Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Author Interview: Nick Green

Today, I'm delighted to introduce Nick Green, author of the Firebird Trilogy. 

Here is a bit about his book:
How do you save the world when it’s already too late?

Don’t ask Leo Lloyd-Jones. Ask him how to steal a car, or why he got excluded from every school in Salford, but don’t come to him for help. This whole thing must be a daft mistake – and if anyone finds out, he’s done for.

Earth is on a deadly collision course that nothing can prevent. The only real hope is Project Firebird, deep inside a blast-proof bunker that shelters the brightest and bravest young people. Leo has got mixed up with the likes of Rhys Carnarvon, the celebrated teenage polar explorer, and other child prodigies chosen to keep the flame of civilisation.

Among them is the streetwise Paige Harris, a girl Leo likes a lot (but not in thatway). Paige is desperate to rescue her little sister from London before the catastrophe strikes. But no-one is crazy enough to try that. Almost no-one.

Leo is about to find out why he’s here.


When did you start writing?

I wrote a couple of fantasy novels at university, while pretending to study for an English Lit. degree. I was tremendously lucky that self-publishing was (at that time) enormously difficult and expensive, and that ebooks simply didn’t exist, because otherwise I would have inflicted those dreadful books on the public. They really were embarrassingly bad. Nevertheless, it was a great learning process, and I’m very glad all the same that I had that experience of writing them. It proved to me that I did have the stamina at least to get to the end of a full-length novel. Once you know you can do that, the whole process becomes less daunting.
How did you get the idea for your book?

One of the starting points (there were several) was an activity holiday I went on as a teenager. You know, first time properly away from home, thrown in with a bunch of other kids in a remote and picturesque location, a taste of independence, however tame it might seem in hindsight. You can’t beat that first sense of real adventure – the sense that anything could happen. Well, in Project Firebird, it does happen. The kids on this particular holiday discover that they’ve been brought here for quite a different purpose altogether. It fascinated me to wonder: what if you were there, and the adults in charge suddenly told you this? How would you react? What would it be like to be in that position?

It was only meant to be a single book initially, but somehow it grew into a trilogy and got a bit epic. Probably because that question is one that kept having to be asked, and answered, over and over again.
What other works do you have out?

I’ve got a trilogy out with a small Scottish publisher: The CAT KIN trilogy, the first book of which was originally with Faber. This is more middle-grade (the FIREBIRD trilogy tends more towards YA territory) but it has readers of all ages. The Cat Kin is still probably my best-known work. I’ve also published one other book independently to Kindle, which is The Storm Bottle. That’s got dolphins in it (and whales) which a lot of readers seem to like. Dolphins are endlessly fascinating creatures.
Are you currently working on any other projects?

After the FIREBIRD trilogy I’ve decided to recharge by attempting a work for slightly younger readers again – perhaps more towards the younger end of middle-grade. It’s a story about winter – it’s hard to say more than that at this stage, because I’ve only just got started. After that I’ve got some more YA ideas tentatively lined up, but none of them have quite caught fire yet. I find I have to wait until an idea really screams at me.
What are your favorite movies, tv shows, and bands? Do they influence your work?

I’m not exactly passionate about movies and TV, although I have learned plenty from them. I loved the Lord of the Rings adaptations (less so The Hobbit films, though they are still good) and they are masterclasses in storytelling – how to condense a huge amount of source material and keep it dramatic. I was also a fan of the TV series 24 in its early days, for the way it managed to keep up the tension throughout – very hard to do.

Music is probably the area where I’m most geeky. I’m a big fan of prog rock (bands like Yes, Dream Theater and Ayreon). I find the complexity of the music makes for an endless mine of ideas, for a writer – and there’s no chance of plagiarism, because no-one can tell that this scene comes from that passage of music! But any song can be a source of inspiration – a song by the boy band Take That (‘The Garden’) was a major influence on Firebird – and I used to hate Take That with a passion. (This feels like a confession.)
In three sentences or less, why should people go out and read your book?
Actually I think they should stay in and read the book. Less chance of getting wet.

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