A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
What do you wear as a writer? Working from home it doesn’t matter – as long as you don’t scare the postman! But out and about can be trickier…
If you write for adults – which I also do – you have a comparatively easy ride. At an event you’re probably expected to read a little, answer some questions from a chairperson, and that’s that. By contrast, if you write for young people, it’s not uncommon to be handed a microphone and a room and just be expected to get on with it! You have to stand up and be a personality – and that can be terrifying.
Part of my way to tackle this has been to realise that the person I am in front of crowds is actually just a performance. And just like any actor, the clothes I choose to wear can help bring that person into being…
I think, in retrospect, for the first few events I did as the author of Daemon Parallel I was trying a little too hard to be grown-up and respectable. Here I am back in 2012, dressed in a smart shirt and sober trousers.
Now, if anything, I go in the opposite direction. I’m a little bit grungier and rockier. My novels are often typed as horror – I’d personally say more quirky adventure or urban fantasy – but either way, I think I can afford to loosen up a bit.
I started to remember the writers I’d enjoyed meeting when I was a teenager: Terry Pratchett, gnomic, bearded and hiding under a giant hat, looked like he’d just finished delivering a seminar at the Unseen University. Neil Gaiman, effortlessly cool in art school black with a mop of hair, seemed halfway to becoming Morpheus the Dream Lord. What linked them both was they in some way resembled the stories they wrote.
So, short of dressing up as werewolf with fangs and contacts and pointy ears, here’s the basic “author” outfit I’ve developed over the past three years: black jeans, black boots, scary monster or skull print t-shirt!
And here I am with a lively P7 class I worked with as part of the Green Pencil Awards:
I feel comfortable in my clothes – it’s not a million miles from what I’d wear to a gig – and I think by going a bit gothic it instantly says something of my genre too. The T-shirt is a talking point – if I’m speaking to a group about inventing their own strange and fabulous creatures, you can be sure it’ll feature – and by being something I only put on for events, that helps too. When I pull it on, I feel I’m gearing up for a performance, and that means that the audience don’t just see Roy, they see Roy Gill: WRITER.
And that’s a role I’m learning to play.
Roy Gill is the author of Daemon Parallel and Werewolf Parallel: two dark fantasy novels that follow a teenage boy’s adventures across a transformed Edinburgh.
As a scriptwriter, his work includes two episodes of the acclaimed audio drama series The Confessions of Dorian Gray and the forthcoming Dark Shadows: Panic (all for Big Finish Productions).
Other recent projects include short stories for the anthologies Fifteen, Out There and Further Encounters of Sherlock Holmes. He was a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award winner in 2010.