The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Glenn Dakin

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Glenn Dakin

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Summary: The Candle Man returns in a second volume about a British - yes, British! - teen superhero. Pacy and packed with rather marvellous villains, this steampunk and comic book-inspired series will be a big hit with tween readers. We asked Glenn Dakin all about it.
Date: 6 June 2011
Interviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy

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The Candle Man returns in a second volume about a British - yes, British! - teen superhero. Pacy and packed with rather marvellous villains, this steampunk and comic book-inspired series will be a big hit with tween readers. We asked Glenn Dakin all about it.

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

Glenn Dakin: Wow - that was frightening - I won't try that again in a hurry! I picture anyone who loves fantasy and imagination. Anyone who sits down to watch Dr Who on a Saturday.

  • BB: What inspired you to write the Candle Man series?

GD: The original idea - of a boy who glows in the presence of danger - came from a line in the Hobbit, about Gandalf's sword, that gleamed when goblins were nearby. I was trying to invent a superhero comic at the time, and this vision of a strange, glowing figure haunted my imagination for many years. But the idea was too gentle, too whimsical. I called my character the Candle Man, inspired by the spooky scenes with candles that were often seen in horror comics. One day I was chatting to a friend about how dark the world of fiction had become. Of the top of my head, I said. These days, if you wanted to write a story called Candle Man he'd have to have him melting people - I stopped in my tracks. There was the idea. Suddenly it all fell into place

  • BB: Our favourite creatures in Society of Dread are the crelp. They have the most wonderful one-liners! Is a dark but comic element essential in a superhero story?



GD: I think the humour is needed to lighten the darkness. The crelp are funny because they say exactly what is on their minds. Let us killing you - and don't fight back please is exactly what they hope for. Honesty is always funny if it pops up in unexpected places…

  • BB: If you could choose only one, who would be your favourite superhero?

GD: Spider-Man. I love the early Stan Lee stories that are like soap operas, showing you Spidey’s home life, romantic disasters, rows with his boss, as well as his crime fighting. The comics are so rich, funny and insightful. I have read the first 100 issues of Spider-Man over and over again.

  • BB: You have created cartoons, written TV scripts and now you are writing novels. What is your favourite medium?

GD: I love novels because of the delicate control you have of what you want to say. Writing Candle Man as a novel, instead of a comic, allowed me to go deeper into my hero’s heart and mind.

  • BB: Where do you write?

GD: At home I usually work in the kitchen at the back of the house where I can feel away from the world. I am a restless writer and work on trains and in a variety of cafes around Cambridge where I live. I am often writing in my head, as I drift around the world with a far away look in my eyes!

  • BB: What advice would you give a young person who wanted to become a writer or cartoonist?

GD: Show your work around - don't hide it away. Don’t be afraid of criticism - it will help you. Just learn a bit, be optimistic and plough on.

  • BB: Which three books should every child read?

GD: Three books which made a big impact on me as a child: The Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson; The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

  • BB: What's next for Glenn Dakin?

GD: I am writing Candle Man 3 and also developing ideas for new books that I have to keep secret for now! But watch my website: www.glenndakin.com

  • BB: Looking forward to Candle Man 3! Thanks, Glenn.

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