Selby, the only talking dog in Australia and, perhaps, the world, is back with this new collection of his wonderful adventures.
The thrills come thick and fast in this sixteenth Selby book, as Selby is hurled out of the world's only sky-writing embroidery aeroplane to what should be certain death. Vampires invade Selby's peaceful town, and Selby is captured by a Shark Man on Death Island. The death-defying dog is put to the test time and again in these gut-wrenching and hilarious stories.
And all the while, Morrie Artie, the Evil Genius, and his thousands of agents comb Australia in search of this remarkable dog. Will Selby be sprung? Will his secret finally be revealed to the world? After over two hundred adventures, will this be the end of Selby?
There's only one way to find out ...
Duncan Ball is one of Australia's most popular authors for children. The books about Emily Eyefinger, the girl who was born with an eye on the end of her finger, are among his best-loved works. His books also include the Selby series.
Duncan lives in Glebe, NSW with his wife, Jill, and their adorable but incomprehensible cat, Jasper.
Author: Duncan Ball
Interview with Duncan Ball
Question: What inspired the Selby series?
Duncan Ball: As I tell kids in schools, Selby would ring me up and tell me these crazy stories and I decide to write them down!
Another answer is that I had written an adult and children's book before I was contacted along with other children's writers by Family Circle Magazine who asked if we had an idea for a series, for the magazine; the stories had to be very short (845 words on average) and based around one family. I came up with the concept of Selby because I wanted kids to be able to immediately relate to the character because I didn't have a lot of space to develop a character. I choose a dog even though I've only had cats myself as a kid, I'm not sure why
I knew this dog had to be a little bit different which is why he can talk; I also knew there were a few other talking dogs which is why Selby can talk, but is keeping it a secret from everyone!
A lot of plots for Selby just occurred to me and for a couple of years I was writing short stories about Selby and then I took the first 18 of them, rewrote them which allowed me to develop them further and I submitted them to Harper Collins who published them. The summaries caught the attention of the kids from the start.
Question: What inspires Selby's adventures and how do you think of these plots?
Duncan Ball: With great difficulty (laughing)! The hardest part for me is getting the plots to work. I have written over 200 individual stories about Selby now and I actually have put a lot of energy in trying not to repeat myself and having plots that work really well with a nice twist at the end. I think my hard work as paid off because kids really appreciate the effort.
Question: Can you talk about how Selby reaction to vampires?
Duncan Ball: There are vampires of sorts in Selby Sprung as well as a collection of other stories including Gary Gags who is Selby's favourite comedian and friend of the Trifles. Gary Gags tells these corny jokes with puns which I loved as a kid and still do including "I used to work in a blanket factory but then it folded". Dr. Trifle makes yet another invention in Selby Sprung along with many other entertaining stories.
I think the latest book; Selby Sprung will be the last of the Selby series because I have so many other things I want to write! I have however left myself an out at the end of Selby Sprung so I could write more Selby stories. Right now I am writing book number 11 of the Emily Eyefinger series and I have so many other projects, I'd like to be working on.
Question: Do you have a website?
Duncan Ball: My website is www.duncanball.com.au
Interview by Brooke Hunter