Sacha Cotter has a Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning, and spent six years teaching in New Zealand and Spain. She has completed several film courses, and her screenplay Wasabi Peas was a semi-finalist in the L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival in 2013.
Sacha is currently teaching. Keys/Ngā Kī is Sacha’s first book and has been a finalist and winner in both the 2015 LIANZA Awards and the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
Visit Sacha’s website for more information www.sachacotter.com
Want to learn a bit more about Sacha?
Who is your favourite fictional character?*
Pingu, Ramona, Coraline, The B.F.G and Matilda.
What’s the most unusual item in/on your desk?
A model T-rex with movable jaws. He just sits there, staring, reminding me that I was meant to use him in a short film involving a cardboard time travel machine and a dinosaur tea party – which I never got round to making. I don't think he's happy about it.
What was your inspiration behind The Marble Maker?
I have very fond memories of 'Marble Season' at my primary school. We had these amazing trees with big, curly roots which formed perfect holes for playing marbles. There were all these rules and regulations made by us kids. Every marble hole was named. It was an intricate, exciting world, just for children, so of course as an adult, I am drawn to returning there. Even now I find marbles captivating. I pick one up and I feel like it absolutely must have some kind of fascinating story behind it. They feel magical. It makes perfect sense to me that they would actually be made by children and that there is a whole world behind them that most adults don't even know about.
Do you have a bucket list? What’s the craziest thing on there?
I don't have a bucket list as such. In saying that I do like lists. Lists of things I want to learn, lists of things I'd like to write, lists of books I'd like to read. I'm definitely not into adrenaline inducing activities. I prefer to live my life in the 5km below the speed limit lane.
Maybe the craziest thing I want to do is write and direct a successful stop motion animation short or series. Crazy because I can't draw, have no time, or any real idea of how to do it. But I find myself daydreaming about it frequently.
Is there a book that everyone else loved but you hated?
I don't hate The Lord of the Rings, but I've picked up the first book a good few times and I've never gotten past the first page.
Who would you love to be the main actor of The Marble Maker if it was made into a movie?
Does Julian Dennison have a sister?
What was the hardest thing about writing The Marble Maker?
Finding the right story and tone for the concept. To start with, I wrote The Marble Maker in about three very distinct ways, including the first few chapters of a middle grade novel. I played around with these versions until I thought I had found the best way to tell the story. Then within that chosen version, I re-wrote and edited over and over and over again.
Even though I have finished The Marble Maker, I still feel quite taken with the premise and I have lots more ideas bubbling around – who knows, perhaps this picture book is just the start of my marble obsession and a much bigger story?
What book do you wish you could have written?
Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space. This Moose Belongs to Me. Lost & Found. Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Dragons Love Tacos. All of Roald Dahl's children's books. The One & Only Ivan. Weslandia. Where the Wild Things Are. The Tiger who Came to Tea. Skellig. The entire Mr Gum series by Andy Stanton. Singing Home the Whale. The 10pm Question. The Graveyard Book.
Sorry – did you say book or books?
Who is your favourite literary villain and why?
The Grand High Witch – how does she get all that face to fit inside that tiny mask?