Monday, 2 July 2012

Author Interview with Tony Talbot

Today I'm excited to have Tony Talbot on our blog!
Tony is the author of a number of books,
one of which you will get the chance to win here today!

What if your whole life was a lie...?
Amon Russo lives in a huge villa in a huge estate on a secluded Greek island with his super rich parents. He has a private beach, his father has a yacht and as many fast cars as he can think of.
He seems to have it all...
Until he starts to see cracks in his life.

Why do his parents keep him hidden away from the islanders?

Who is the strange girl living next door in a deserted villa?

The truth shatters Amon's life, and the price he pays for finding out the truth is almost too high...

If everyone you know is lying to you...who do you trust?

About the Author
Tony Talbot started writing short stories in 2008, after a dream he had and couldn't shake;
Finally his wife told him to write it down or stop talking about it.

He wrote his first Young Adult novel, Over the Mountain, in 2008,
and has completed several others and a growing raft of short stories since.

He lives in a village in Leicestershire UK, with an American wife he met online and a teenage cockatiel.
As well as writing, he enjoys reading, playing Mario Kart on the Wii and not getting enough exercise.

 When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I always wrote little biographies of my friends, embellishing them with elaborate details ("He was elected ruler of the world and all round Best Human Ever"), but I started doing it 'properly' in 2008, when I had a dream about a faked Apollo moon landing. I'd been thinking about writing anyway, and my wife told me to write it down or stop talking about it. So I wrote my first short story, and everyone who read it seemed to enjoy it enough for me to try another...and another...

Tell us a little bit about Taken.
It's a story about that sneaking feeling we sometimes have as teenagers that our REAL parents are out there somewhere and the one's we live with aren't related to us. It makes it easier to ignore it when they're mean and nasty or just plain jerks. It's also about fighting to become your own person, someone unique from your parents. As well as being a kick-a** thriller, if I say so myself.

  Where do you come up with the ideas behind your stories?
Usually a dream will stick with me, or a comment I overhear will trigger something. My last book came from a comment from a friend at work saying he thought the cafeteria was overfeeding him. Bang! Story about a school where the teachers are cannibals, fattening the kids up – so no PE, a library full of books about food. The story didn't come out like that – they never do – but it was a fun place to start.

 Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
Quite a few! I love Stephen King's work, his grasp of ordinary characters thrown into extraordinary situations. Charles Dickens for his descriptions of cities. My favourite YA author is John Marsden, who wrote the Tomorrow when the War Began series. He taught me that you didn’t have to patronise your YA audience to write for them. He writes for teens, but he writes for them as he would an adult. Recently, I loved Unwind by Neal Shusterman. That was outstanding, something everyone should read.

  Can you share a little of your current work with us?
This is a section of Chapter five of 'Eight Mile Island'. It’s the first morning for the main character on the exclusive island and boarding school where the story takes place, and he decides he's going for a walk...

 "The sound of the sea comes from behind my cabin, and I walk around the back to look. Running away from the rear of the cabins is a vast field of neatly mown grass, framed on both sides by tall forest. The grass stops in a sharp line— there must be a cliff or a beach down there maybe— and the sea starts, a happy blue sparkle. A pair of soccer goalposts gape at each other across the field, muddy grass in front of their mouths, and behind them an American football pitch is marked out in ten–yard lines.

At the back of my cabin is a three–seat bench, and I sit and take in the view, gazing at the distant line where the grass and sea meet. It's very relaxing, just sitting here. If I didn't escape from schools professionally, as it were, I could get used to this.

 My tablet chimes, but I ignore it, yawning and stretching. What's Montgomery going to do to me? It's time to find out if I can push it, just to see how much he pushes back.

I walk down the field away from the school and the cabins, the dew on the grass soaking the bottom of my jeans and wetting my sock and foot through my leaky left trainer. I wander off the grass towards the trees, losing myself in the dense ferns and undergrowth, pushing them aside. The incessant water dripping from the canopy quickly soaks my shoulders and head.

 I stop and tilt my head back, opening my mouth for a second and drinking the cool water. Some of the trees are immense, a good five metres in diameter. I stare up through the canopy, looking at—

 – That's one of the new ones –

 – where is he, where, where –

I spin, staring at nothing but shadows. It was the voices, like yesterday, when Glaze tried to distract me in the NEV. Only there were two this time.

No...voices isn't the right word. It's like sharing the mind of a predator seeking fresh meat, drooling in anticipation of its next kill. There's something...wet...about them, something hungry in the way the sss in where is he was stretched. They were young voices, though…perhaps my age.

Something is definitely not right.

 I turn in a full circle, looking up at the thick green canopy, trying to see if anything hides in the branches. A twig snaps off to my right and I twist towards the sound, watching.

 Nothing moves but the trees.

 I'm starting to freak myself out. Maybe I'm still jet–lagged or something. I chuckle, trying to convince myself. Stupid of me to think there's something out here anyway, watching me right now, looking at the back of my head, wondering if I'm tasty. 

Still, it would be a good idea to get out of these trees. I make it out of the forest without quite breaking into a run. I never liked trees that much anyway. I'm a city boy—give me concrete any day. 

I walk with my head down, back towards the school, staring hard at the grass and not looking up until I'm inside, with solid walls between me and the outside world.

 It isn't until I find room G14 that I realise one of the voices was a girl."

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like to read - of course! – and I also spend some time playing on my Wii with my wife, who usually beats me on Mario Kart (Unless it's Delfino Square, which I OWN!). I'm quite getting into blogging, thinking of new posts to write and book reviews to do. Writing and promoting takes up most of time these days!

  Do you have any hidden talents?
I can juggle. But only three balls. While no one is looking.

  What book are you reading now?
I bought "The Complete Charles Dickens" for my Kindle and I'm working my way through them alphabetically, and at the minute I'm reading Barnaby Rudge. Before that I read Divergent in a weekend!

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  1. Yup, the blurb from his book shows a definite love of Stephen King and suspense. Nice interview.