'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 26 August 2010

Author Interview: Steve Cole

Author Steve Cole is joining us today, all the way from the UK! Steve is the author of many adventure books and thrillers, including the Slime Squad and Astrosaurs series. 

AND he'll be in Australia in September, appearing at the Brisbane Writers Festival on September 2 and 3!

See more about Steve's work at stevecolebooks.co.uk and visit the Brisbane Writers Festival site for details of his appearances.

Tell us a little about you: what’s your background, your story? I was born just outside London in 1971. I grew up liking stories, then went to university to read more of them before going to work as an editor of books and magazines for both children and grown-ups. I wrote in my spare time and eventually I got to give up the day job and scribble full time.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? As an eight year old I used to write episode guides to a made-up TV show called ‘The Peter and Anne Adventures’. Naturally I starred as Peter, dashing ghost hunter and alien battler… The first actual story I wrote that I remember was written aged nine, called ‘Conkhead Island’ - a surreal epic about a living island shaped like a giant nose. Sort of set the tone, really.

What genre do you now write in? Children’s fantasy comedy-adventure and young adult thrillers.

What other genres have you written in? I’ve written lots of Doctor Who novels, some aimed at adult audiences.

What do you love about writing for children? You can let your imagination go on the rampage, the wilder the better. It’s very freeing.

Tell us about your path to having your books published. It was some poems I wrote for my magazines that led to my first books being published, little pop-up poem books. As a book editor for the BBC and then a freelancer I got into scripting lots of TV/movie tie-ins and series fiction that helped me get an agent. From there I started writing my own book series.

What are the greatest blocks or obstacles you have experienced on your book-writing journey? Alas, I suffer with Repetitive Strain Injury from too much typing. I write a lot more longhand now.

What’s a typical writing day? I’ve normally got a deadline looming so it’s pretty full on. I write on and off all day and half the night, breaking for meals, reminding the kids I’m still alive and so on. I’m probably a bit of a workaholic.

What advice do you have on writing? Be persistent, but be realistic. Don’t cling to treasured ideas that aren’t working. Grow a thick skin and listen to criticism. And enjoy what you do – if you’re writing for personal fulfilment first, you’re getting something out of it, whether or not publishers and plaudits follow.

What books did you read as a child? Endless Doctor Who books and Spider-Man comics… and plenty of Roald Dahl. I love the way his books make you see things differently. Like in The Witches, when the boy becomes a mouse but actually isn’t very bothered because he can see there are very good things about being a mouse… Fantastic Mr Fox is my favourite – tense, funny and very satisfying when the farmers are fooled and foiled!

What else do you like to do, other than write books? I play bass guitar, keyboards and write songs and sing in a pop band in my spare time.

What would be your perfect day? Lying guiltlessly on a beach in the sunshine all day then playing a sell-out stadium gig in the evening!

What five words best sum you up? Very, very lucky, slightly tired.

What’s next for Steve Cole? Nailing the last chapter of the latest book, then dreaming up the first chapter of the next.