Candy Harper Talks To Bookbag About The Inspiration For The ''Faith'' Series

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Candy Harper Talks To Bookbag About The Inspiration For The Faith Series

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Summary: Candy popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us about some stuff which helped her write some other stuff.
Date: 24 April 2014

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SOME STUFF THAT HELPED ME WRITE SOME OTHER STUFF

I’d like to pretend that HAVE A LITTLE FAITH and KEEP THE FAITH were inspired by an eclectic assortment of influences ranging from silent films to unfinished symphonies. The truth is a little less fancy. My inspiration for the Faith series includes:

My hilarious teenage years

I’ve been asked a few times if Faith is based on a young me. Faith is a red-headed, big-mouthed minx who just can’t seem stay out of trouble. She’s nothing like me as a teenager.

I was blonde.

I also get asked if I really stole my teacher’s car. The thing is, having watched Orange is the New Black I’ve realised that stuff from your past can really sneak up on you. So I don’t think that now is the time to get into who stole what or who ran over whose foot with it.

My now years

Milk-boxing? That counts as a sport in our house. (If you haven’t tried milk-boxing yet, you need to read HAVE A LITTLE FAITH and give it a go. It’s going to be huge at the 2044 Olympics.)

Freaks and Geeks

It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly how this extremely funny (and sometimes moving) set-in-the-80s series about outsider teens inspired me to write Faith. But I do know that the more we can push the idea that watching funny TV about teens = writing funny books about teens that pay the mortgage, the more likely my husband is to believe me.

Teenagers who have tormented me

When I was a teacher, certain lessons with certain classes seemed to last an eternity. At first I used the traditional teaching methods to get through them (whiskey in the desk drawer / mentally composing my letter of resignation / throwing dictionaries at the students’ heads) then I realised that since the children were robbing me of my youth / will to live / faith in human nature, I may as well steal something back. After that I started noting down the outrageous things they did and said to use as material when writing. As long as I kept it quiet so that they could watch people backflipping into empty swimming pools on YouTube on their phones, we all got along very well.

The great thing about Year Nines is that they would rather do absolutely anything other than read Shakespeare, this means you’re in a good position to experiment with them (although if you do sign them up for pharmaceutical trials you’re going to have to expect a few letters from parents). I got to ask my lot some questions about friendships and dating which was really useful when I started work on Faith. I also tried out a few things on them that helped me with the dystopian series I write, although there’s no truth in the rumour that I made the two children with the lowest test scores fight to the death. And any kid that says there is has forgotten that contract I made them all sign.

My friends

I think the funniest times happen with your friends because you know them so well; having a shared history of stupid things that have been done and said adds an extra layer to all your laughs. My teenage friendships really inspired me to try to create a group of friends who are all different but get along really well (most of the time.) I’m very grateful to my friends. Not least because there was a period of time when if anyone said anything even vaguely amusing I would whip out a notepad and jot it down, and yet none of them ever stabbed me in the eye with my own pencil. Not once.

Not my Aunt Jean

While I want to admire a tweed-wearing, cross-stitching, model-rail-enthusing, 47 year-old woman for genuinely believing that a wise-cracking mini-skirt-wearing teenager is based on her, I also want to say NO AUNT JEAN, JUST NO.