Friday, October 17, 2014

Email to Joe Craig. Response from tired Joe Craig avoiding the washing up

Dear Mr Craig,

I teach at a specialist dyslexic school and one of my students loves your books especially the Jimmy Coates series. As part of his homework he had to write five questions to ask you about the book he was reading. He was so excited over this homework that I thought it would be a good idea to write to you. We spent a lesson looking at your website and constructing an email to you.

I typed what L wanted to say. I only hope that you have time to reply to him as this would be so inspiring. I have used my personal email in the hope that we receive a reply.
Many Many thanks Mrs C, one to one teacher of L
Hello my name is L I am nearly 11 years old (six more days!).
I have written because I want to find out more about the Jimmy Coates books. I have finished reading Jimmy Coates Killer and Jimmy Coates Target and I have almost finished reading Revenge. My favourite character is Jimmy because he is pretty clever and he is really good at fighting. Here are a few questions I would like to ask you if you have time I would appreciate a reply.
1. What encouraged you to write the Jimmy Coates books?
2. What’s your favourite book?
3. Who is your favourite character in the Jimmy Coates books and why?
4. What age is Viggo?
5. Are you going to write more Jimmy Coates books in the future?
6. Do you write any other books other than Jimmy Coates?
I would appreciate it if you were able to send me a reply. Thank you for your time. L


Dear L and Mrs C,
Thanks for getting in touch. I really enjoyed your lovely email. It’s put a big smile on my face to hear that you’ve been enjoying my books. I’m not so sure I like being part of someone’s homework, but I suppose if you HAVE to do homework then it’s probably a good thing that it’s all about me. Maybe suggest to your school that all homework is about me from now on. That will make things far simpler for everybody.
A very happy birthday for when the day comes, L. I hope your 11th birthday is better than mine. I spent my 11th birthday in prison in Cuba for a crime I didn’t commit. Well, I did commit it, but hardly with much enthusiasm so they shouldn’t really have blamed me. I expect you’d rather I just got on with answering your questions now. So...
1. What encouraged you to write the Jimmy Coates books?
Usually when I answer this question I lie. I say something like, “Oh, I just wanted to write an exciting story.” But the honest truth is that it was a lot of little things that all combined and I can’t remember all of them. I was reading a lot of books at the time – that helps. I was also watching a lot of movies – also a great help. Harry Potter was already hugely successful but it annoyed me that everybody thought its success was because people loved witches and wizards. I can’t stand witches and wizards. I had a bad experience with a wizard in that Cuban prison. I liked Harry Potter because of the mystery, adventure and good twists. Not the magic. So I decided to come up with a story that had no magic in it, but even more mystery, adventures, suspense, action and loads more twists.
2. What’s your favourite book?
My favourite of the books that I’ve written is Jimmy Coates: Blackout. To me, it’s clearly the best in the series. I think each book I’ve written has been a bit better than the one before it because I’ve been learning a lot about writing as I go. It’s more fun that way, and also I can’t stand all those series that start off well but then get worse and worse. It’s so lazy. No excuse.
My favourite book by another author is probably Bend Sinister by Nabokov. Or The Sneetches & Other Stories by Dr Seuss. Both mind-blowingly good in different ways.
3. Who is your favourite character in the Jimmy Coates books and why?
It’s very hard to have favourite characters in my own books. Some have more interesting plotlines than others, but a lot of the interest for me is in knowing where they’re all going to end up and who’s going to die. That kind of thing. So some of my favourites are Miss Bennett, Eva Doren, Paduk (oh by the way, Paduk’s name came straight out of that book by Nabokov, Bend Sinister) and Saffron Walden.
4. What age is Viggo?
I could go back and check this in my notebooks but I honestly can’t remember. He has to be old enough to have worked in the secret service 12 years before the books are set and probably have been in the army before that. Maybe. But he has to be young enough to make women’s hearts go all wibbly. His name is a pretty obvious nod to Viggo Mortensen, the actor, who is in his mid-fifties now, I think, but must have been in his early forties when I started writing the books and created the character of Christopher Viggo.
5. Are you going to write more Jimmy Coates books in the future?
I’ve written 7 and there’s going to be one more – Jimmy Coates: Genesis. That will be the final one, which will bring the whole series to a big, exciting, surprising, twisty ending. I haven’t written it yet but the plot is all planned out in detail (I came up with the ending and the final twists when I was plotting the very first book in the series over 10 years ago). I will finish writing it at some point but there are a couple of other things I’m working on first, so don’t hold your breath. Also, as you can probably tell from some of my answers here, when I do sit down to finish writing it I’ll have to re-read the rest of the series first and all of my notes to get everything fresh in my head again.
6. Do you write any other books other than Jimmy Coates?
So far I’ve written one non-Jimmy Coates book, which is a short thriller called Lifters. I’m really proud of it. I hope you get the chance to check it out and that you enjoy it. I’ve also written three other short thrillers, which are all coming out in e-book stores in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for those. They’re called
HEAD STRONG
SAVE THE HUMAN and
THE MENDAK AFFAIR


 I hope that answers all your questions. Yes, ALL your questions, about EVERYTHING. I don’t just answer questions about Jimmy Coates, you know. I am full of WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE that stretches across all time, all space and any kind of surface (not vinyl).
Have an excellent day, a moderate evening, a great night, then a better-than-average morning and then a surprising afternoon. Follow that with a strange evening, a fun night, a superb morning, a messy afternoon, a shocking evening and a restful night. You can change the order of those around if you want to, but not too much. I don’t like it when people monkey around with the order of mornings and afternoons and such things.
OK, I have to go now. Someone’s knocked on the door. It’s their house. I probably shouldn’t be hanging around outside a stranger’s front door.
Best wishes,
Joe
www.joecraig.co.uk
www.jimmycoates.com
http://turkeyonthehill.blogspot.co.uk/
@joecraiguk & @joecraig
http://youtu.be/mLdAQoLRXBk.

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