Quick! Describe When I Was Joe in 7 words or less!
Ty witnesses murder, gets cool new identity.
Awesome answer! What inspired you to write When I Was Joe?
I got the idea of writing about witness protection from an item on the news. It's still an unusual thing in the UK, not like the US. Then there was a terrible spate of knife crime in London, teenagers being killed by their peers. It all worked its way into the book.
What was the most difficult part when writing?
At first I was daunted by the idea of thinking as a 14-year-old boy. I only knew one teenage boy - my nephew - and he wasn't anything like Ty. But gradually that became easier, to the point where I almost felt as though I had a teenage boy in my head somewhere.
Fill in the blank: "I couldn't have written When I Was Joe without_______"
The evening class I attended at City University in Writing for Children. Inspiration, feedback, guidance and encouragement from a great tutor (writer Amanda Swift) and fellow students. The best £140 I ever spent.
What's one thing you hope readers take away with them after finishing this novel?
I hope it'll make them think about crime and punishment and what it's like being a teenage boy.
Sequel to WIWJ, out now in UK
Releases in April for USA
Anything else you'd like to add?
It's a very British book, full of very British words. To help American readers understand words like tossers and naff, I've made a glossary on my blog, which you can find here . It may be incomplete - if there's any words which baffle you, just let me know and I'll translate!
I was so glad Keren had such a fabulous glossary on her site, it was so fun (and helpful) to read all the different slang and meanings :)