Today we have the pleasure of hosting
The Rules: if you find a secret inventory of utterly deadly battle tech.
1) Do not try it.
2) Do not tell anyone.
3) Do NOT let thieves in behind you.
What’s more secret than top-secret? The Inventory. Home to the deadliest inventions the world isn’t ready for. Invisible camouflage. HoverBoots. Indestructible metals. Plus a giant creature of chaos: war robot Iron Fist. No one has ever broken past the state-of-the-art AI security system. (Seriously, most bad guys have no idea this stuff is even there.)
Problem 1: the security robot wasn’t ready for a gang of kids wandering in.
Problem 2: they’ve ONLY brought the ruthless Shadow Helix gang in behind them. Seriously dumb, but it’s a bit late for ‘sorry’.
Say hello to trouble: the Iron Fist is in the wrong hands!
Let’s start off with the basics, what made you decide to write The Inventory: Iron Fist?
The Inventory was a place I had thought about for a long time. It came from old comic books, or rather the classified ads they had at the back (which they sadly no longer do) offering x-ray specs for sale or mind reading caps or instant muscles. They were fabulous devices that always prized my pocket money out of my hand, and inevitably what arrived in the post was often a sad piece of cardboard that didn’t work. Of course, I knew the real reason I wasn’t receiving the gadget was because of a massive government conspiracy that placed these amazing devices in an underground vault to keep them out of the hands of the likes of me. Thus the concept of The Inventory was born. What if…? which is one of the best questions a writer can start with.
So far, what book have you enjoyed writing the most?
Ooh, that is such a loaded question. Of course I MUST say it’s this one! But that’s not entirely true because everything you write gives you something different. I’m lucky that I get to write TV shows, screenplays and comics too, so I have the opportunity to write across a massive range of genres and formats.
Last year I wrote my first non-fiction book, HOW TO BE AN INTERNATIONAL SPY (Lonely Planet), which was amazing fun, and a completely different experience to writing The Inventory. When I wrote the rebooted TARZAN series it was a joy to swing through the jungle, ride elephants and explore the savannah – both on the page and for research – giving me rich experiences I would never otherwise have had. Thinking about it now, The Inventory is the polar opposite of Tarzan – high-technology, set mostly underground, and not a parrot or chimp in sight. That in itself gave me a thrill as I was exploring new territory, this one set in the world of science.
If you could live in any one of your books, which book would you choose?
I am a self-confessed geek, and I love gadgets and gizmos. For me, living in The Inventory would be like Christmas day every day… if I was allowed to play with all the tech. But, like the hero of the book, Dev, I would probably grow very frustrated if I was told it’s all hands off. In that case, I would love the opportunity to jump books and live in the tropical paradises that form the rainforests of Africa…
If you could live in any book in print, which book would you choose?
If you had any doubts of me being a nerd, then I will erase them right now: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Why? Because I would have the chance to explore an entire universe carrying only an eBook, a towel and a fish in my ear. So, okay, the earth may have been destroyed, but there is plenty more fun to be had out there…
What is your writing space like? Is it your desk? A library? A café?
I have a home office that is bedecked with toys, action figures, comics and other items designed to occupy my time when I am supposed to be writing. However, over the years I have discovered that when I have the onset of writer’s block, a change of location always helps. I have a small library space at home with a fish tank that provides yet more hours of distraction, and I tend to get more done there. I can’t work with other people about, so cafés are out of bounds for me if I want to get any work done. I prefer to have relative peace, a movie soundtrack blasting out to inspire me, and a pint of tea by my side.
What is the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received?
“Don’t run over the dog,” was a rather terrific piece of advice given to me on my first driving test. I failed the test, but the dog escaped (it was a textbook emergency stop). I also remember working on a movie with my brother in which we were told “This story is so great, we’ll use it as a sequel!” – unfortunately the first movie was terrible and flopped. But the very best piece of advice was given to me by my amazing English teacher, Mrs. Cross, while I was in Junior school: “That was a very imaginative story, you should write another one.”
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
It’s an old tried and tested piece of advice: don’t give up, finish it. I don’t simply mean write a book then spend the rest of your life trying to sell it – that’s unlikely to ever happen. I mean write a book, then another, then another… maybe write a TV show or something else to change your pace. Find something you feel comfortable with. You may want to write a book, but it maybe, frankly, awful. However, you could have had huge success if you’d only taken the idea and developed it as a screenplay. I tour around the country quite a lot and one of the most common phrases I hear is “I’ve started writing a book,” – you seldom ever meet somebody who has finished writing the book. And, if it is your first book, I recommend shoving it in a dusty drawer and writing another because that one will be better in every way. You can always go back to book one and rewrite it!