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Wizzy the Animal Whisperer

Let's Get Wizzy

12 August 2019

Interview with Author and Calibre Member Anthony Ridgway

By Emma Scott

Calibre member Anthony Ridgway doesn’t just enjoy listening to books he likes writing them too! Anthony is the author of two children’s books available in Calibre’s Audio Library which are all about Dan and the adventures he gets up to in his wheelchair called Wizzy. Although Anthony has cerebral palsy this hasn’t stopped him from honing his talent and pursuing his ambitions. I caught up with Anthony to ask him about his books and the processes he uses to write them:

Where did the idea come from to write about Dan and his adventures with Wizzy?

Well Emma the idea for the name Wizzy came from a friend Leo he saw me in my electric wheelchair and said "there goes Anthony in his Wizzy wheelchair" and so the name stuck.

When I am out and about children often stop me and say to who they are with what is the matter with that man? I just say my legs don't work. Children are fascinated about how a wheelchair works.

Where do you get the inspiration from for their next adventures?

The inspiration for the stories come from things I do like going on holiday. For example I had the idea for Wizzy the Animal Whisperer because I really did go riding on the back of a horse and cart the horse was called Nelly as in the story.

Do you plan your stories out or do you just write and see where the story takes you?

I have an idea for a story then I type it. I also write poems inspired by my life experiences.

I understand you use special technology to help you write your books, can you explain what it is and how it works?

I have a computer programme called Guide by Dolphin Computer Access. The computer tells me what I am typing by speaking out each letter it takes me about a year to write a book.  

What does it mean to you to have your books available in print and audio?

It feels quite funny to hold a book that you have written in your hands for the first time and to think that others will be reading and hearing your book. I just want to say a big thank-you to all the people that have helped me on the road to publication. As for having some of my books in audio it feels quite strange to hear other peoples interpretation of your work.

Do you have any input into the audio book production?

No not really although when Wizzy the Animal Whisperer was being recorded I did go up to the RNIB talking book studios in London to watch David Suchet and his wife Sheila when they were recording it.

I understand you won an award recently can you tell us about that?

Yes I did win an award recently. I belong to the Hampshire Writers Society at the University of Winchester. The founder of the society was Barbara Large.

She was my creative writing teacher and hugely supportive of me. She sadly died in March this year. HWS thought I would be a good candidate to receive the very first Barbara Large Memorial  Award. I had no idea that it was going to be me. I was speechless, HWS have different people come and talk to us about different styles of writing.

You’ve been a member of Calibre Audio Library for some time so would you tell us what the service means to you?

Calibre is a very valuable service long may you continue.

Finally, can you tell us what your favourite book is and why?

I like listening to a variety of books like Harry Potter or Catherine Cookson I do like a story where there is a good plot so I can identify with the characters so that by the end of the book they have achieved their goals.

If you would like to listen to Anthony’s books we have two of them in the library:

Wizzy’s Worm                   617317

Wizzy the Animal Whisperer     617524