Right, my first ever blog hop! I had no idea such a thing existed until I was tagged by the lovely Bernie McGill who I’ve mentioned before. Basically it’s a chance for writers to share a little bit about their work with other writers and the rest of the world. So, here’s everything you wanted to know...
What are you working on at the moment?
The sequel to Death & Co. I have a working title but I’m always madly secretive about my titles in a superstitious sort of way! So for now it is simply known as Book 2!
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Obviously as a sequel the idea came with the first book. It actually came about when I was typing an email to my friend and writing mentor Bernie McGill (who tagged me to do this blog!). I was supposed to be meeting her for coffee and emailed to warn her that I had a stinking cold. Given to hyperbole I started writing, ‘I don’t just feel like death; I feel like Death’s ailing granny...’ and felt that sudden PING! that every writer will recognise – that feeling that there’s an idea there that just might lead to something. I started writing Death & Co. that night and never looked back.
What genre does your book fall under?
Near world Teen / Crossover fantasy. It’s our world with a twist!
Which actors would you choose to play in a film rendition of your book?
Ha! Every writer’s fantasy question! Unfortunately it would require a time machine as I have a few ideas for actors but they would all need to be about ten years younger than their current age. So for example Nathanial would be perfectly played by a slightly younger Colin Firth. He has the right combination of compassion and slight careworn-ness – not to mention being so very English! Kristin Scott Thomas would make a lovely Elise – and no one could do Auntie Jo more justice than Jo Brand.
What is the one sentence synopsis for your book?
Gah! Every writer’s most hated question! I guess it would be: Fifteen year old Adam is a reluctant Luman, guiding souls into the afterlife – when all he really wants is to be normal. Most of the tension and humour in the book revolves around this.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I have a lovely agent called Gillie Russell at Aitken Alexander Associates. She negotiated my deal with Hot Key Books, a fantastic new publisher specialising in teen fiction. They only launched last year but they’ve already had amazing success – one of their first books Maggot Moon won the Costa Children’s Book Prize. So basically my book has found a good home!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote it in bits and pieces – so worked hard for a couple of months, then took a four month break, then finally found the motivation to finish it over another couple of months.
What other books would you compare this to within this genre?
This is a really tricky question because I can’t think of any other books quite like it. In my mind it’s the book lovechild of The Inbetweeners and The Adams Family!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve already described the lightbulb moment up above – but I guess I have always been interested in the supernatural and general existential questions about why we’re here, what our lives mean – and of course if there’s anything out there after we die. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t wrestled with these questions at some stage in their lives – and the variety of answers is amazing. Plus I've worked with teenagers for most of my career and they are great craic - so it seems natural to me to make them the heroes of everything I write!
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
The book is quite dark in places – but it’s also very funny – a bit like life itself. The general consensus from the people who have read it is that ultimately it’s a joyful, life-affirming book in spite of the tough subject matter. I’ll let you be the judge!