A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
I’m very excited to be interviewing fellow Allsort Roy Gill today. Roy’s second novel, the wonderful WEREWOLF PARALLEL, is out today from Kelpies Teen, so I thought I’d find out a bit more about it and why he wrote it…
Hi Roy, happy book birthday! First of all, can you tell us a bit about WEREWOLF PARALLEL?
The story takes place a year after the events of DAEMON PARALLEL. It’s a sequel, although I’ve worked hard to make the story accessible for new readers too.
Cameron is running his business, trading between the Human and Daemon worlds, with the help of his friends Morgan and Eve. His new life comes under threat from the sinister Dr Black and Mr Grey, just as his own werewolf powers take a surprising and disturbing turn. What lengths will he go to, to stop his world being torn apart?
What was it like, returning to the Parallel and the Daemonic realm? Were there any surprises along the way?
It was great to return to an established world and characters. It felt like a story that needed to be told, actually – I’d been brewing ideas for quite a while! It’s fair to say my readers started asking “when’s the sequel?” before my publishers realised they needed one – which was both flattering and frustrating. It’s worked out well though – WEREWOLF PARALLEL along with a new edition of DAEMON PARALLEL has become part of the launch of a new YA imprint: KelpiesTeen. That’s a great thing to be part of, and the new design that links both books was a very positive surprise.
There were plenty surprises in the telling of the story too (see below…)
WEREWOLF PARALLEL is stuffed full of magic, monsters and myths. What sort of research did you have to do while you were writing it?
A fair amount – everything from wolf packs and steam engines, to dark matter and the Roman occupation of Edinburgh! I try to treat it lightly, and I’m not above bending the facts to suit the story (although I was grateful to an astronomer friend for checking that Dr Black’s theories weren’t ridiculously divorced from reality). Most research comes via the library or the web – the best part though is wandering round real life locations, like Calton Hill or the Museum of Scotland, and planning out chase scenes or discovering unusual things to include…
What was your favourite thing about writing the book?
Anything that turned up unexpectedly! I plan the plot in some detail before starting, but I see that as something to improve on, not stick to doggedly. Sometimes I’m surprised what my subconscious is up to, working away in the background… For example, there’s one character’s voice told in the second person, directly addressing the reader. I had no idea why I was writing those sections like that until I got to almost the end of the novel, and it suddenly all clicked into place.
Nearly all the jokes or funny lines (at least I hope they’re funny….) emerge in writing too, and they’re probably the most enjoyable part of the process. I’ve got used to being stared at, laughing to myself in coffeeshops…
What did you find most difficult?
The final chapter was a challenge. It’s both sad and hopeful, and feels heavy with the weight of things left unsaid. I got a bit choked-up writing it. I think it’s also the part I’m proudest of too.
Do you have any writing rituals/superstitions?
There’s a certain time in the morning by which I need to get started, otherwise my brain never gets properly into gear and I might as well resign myself to a day wasted. The trick is to get email, twitter and facebook turned OFF before then!
I’m still working on getting this right…
If I’m up against a deadline, and energy levels are flagging, the Saint Etienne singles compilation ‘too young to die’ played loud is the ultimate restorative.
And finally… what’s next?
I’ve been asked to submit stories to a couple of interesting anthologies, and I’m currently working on two scripts – one for a project yet to be announced, the other speculative and something entirely new for me. I hope there’ll be a third novel too, but I’m swithering as to which idea to go for. Asides from that, I’m open to offers!
Roy was born in Edinburgh, grew up in Kirkintilloch and Kirkcaldy, and studied at Stirling, Strathclyde and Glasgow. He is now living in Edinburgh again. In 2008, having completed Glasgow University’s Creative Writing MLitt, he was shortlisted for the Sceptre Prize. In 2010 he was the winner of a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust. The manuscript of his first novel, Daemon Parallel, made the shortlist for 2011 Kelpies Prize. It was then published by Floris Books in 2012. A sequel, Werewolf Parallel – alongside a new edition of Daemon Parallel – will help launch the YA imprint KelpiesTeen in Spring 2014. Roy’s other writing includes a season special – ‘The Prime of Deacon Brodie’ – for Big Finish’s audio drama series The Confessions of Dorian Gray, and short stories for iconic adventurers Iris Wildthyme and Sherlock Holmes. In another life, Roy researched media fandom at Stirling University, but is now happier making up his own stories… He is currently working on more scripts and a third novel.
Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, dystopian thriller ACID, is out now in the UK, US and Spain and was the winner of the 2014 North East Teenage Book Award. It will be followed by THE FEARLESS, another stand-alone thriller for young adults, on 24th April 2014 (2015 US). By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and dog in the North East Midlands.