Thursday, 2 February 2012

Author Q & A with Ed Hogan

Today marks the release of yet another awesome young adult book 'Daylight Saving' by Ed Hogan - a brilliant ghost story and thriller all rolled into one with some incredibly strong characters. It's one of my top picks for February, and marks Ed's first foray into young adult. To celebrate the occasion Ed was kind enough to answer some questions about the book, his writing, and what we can read from him next.

"Your first Young Adult book 'Daylight Saving' is out today, can you tell us a little bit about it and how the story came about?"

Well, I tend to wake up very early in the morning, and spend half-an-hour writing down whatever comes into my head.  One morning, I started to think about a family holiday we took - at a sort of leisure village - when I was a kid.  I really liked sports, so I had a good time, but I started to wonder how it would be for someone who didn't like sports.  I started thinking about such a boy (Daniel, in the book), and wrote a scene where he sees a girl swimming in the lake at the leisure village.  When she gets out of the water, Daniel notices that she has cuts and bruises, and that her watch is ticking backwards.  He also quickly learns that Lexi - for that is the girl's name - is a very funny and clever and strong young woman .  I just took that scene and went from there, really.  I've always been very interested in time, and that's one of the major themes of the book, I reckon.

"You've written adult novels prior to this release, how did you find the transition into the realm of Young Adult?"

I'd been reading a lot of YA stuff before I wrote Daylight Saving, and I'd been so impressed by the vibrant originality in the books.  People like B.R. Collins, Patrick Ness, and Mal Peet manage to put together extremely compelling stories that move very quickly but still contain these huge intellectual ideas.  I really loved writing Daylight Saving.  As well as being my first YA book, it was the first time I'd tried to write a thriller.  Handling a plot like that, with twists and turns, was a new thing for me.  I hope I did okay!

"And is it somewhere you like? Can we hope for more young adult books from you in the future?"

Yes!  My second YA book is called The Helmstown Messengers, and it should be published in 2013, all being well. It's set by the sea-side, and is about a man and a girl who share a strange gift. That's as much as I'm giving away at the moment!

"What drew you to writing? Is it something you've always wanted to do?"

Totally.  It took me a while to realise that it was something I could do as profession, but I suppose I've always been writing stories.  It used to be a very private thing, and I've always found it a great comfort.  People often say that reading and writing is an escape, and I understand that, but it's also something that has helped me to confront difficult things, rather than run away from them.

"And how did you make that jump from wanting to write to becoming a full time published writer?"

I'm not sure I'll ever be a full-time writer!  I still have a day job, and that's quite important to me.  It's good to get out of the house, and to meet people (so I can write about them!!)  In terms of the route to getting published, I did an MA in Creative Writing, which was very useful training.  The MA was partly funded by a literary agency called David Higham Associates.  They liked a short story I'd written (about a teenager, actually), so they gave me some money to do the course.  I met my very brilliant agent, Veronique, because of the bursary.  She sold my first book, Blackmoor, in 2008.

"Do you have any habits or rituals that come with writing? Music or times of day that are most productive for you?"

The earlier the better.  I usually get about three hours in before I go to my day job.  I haven't really worked out the best system for writing, yet.  One thing that works for me is carrying a little notebook.  I find that I have lots of my ideas when I'm walking to the train station.  When I get home, I try to turn the notes into little scenes, which I write down on index cards, and put in a small box.  I don't listen to music because I find it very hard to do two things at once (my brain capacity is quite small!)  I do, however, often take little breaks to mess around on the guitar.  I'm not very good.

"What's been the most exciting part of the writing and publishing process for you?"

The most exciting part is always the writing.  The first week of writing Daylight Saving was just brilliant.  I knew I'd got a decent idea, and I just walked around the flat, and around town, with my notebook, making up little scenes and getting a hold on these two characters, Daniel and Lexi.  I really loved writing Lexi.  She's had some traumatic experiences, but she never allows herself to be a victim.

"And what has been the most challenging?"

The challenge for new writers, I think, is finding time.  At the very start, you have to write when most of your friends are socialising, so that requires some willpower.  You sometimes have to accept that you won't have much money for a while, either.  Holidays are out of the question!  But that's actually fine, if you love what you do.  My friend Daniel describes writers as 'off-peak people', which is about right.

"What are you working on at the moment?"

With the help of my editor, Mara, I am revising The Helmstown Messengers.  I'm also doing some early research for the third YA book.  My second novel for adults, The Hunger Trace, is out in paperback next month, so I'm doing things to plug that, too (like mentioning it in Q+As!)

"And finally, will you be doing a tour or signings in the future?"

I'm definitely going to be doing some events in schools, and I'll be visiting some bookshops to sign stock.

'Daylight Saving' is available now from Amazon and all book stores, go forth and buy!

And enter the book giveaway I currently have open for a copy of Daylight Saving now!

You can read my spoiler free review here!

1 comment:

  1. Fab interview. Fabulous book too. Happy publication day Ed.