We’re loving the look of Rachel Delahaye and Jamie Littler’s Jim Reaper: Son of Grim, just released by Piccadilly Press! It’s brilliant to have Rachel on the blog today to answer some 5-4-3-2-1 questions.
5 pieces of advice you’d give yourself if you could travel back in time to before you became a published author
You have to BE BRAVE! I was so scared of being judged, I kept my writing to myself for a long time, even though I wanted to be an author more than anything else. But you have to take the plunge, and if your work isn’t liked, then the feedback will help you.
Just FINISH something. It sounds silly advice but I have hundreds – hundreds – of unfinished novels on my desktop. I’d get to a hard bit and give up. But if you don’t finish a story, you’ll be frustrated and cross with yourself – and, of course, you’ll have nothing to work with.
LEAVE IT! I used to think that because I’d been passionately scribbling, my writing must be brilliant. Not so. Leave it for a couple of weeks, even months, and come back to it with fresh eyes. You’ll see what needs improvement – and it will need improvement!
SHHHH! Lots of people suggest talking about your project to make it come alive. For me, it was the opposite. It was like letting the air out of the balloon. It lost its magic. I gave up on so many projects because of that. Keep the secret. Keep the excitement! Keep going!
SPY! Take a notepad and pen everywhere. See a funny person? Write it down. Here a funny conversation? Write it down. By thinking I’d remember it, I missed so much great stuff! I kick myself now.
4 classics you wish more people were reading today
Under The Mountain by Maurice Gee. It’s the tale of telepathic twins, who stop an ugly force taking over the world. It’s set against the dramatic landscape of New Zealand – I absolutely love the descriptions – but it’s other-worldly, too. And very dark.
A Rag, A Bone and a Hank of Hair by Nicholas Fisk is a sci-fi with a breath-taking twist. I can’t tell you any more than that – you just have to read it!
The Quangle Wangle’s Hat by Edward Lear. My favourite picture book of all time is so beautifully absurd. I love the pictures and the made-up animals, like the Bisky Bat and the Pobble Who Has No Toes.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl doesn’t get much of a mention these days, but it’s so full of mystery and intrigue and I remember being utterly captivated, wondering if I would become special just for having read it…
3 songs that sum up the last novel you wrote perfectly
Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might Be Giants. It’s just fun, clever and a little bit bonkers, which is so much like the character of Will in the Jim Reaper series.
I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra. Jim’s curiosity will always get him into trouble with his dad, who is trying to keep a deadly secret, but they love each other to bits.
I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash is my ultimate feel-good Jim song. Jim spends much of his time thinking about the meaning of life. It can be dark and confusing at times, but he always comes to the conclusion that everything is going to be okay.
2 places you love to read
I love reading out in the open, especially by a wide lake or calm body of water. I get distracted easily, so it needs to be peaceful.
Bed. No place like it, although I can’t start reading if I’m too tired or I wake up with my nose in a book. Literally.
1 TV show you can watch all day long (when not busy writing)
Nordic Noir – you know, those mystery shows from Denmark and Sweden that go on forever and have subtitles and juicy plot twists at the end of every episode. That’s story-telling on a huge scale, and is about the characters as much as the story.