You wrote Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools for your daughter because she was not old enough to read your adult novels. How did you feel when you were about to release your first ever novel that is aimed towards the younger audience?
I felt slightly apprehensive to tell you the truth. After all, I had never written for children before and I didn’t really know if I could do it. Happily, Sebastian Darke seems to have connected with children all over the world, from the UK to China, from America to Sweden. So I guess I owe my daughter, Grace, a big thank you!
Throughout the book, there is a picture in every couple of chapters that illustrates one of the scenes from the story. Did you plan on having them there in the beginning? What prompted you to add some visuals into your novel?
It was my publishers, Random House, who decided to commission illustrations. Writers don’t generally get to pick and choose their illustrators, but I’m so pleased I was given Julek Heller to create images for the series. He’s been around since the 1950’s and works in the classic tradition, which makes him ideally suited to Sebastian’s adventures.
If you were to choose any character from the first novel of Sebastian Darke to live their life for a day, who would it be? Why?
I hate to admit it but it would probably be King Septimus. Wouldn’t it be really cool to have that combination of great power and unscrupulous evil, just for 24 hours?
Is Sebastian Darke going to be a trilogy? Or are you planning on writing more of his adventures?
It’s going to be at least a trilogy, because the third book is already written and will be released (in the UK) in February 09. However, I would like to do five books in total. I have it all planned out in my head. We’ll have to see if readers ask for more!
Since Sebastian Darke: Prince of Pirates have not yet been released in North America, can you give us a short summary of it?
Sure. Sebastian, Cornelius and Max are on the trail of pirate treasure – the legendary lost treasure of Captain Calinestra. On the way they experience deadly pirates, voracious sea monsters and monstrous lizards. Sebastian, meanwhile is pursued by female sea captain, Jenna Swift. Does she get her man? I’m not telling!
Now on more of a personal level. You finally have a taste of writing for both adults and children/teens. Which audience do you prefer to write for?
Well, one of the nicest things about writing for children is that you do go out to schools and libraries and meet your audience on a regular basis. Kids are so inspiring and they ask you the maddest questions! So, yes, I really am having a blast being a children’s author. Having said that, I haven’t quite given up on the idea of more adult novels in the future.
Since I'm not familiar with your adult novels, what are they usually about?
I would describe my adult books as psycho-thrillers – they are usually about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances and often feature a high body count.
Are you about to release any other novels? How about a quick summary of them too?
I’ve recently released the first of my Alec Devlin thrillers – The Eye of the Serpent, which is set in the Valley of the Kings, Egypt in 1923. It features a 15 year old archaeologist, an ancient curse, shambling mummies, flesh eating insects and a whole sarcophagus load of other scary stuff. So far, it’s only been released in the UK, but fingers crossed!
And lastly, give us an interesting fact about yourself!
I used to be the singer in a rock no roll band called… wait for it… Hieronymus Bosch!