potter’s maiden aunt and is long forgotten. She wrote a dozen novels in her short life, including A Certain Kind of Trollop and Tart with a Teapot. One cannot read her books and fail to be confused.
9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?
My artist goal is to complete my forty-four volume nordic noir novel exploring the co-dependent relationship between a vegetarian serial killer and a psychologically damaged kitten suspended from active duties. I am three pages in and so far it’s going gangbusters.
10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
Stop. If that is not an option, then write the book you’ve always wanted to read.
Caleb, thank you for playing.
Anyone but Ivy Pocket
by Caleb Krisp
Ivy Pocket is a twelve-year-old maid of no importance, with a very lofty opinion of herself. Dumped in Paris by the Countess Carbunkle, who would rather run away to South America than continue in Ivy’s companionship, our young heroine (of sorts) finds herself with no money and no home to go to … until she is summoned to the bedside of the dying Duchess of Trinity.
For the princely sum of £500 (enough to buy a carriage, and possibly a monkey), Ivy agrees to courier the Duchess’s most precious possession – the Clock Diamond – to England, and to put it around the neck of the revolting Matilda Butterfield on her twelfth birthday. It’s not long before Ivy finds herself at the heart of a conspiracy involving mischief, mayhem and murder. Illustrated in humorous gothic detail by John Kelly, Anyone But Ivy Pocket is just the beginning of one girl’s deadly comic journey to discover who she really is …
About the Author
Caleb Krisp was raised by militant librarians who fed him a constant diet of nineteenth century literature and room temperature porridge. He graduated from the University of Sufferance with a degree in Whimsy and set out to make his mark in the world as a writer.
Years of toil and failure followed, until, following a brief stint working in a locked box, Caleb moved to an abandoned cottage deep in the woods and devoted himself to writing about the adventures of a twelve-year-old lady’s maid of no importance.
Caleb has a strong dislike of pastry chefs and certain domesticated rabbits. His only communication with the outside world is via morse code or kettle drum. He trusts no one.