We have cupcakes:
and champagne .... there are soft drinks too ... please help yourself.
Darren: Where did you get the idea for Spooking from?
I really have no idea with this one. Not at all. But Tom, Amanda and Marcus just walked in all fully formed.
Lucy: Are they based on real people?
No certainly not. I try to avoid making my characters like people I know. It can get you into a lot of trouble. Mind you the other day a couple of my first year students were behaving more like high school kids and I threatened to put them into a story. They said “Oh yes, please. Will you?” You can’t win can, you?
Alex: But they’re real places, aren’t they?
Well, yes, the real life ones are. Yes. Hamble, the bridge across the river, the Menai Straits, the pier at Bangor … and a certain little blue ford fiesta that used to belong to my son, later driven by my daughter, was called Binky. She didn’t have quite the same adventures as Binky in the story, though.
Greg: How long did it take you to write it?
The first draft took about six weeks. I was lucky in that I went on a writing retreat for three weeks. Well- I was working as a writer in residence actually but had lots of writing time. I got most of that first draft down in that time. Then it was back to reality. And as always, I spent a lot longer editing than writing. I think it was finished about nine months later.
Lucy: How long did it take you to get it published?
Well, I finished all of my editing in 2009. I sent it out to a few agents. One of them liked the sample chapters and synopsis and asked for the rest. She ultimately rejected it but said she would like to see more scripts from me. I then put it on the back burner a while whilst I concentrated on other projects. Then I came across Crooked Cat who seemed to be looking for exactly what Spooking is. A couple of people I know are published by them. So I sent off my script and here we are.
Tammy: What was it like working with Crooked Cat?
Straight forward and fun. They’re very professional. There’s been all the usual editorial work, naturally.
Greg: But hadn’t you edited it carefully yourself?
Of course. But you know, a fresh pair of eyes … There wasn’t anything difficult. If a bit of text wasn’t working, it wasn’t working. Mostly I agreed with the suggestions. If I didn’t, I just had to look for something different. What I ultimately chose was better than my original. That’s fairly normal. Thank goodness for editors!
Lucy: Is Spooking like the rest of your work?
It’s quite different actually. I usually write either for older teens or 9-11s. And my novels are generally a bit longer. Plus all those academic papers and the occasional short story or piece of flash fiction for adults. Spooking is a bit of a one off, actually.
Greg: So we’ll not be seeing any more stories like Spooking in the near future?
In fact, I am working on another text called Veiled Dreams. It would make a good companion novel for Spooking. Who knows, if Spooking sells well…. Look. I’d better go and socialise. There are more folk arriving.