Eddie wins a national competition where she can spend a day with her local MP and give a speech in Parliament (where she'll meet the Prime Minister) but it's a prize Eddie doesn't want! When her dad is injured in a workplace accident he sets his sights on getting better for Eddie's day with the PM...so Eddie sets her sights on going through with it.
Kia ora Brigid, please tell us about Eddie McGrath!
Eddie, the youngest of three sisters, likes staying in the background of life with her cat, Olaf, and her book. She has two best friends and an aunt who is a druid. She likes her life the way it is, ordinary, and has no ambition. Except to read more books.
Unfortunately for Eddie she wins an essay competition and the prize is to give a speech in the Beehive. To the Prime Minister. And, because the speech is going to be live-streamed, the rest of New Zealand.
Everyone is delighted for her, but Eddie secretly plans to turn the prize down. The idea of public speaking and all that attention horrifies her.
Meanwhile, fate has its own ideas. Five old cats, six determined chickens, a dog with bad hips and a boy with a greater fear of public speaking than herself lead Eddie into an adventure that means her life takes a turn that is far from ordinary.
What inspired you to write this book?
I thought it would be fun to take a bookworm, whose only ambition is to read more books, and throw uncomfortable challenges at them. I had the (real) image in my mind of a Year 8 girl sitting on the steps outside her classroom at going-home time. She was reading, completely oblivious to the clattering down the steps of the kids on scooters who parted like the red sea around her. The book she was reading was as big as her head.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
No routine really. I just opened the laptop on the kitchen table whenever I could. It depended on what else was going on - sometimes evenings, sometimes mornings. It was good to try and do some every day because then you stayed in the plot, but that didn’t always happen.
Why is it important to you that Eddie and her friends can help their community, even after her disastrous meeting with her local MP?
I like the idea of people with less power (young people, old people, chickens) joining forces to outwit the people with more power. Also, young people and democracy is another natural fit, I think. The way they do stuff together, how important their friends are to them.
What do you hope children and families will take away from the book?
I hope they enjoy it! That’s the main thing.
Who do you really hope reads the book?
I’m not aiming at anyone in particular. I hope that bookworms find it, and that the not so bookwormy find it.
What did you enjoy the most writing this book?
I had fun writing the dialogue between the friends.
Young people are so funny- years of eavesdropping has confirmed this to me.
What is it like to have the finished book in your hands?
It’s really exciting. It takes a while to take it in actually. I love how it looks - OneTree House have done such a nice job with it.