Having enjoyed the creepy goings on in Nearly Departed, I am pleased to announce that Rook kindly answered a few questions for us! Thank you Rook!
Where did the idea for the story come from?
I have always been fascinated with the paranormal, since the first time I was haunted by an invisible ghost cat who always used to rub around my legs and bring them up in allergic rashes. About five years ago i had the idea to write a YA novel centering around my interest, I wanted to be based in reality, with realistic characters - as I think that makes it all the more scary and it was after I had come up with the main characters that I developed the story out of them.
Which character is most like yourself? Which is farthest from yourself, and why?
Hmmmm. They all have elements of me. I am a fact geek, like Jay. I love doing research and finding out how things are done, that was one of my favourite parts about writing Nearly Departed. Like Kelly, I can be a bit fierce to hide my inner insecurities and like Hashim I often rather stick my head in the sand that face what is really going on. Also I've felt like Emily, lost and on the outside, but I suppose the person who is most like me is Bethan. Straightfoward, honest, Bethan wants to do the right thing, even if its not always easy.
Do you know yet how many books will be in this series? Are there any hints you can give about book 2?
At the moment I am planning three books in this series, (Yunaleska: Yay!!) but that could change. The next book is called IMMORTAL REMAINS. I can't give too much away, as it would spoil NEARLY DEPARTED for anyone who hasn't read it, but there are plenty of twists and turns and a lot of spookiness!
Which was scarier for you, writing about the psychic scream, or writing about Carter?
Good question! I think that for a lot of young people real life is much scarier than any horror. I wanted to spook my readers, but I wanted them to feel for the real life situation the characters have to survive in too. There are really people like Carter out there - and that is pretty scary. But the ghosts in Weirdsville out scare him any day of the week.
Do you have an actual Muse? Or do the characters speak to you? (Yes, I realise both might label you as missing a few screws but most writers either have a Muse, or characters talk to them.)
I don't have an actual muse...I do get very involved with my characters and it is a little bit like they take over my hands when I am writing. I try not to tell too many people that in case they think I'm barking.
What has the road to publication been like for you? At what moment did you feel 'Yes, I can write'? What do your friends and family think about it all?
The road to publication for me has been a happy one. I have been writing adult and teen fiction under another name (Rowan Coleman) for almost ten years and have fifteen books published in total now. The reason I decided to use a new name for this book is because I mainly write for women and girls and I didn't want to put boys off from picking up NEARLY DEPARTED. I got my first book deal after winning Company Magazine Young Writer of the year in 2001 and have been writing non-stop ever since. I have alway written, since I was child, despite dylexia but I don't know that you ever feel you have got writing nailed, every book is a new challenge and adventure, especially the Weirdsville books because I haven't written anything like that before. My family and friends are always very supportive of me, and it never stops being a thrill when you see a new book in print. I count myself very lucky to have my dream job.
What happens in a typical writing day for you?
9.30 to 2.30 and then sometimes 8.30 to midnight!
A few random questions: Can you write through any distraction (music/children/ etc) or do you need silence? What is your favourite writing snack/drink?
I can't write through children or music with lyrics but I do like to write in a busy noisy cafe, in fact I often find it easier than sitting in my lovely quiet studio. I suppose I drink about a ten cups of coffee a day, so that would be my favourite drink - and if ate as many biscuits as I wanted to whilst writing I wouldn't be able to get out of my chair!