Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Young Spy Books - Interview

A new facebook page has popped up dedicated to 'Young Adult Spy Books'. If you like that kind of thing I suggest you check it out: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Top-Teen-Young-Adult-Spy-Books-Novels/483752575076886

It's early days but they've already got an interview with me up there. It's one of those interviews in which I talk about setting people off on their path to greatness...

Mr Joe Craig author of the Jimmy Coates series has kindly agreed to be interviewed by us.

1) Did you write stories at school for English projects?

We didn’t do a lot of story writing at school. We did some, but not a lot, and I’d say I was above average at it, but not outstanding. I didn’t read enough. I was very good at visualising stories, coming up with good concepts and a lot of the other skills that go into being a novelist. I got better and better at telling stories – orally – but didn’t get enough chance to practise writing them down until I left school.

2) Where did the name Jimmy Coates come from?

First, I wanted to go one better than James Bond, so I moved one on in the alphabet to get the initial letter for his surname. Then I wanted a contrast between hard and soft. A first name that sounded innocent. Just like Jimmy looks from the outside. But his surname had to have a harder sound. Something a bit tougher and something with a double meaning to suggest the different layers of Jimmy’s character and physical make-up. So the name reflects the character.

3) I read you are writing a new novel, will it be young adult?

I’m not sure what it is at the moment. I don’t set out to please a particular audience. I just want to tell a good story. So at the moment it’s still a rough first draft. The main character is in his teens so it will probably end up being YA but the plot of this one is a bit less... obvious. It’s not high-concept like Jimmy Coates. I’m trying something a bit more like the deeper novels I enjoy reading. But after I’ve finished this one I’m going to get back to writing a cracking thriller. I enjoy that.

4) Jimmy Coates has been associated with the Alex Rider, Jason Steed and CHERUB series. Have you read any of them and if so what ones?

I’ve read at least one of each of those series. I’ve also enjoyed Jack Heath, Andy Briggs, Mark Walden and there’s a newer one from Alan Zadoff I’m looking forward to reading. The master is Robert Ludlum, but he never wrote anything for kids. I try not to read too many other young spy thrillers – especially not while I’m working on a first draft – because I want to be able to stick to MY story and tell it the way I want to tell it. Influence can be productive, but it can also throw you off track.

5) What would be the greatest thing to happen to the Jimmy Coates series in your wildest dreams?

Hard question. A Jimmy Coates movie would be great. Or a Jimmy Coates TV series. But that’s not the be-all and end-all. It feels much more important to me for people to read the books and enjoy them – especially people who wouldn’t normally be into reading. So I suppose the greatest thing to happen would be in several years for some great writer or scientist or statesman to say that when he or she was a kid, the thing that got them reading and set them off on their path to greatness in the world... was the Jimmy Coates series. I’d like that very much.

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