The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Martin King

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Martin King


Summary: We were rather taken by Martin King's debut novel Jack Hunter - Secret of the King and the opportunity to chat to him was too good to miss.
Date: 29 August 2011
Interviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee

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We were rather taken by Martin King's debut novel Jack Hunter - Secret of the King and the opportunity to chat to him was too good to miss.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Martin King: I picture my story to be like Shrek. Although it was aimed at children, all the parents loved it too. My story is definitely aimed at children between 8 – 13, but I also like to think their mums and dads would enjoy reading it as well.

  • BB: Where did the inspiration for Jack Hunter come from?

MK: It happened thirty years ago when I was still at school. I was with a friend called Beverly and we went to visit her grandad. He was very poorly, but as he sat there, his eyes lit up and he began to tell me a tale. He recalled the tale of falling into a hole in a field and finding a hoard of buried treasure when he was a young boy. Whilst writing my first book, a flash of this memory inspired the foundations for Jack Hunter.

  • BB: Did you have a lot of fun doing the research for Jack Hunter: Secret of the King?

MK: Absolutely. It meant I was able to visit the castle and some of the other places that are mentioned in the story, but I don't want to give too much away.

  • BB: Readers of Secret of the King can collect the letters at the start of each chapter to find the code-breaker. Do you enjoy puzzles?

MK: I love puzzles and mazes and secret tunnels. The idea came about because I know some children like playing with toys while others like building them also. So I thought rather than just having just an adventure book, why not write a story that also turns into the readers very own secret adventure.

  • BB: Where and how do you write?

MK: If I'm to answer your question precisely, I write at home before I go to work and when I get home. But the reality is, I never stop writing. Whether I'm lying in bed or driving to work, in fact all day my brain is buzzing with ideas and future adventures for Jack and his friends.

  • BB: I see that the book is dedicated to Shawn 'Holly' Hollingworth and I'm sure it's no coincidence that one of the boys in the book is called Holly. Tell us about the original Holly.

MK: He was my best friend when I was growing up. We lived next door but one to each other and we spent almost every hour of every day together. He never caused anyone any trouble or complained, but was always full of life. Sadly he died in an accident at eighteen. Dedicating this book to him seemd like a way of saying goodbye.

  • BB: Oh, that is sad, Martin. Did you enjoy reading as a child and have you still got any of your old books?

MK: I have got all my old books. Even when I left Coates Lane Primary school at the age of six, they gave me a Ladybird book 'man in the air'. WOW, I've just pulled it off the shelf now...1974.

  • BB: What are you reading at the moment?

MK: I usually have two on the go, so I am reading The Lost Files which is part of the I am number Four series and also the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by the late, great, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  • BB: You've got one wish. What's it to be?

MK: It would be to write full-time and be able to share as many of my stories with as many readers as possible. I hope they get to have as much fun reading them as I do writing them.

  • BB: What's next for Martin King?

MK: Well I have another book out towards the end of the year. It's called The Bully Hunters and it's very quirky. Not too dissimilar in style to a Roald Dahl story although I am not in any way comparing my work. After that I'm looking forward to the second Jack Hunter adventure which I'm currently working on.

  • BB: Good luck with those, Martin and thanks for talking to Bookbag.

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