Friday, 31 March 2017

TRS interview with best-selling author Joe Craig

On the 22nd March, the very funny and TRS favourite, Joe Craig visited the school to perform and inspire our Years 7 and 8!  At the end of the day, Joe kindly agreed to be interviewed by one of our Year 10 students, Ben McGowan.  An edited version of the interview, which was written for the school newspaper, appears below: 

You've visited hundreds of schools, do you ever get bored?
A: Not really, I try to limit myself to twenty schools a year and I always try my best to make each event different and exciting.

What do you want people to get out of your books - what do you want them to feel?
A:  Utter paranoia. I want them to trust no one. It's not being pessimistic either it's just realistic.

Have you ever based a character on someone in real life?
A: I don't believe so. I've based some character’s relationships on close relationships in my life, such as my wife and her brother and the relationships I had with my friends as a child.

You often write from the perspective of a teenager or a young person do you ever feel like perhaps you’re slightly off in how you portray them, you’re obviously not a teenager yourself?
A: I try not to reflect today's young people because I'm not confident I could. I mostly reflect upon my own childhood, which is why the universe of my books is set slightly behind us in terms of technology.

What's it like working with a publisher such as Harper Collins, do you have a lot of freedom?
A: Well, I have relatively large amounts of freedom and good editors and as time has gone on they've allowed me even more freedom. There's probably only one thing they've ever made me do that I regret putting in.

Have you ever decided to just scrap a large piece of work?
A: Yes a few times, my second book was technically the third book I wrote. There was another version which I scrapped entirely to start all over again.

Do you have any sort of routine for writing or a favourite place to write in?
A: My study mostly, sometimes I'll go to the cafe. I normally use either notebooks or some sort of portable typing device

Who are your three biggest influences in literature?
A: It's tough to narrow it down to three, but my top four would be Robert Ludlum, Lawrence Block, Vladimir Nabokov and Paul Auster.

What are your memories of GCSE English?
A: I mean, considering our setting, I'm not sure if I should really say, but I didn't really read any of the books apart from Macbeth and I just somehow managed to bluff my way to some good grades.

So you chose to turn down a job at an oil company in favour of a life in the creative arts and literature, why was this? 
A: Partly due to practicalities such as location but also I just wanted to pursue music further.

Have you made a lot of sacrifices and taken lots of risks to be a full time writer?
A: I think with any creative job it's always a lot more unstable than other jobs. I've tried my best to do things to make it more stable but there are always risks. There are also lots of benefits though - I'm much more flexible with work hours and at the end the joy of it all beats everything else!

You are also a musician, what's that like and does it influence your literature or vice versa?A: Well, my creative thought process is quite similar but obviously a book takes a lot more time to write than a song.  However, music has taught me the difference between intellect and instinct.

You've done some work in the movie industry too, would you ever consider making a movie adaptation of one of your books?
A: Absolutely! I'd love to make a Jimmy Coates movie and there are also films I've made that I'd like to adapt into books. I always found movies more accessible from a younger age, therefore movies probably influence my writing more than other books. I've watched many more movies than I've read books and even when I didn't read a lot of books I was always watching movies.

If you would like to read the Jimmy Coates series by Joe Craig, all seven books are available to borrow from the Discovery Library.  The release date for the final book in the series, Genesis, is yet to be confirmed, but is one our wish list.  Watch this space! 

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