The Kidlit Interview Series
Jimmy Coates seems like an ordinary boy, but he’s not. He’s genetically engineered to grow into the perfect government assassin. Speed, strength and deadly instinct – it’s all in the blood. He has to fight not to kill, while his government fights to kill him. Jimmy can only trust one man to bring the country back from the brink of chaos. When that man disappears, Jimmy must battle the shadow of corruption. But the shadows are darker than they seem, and the darkness reaches further than Jimmy could ever imagine.
Scroll down for the awesome book trailer for the latest Jimmy Coates, Blackout!
Obvious choice would be any of the authors who’ve faced real combat. Andy McNab and Chris Ryan spring to mind. Or a survival expert like that Bear Grisly, or whatever he’s called. He’s written a book or two, hasn’t he? Although there’s always a risk with a survival expert that they decide the best way to survive is to eat you. I should find an author who’s just a little bit fatter and a little bit slower than me. So I can eat him or her if we get really stuck, and if the zombies come after us they’ll catch the other author first and I’ll be able to get away.
But I’d also want decent company. I don’t think I’d enjoy being lonely humans on the run with any of those guys. Too serious. So I need a fat, slow, friendly author. Do I have to repopulate the earth with this person? I’m thinking about this too seriously, aren’t I?
Actually, the more I think about this, the more I realise the perfect choice would be my missus, Mary-Ann Ochota. She’s written a book recently (Britain’s Secret Treasures) so she totally counts as an author. She’s also great in a crisis, top-class company, knows all about how to survive in the wild, loves fighting zombies and I could totally repopulate the earth with her. Also, she’s slightly fatter and slightly slower than me. Perfect. Done. Easy. Bring it on.
2) Look, I got a time machine on eBay! Where do you want to go? (Said time machine may possibly malfunction and leave you there. Possibly. It was *very* cheap.)
You’re not going to send me very far. I’m no fool. I’ll go back a week, please. Maybe two weeks. Just long enough to cash in at the bookies on major sporting events. That seems much more sensible than witnessing historical events or finding out what it’s like to live in another time. That’s what we have books for.
3) What’s your favourite thing about writing for kids?
I’m stumped. I got nothing. I like spending most of my life in my dressing gown, but I think I could probably do that if I wrote for adults, couldn’t I? I wouldn’t have to put a suit on just to write for older, uglier people.
I get no satisfaction at all from the beaming smiles on children’s shiny, silly faces when they read my books and it means nothing to me when parents and teachers get in touch to say thank you for finally getting a child to enjoy reading. Oh wait, yes it does. I’M SO CONFUSED. I do like those things. Are they my favourite things? Tricky. I do really like my dressing gown.
I can peel a kiwi better than anyone has ever imagined possible. The tragedy is, you don’t need to peel kiwis. You can eat them with the peel on. That’s a real talent that I have, though, not a ‘special talent’ I’d have if I woke up as a character in a children’s book.
So let me try again.
If I woke up as a character in a children’s book I think I’d probably be in a Dr Seuss book. I’m a strange mix of the Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle and the guy that sells the Sneetches all of those stars for their bellies. So my powers would include making a mess, convincing others to make a mess, claiming to be King and selling stuff. Hmm. Those also sound like real talents that I actually have.
Time for a THIRD TRY…
If I woke up as a character in a children’s book I’d almost certainly be evil. Or I could be the James Bond character from those Phillip Pullman books. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. I’m getting mixed up. Probably better stick to Dr Seuss characters.
5) What’s the scariest or strangest thing you’ve ever done?
I fell in a sewer in India, which was both scary and strange. I electrocuted myself (scary, stupid). I fell off a moving bus (also scary, stupid). I fell asleep on a maharajah’s sofa (comfy, strange). I had lunch with Tom Cruise (tasty, strange). I met the Dalai Lama (charming, strange). I flew over a quarry down the world’s fastest zipwire at 120mph (scary, awesome).
6) What’s something you wish you’d known about writing when you started out? What’s something you wish you’d known about publishing?
I wish I’d known not to get a dog. I mean, I love the dog, but getting a dog is probably one of the worst things you can do if you want to write.
About publishing, I wish I’d known that my publisher really had no idea what it was doing. I should have followed my own instincts and imposed my will much more strongly.
7) What would your daemon be?
Pigeon. No, monkey. No, eagle. No, cat. No, monkey. No, pigeon. No, orangutan. Can I have a dragon? What are the rules here? Are there any? If there are any I’m going to ignore them. I’d like another me please. A slightly smaller me. Who can fly. And has the gift of foresight. And is also a monkey. FLYING MONKEY FUTURE ME. Excellent.
8) My books don’t have dragons, but they do have... twists, action, spies, thrills, chases, surprises, mystery, philosophy, depth, power, triumph, betrayal, disaster, pigeons, tricks, and millions and millions of tiny pieces of ME.
Susie Day, author of Pea's Book of Holidays!