Copyright Ben Appleton/Photox 2019
I am really glad you’ve accepted my interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Thank you for the invitation!
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I always loved books, so I don’t remember a time before I wanted to be a writer. I wrote many short stories as a child, and started writing my first novel when I was thirteen. I’ve been addicted to writing and reading ever since.
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
I sent it to a publisher when I was seventeen, and I was very lucky—it was accepted, and became a bestseller. Since then I’ve written 27 more novels for kids and teenagers. But Blake is my first book for adults, and the first book of mine to be translated into German.
Could you describe literature in three words?
Handle with care.
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
I like to think I’m open to everything, but I generally avoid bestsellers, or anything that’s been adapted for film or TV. If I read what everyone else is reading, I’ll start to write like everyone else is writing.
What’s your favorite book?
Hard to choose, but I love The Nowhere Manby Gregg Hurwitz. It’s pretty much the perfect thriller.
“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” –W. Somerset Maugham
EBooks or paper print?
Both, but I prefer paper.
What inspires you?
I’m usually not “inspired” so much as “troubled”. I write when something is worrying me. When writing BlakeI was concerned about capital punishment, and more generally the idea that it was OK to kill someone to save others. More recently I’ve been troubled by social media, particularly the mob-justice aspect of it, and how willing good people are to condemn total strangers.
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
Count Rostov from A Gentleman in Moscow by Amos Towles.
He just seems like he’d be good company. Full of stories and cheer, regardless of the surroundings.
What’s your worst nightmare?
I used to have recurring nightmares about being eaten alive. Since writing Blake, they’ve mostly gone away. Sometimes getting something onto the page gets it out of your head.
The best decision of your life was?
Quitting my day job to become a full-time writer, with the encouragement of my wife. It was risky, but it turned out great.
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
Thank you! The sequel to Blake comes out in English on March 4th—hopefully the German edition will come soon after. I’m also working on a five-book thriller series for teens and preteens called Liars, all of which will be released this year.