Thursday 8 September 2016

UKYACX Blog Tour: Q&A with Niel Bushnell, author of The Timesmith Chronicles

TITLE: Sorrowline
AUTHOR: Niel Bushnell
PUBLISHER: Andersen Press

PUBLICATION DATE: January 3, 2013

Amazon - Goodreads

Twelve-year-old Jack Morrow is used to life being complicated. His mother died five years ago, and his father is now headed for prison. But then Jack discovers he’s a Yard Boy – someone with the ability to travel through Sorrowlines, the channels that connect every gravestone with the date of the person's death – and he is quickly pulled into an adventure beyond anything he could have possibly imagined.

Finding himself in 1940s war-torn London, with his then-teenage grandfather, Davey, Jack soon realises that his arrival in the past has not gone unnoticed. The evil forces of a secret world are determined to find him – and to find out all he knows.

As Jack struggles to survive, he comes ever closer to unlocking the dark secret at the heart of his family, and to – just maybe – changing his own destiny . . .

TITLE: Timesmith
AUTHOR: Niel Bushnell
PUBLISHER: Andersen Press


Amazon - Goodreads

Thirteen-year-old Jack Morrow is haunted by the past. For Jack is a Timesmith, someone with the ability to travel through Sorrowlines, the channels that connect every gravestone with the date of the person’s death.

Desperate to help his family, Jack finds himself in a secret world deep under the streets of 1940’s London. Hunted by the undead knights of the Paladin, Jack must find the fabled lost sword of Durendal before it can be used to resurrect the Paladin’s evil master, Rouland.

Hi Niel! Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your published novels?

Talk about myself? That’s dangerous, we might be here all day! I’ll try to be brief: I’m a writer, artist and animator. I’ve written novels for adults and children, as well as scripts for television, radio and film. My first novel, Sorrowline, won the Northern Promise Award in the 2011 Northern Writers’ Awards. It’s a time-travel fantasy adventure about a boy who can travel back in time through gravestones. No, really! My second book, Timesmith, takes the story further, and a third instalment is due out next year.

What can you tell us about your next book?

I’ve actually got three books finished that I’m hoping will come out soon. Two are YA stories with elements of sci-fi and fantasy, the third is an adult fantasy story with dollops of humour. So they’re all quite different, but they all start from ‘What If?’ ideas that tickle my brain until I have to write them down.

If you weren’t an author right now, what would you be?

I’m also an illustrator, an animator and a university lecturer, so I’ve got a few stand-by careers that I’d probably do more of if I wasn’t writing. Failing that then I’d love to try my hand as a blacksmith!

The Timesmith Chronicles is a fantasy series – what do you enjoy the most about writing fantasy books, and what aspect of that genre do you find the most challenging?

I really enjoy trying to weave in elements of myth and folklore. I think we are familiar with a lot of old stories so if we come across an element in a new story – like a magical sword for example - somehow that makes it feel more real because we’ve heard about Excalibur. The possibilities are endless, but you have to make it all believable. That can be the hardest, and most rewarding part.

Do you have any writing rituals, or a place or time you prefer to write?

I always slaughter a goat before I start writing. I smear the blood over the walls and wait for the words to come to me. OK, maybe I don’t do that. I have an office at home but I often get more work done on my laptop in whatever location I happen to be in. Trains are a great place to work, if you can get a window seat with a table!

How excited are you to be involved in UKYACX?

I’m really looking forward to it. It’s always great to meet enthusiastic readers, but I’m also a reader myself so I’m very excited to see all of the other authors who will be there. I’m sure I’ll be getting a few books signed by them.

What does writing children’s fiction mean to you?

It’s such a broad welcoming space to be in. Children and YA readers are much more open to strong unusual ideas told well. And the community of authors is very supportive of each other too.

Are there any stand-out authors or books that inspired you to write your own?

I think Alan Moore is a huge influence. I read his comics throughout my childhood and teenage years, and still do now. V For Vendetta is a stand-out story for me. I love Douglas Adams and Robert Rankin. Their books are hilarious and I can re-read them over and over again. I also love hard sci-fi by authors like Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Stephen Baxter.

Could you name your favourite book (or books!) you’ve read so far this year?

I’ve just finished Dune by Frank Herbert and the Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I loved the scope of Dune and the intimacy of the Graveyard Book.

If you woke up one day and found yourself living the life of one other author – who would you want that author to be and why?

It’d be great to be Roald Dahl for a day, seeing how he came up with so many memorable ideas while he was sitting in his shed. And Barry Hutchison is a machine! His daily word count is off the chart. I’d quite like to see how on earth he does it. It probably involves goat’s blood…

Thank you, Niel!

Make sure to follow the rest of the UKYACX MG blog tour - authors and blogs below:

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