The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Richard Smith

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Richard Smith


Summary: Jill thought that Time Trap by Richard Smith was a riproaring adventure and loved the real locations and the book's interactive website. She had quite a few questions when the author popped into Bookbag Towers.
Date: 16 November 2013
Interviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy

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Jill thought that Time Trap by Richard Smith was a riproaring adventure and loved the real locations and the book's interactive website. She had quite a few questions when the author popped into Bookbag Towers.

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

Richard Smith: A good question to start with. Thinking back, when I wrote in the early days, I wrote for enjoyment only. (Which I do now) But since going into several schools, I must say I look at my readers as a class full of pupils, making them judges, to try and keep my writing at a good standard.

  • BB: What inspired you to write a time slip story?

RS: From a very early age, I’ve been fascinated by time-travel stories and films. And as I have a passion for Victorian London, I suppose it was inevitable I would write a time-travel story set in the nineteenth century.

  • BB: All the places mentioned in Time Trap are real. How did you go about mapping the story to the locations?

RS: Another passion of mine is London, so it was fun incorporating some of my favourite landmarks into the story, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Seven Dials, the British Museum and the River Thames. Apart from the in-depth research regarding the locations, I studied the map of London on many occasions, directing the places where Jamie and Todd were to visit.

  • BB: We enjoyed the tension between Jamie and Todd that originated in their own time and peer group. What message would you like readers to take from this complicated relationship?

RS: Without giving too much away, I wanted to show through Jamie that youngsters don’t have to be in a gang or do bad things to think they are cool.

  • BB: Will we meet Jamie or Todd or Hector again in any future stories by you?

RS: I’m afraid not. Though, because I enjoyed writing about them so much, I have flirted with the idea of doing a sequel, but I don’t think there is enough material for another book. But if I was to do a sequel, it would be along the lines of Hector and Catherine coming to the 21st century, trying to find Jamie and Todd because the Chinese Xuni tribe are hunting him for stealing their time-travel secrets.

  • BB: What three books should every child read?

RS: Alice in Wonderland. Because if you want to read a great fantasy story, they don’t come much better than that.

Ghost Ship, by Dietlof Reiche. It’s a gentle ghost story, which I think every child would enjoy.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A real classic, dealing with good and evil, which I loved as a youngster. It has all the ingredients of a great story.

  • BB: What would be your desert island book?

RS: How to Survive on a Desert Island, by Robinson Crusoe. No, seriously, that’s always a good question. At the end of The Time Machine, H.G Wells returns to the present briefly, and takes some books back with him. What would he have taken to the future? I like facts on many subjects, so I’d have to go for a really big encyclopedia to keep the boredom away.

  • BB: Which authors most inspire you?

RS: I’ve read the entire Tunnels books series, by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. It’s a huge saga, fantastically written. Will and Chester are up against a terrible enemy, and the battles with them are aplenty. I would also have to say J.K Rowling, for her prolific imagination and her endeavours to succeed in the early days of her career. And Charles Dickens; if you want a superb description of mid-Victorian London, he’s the writer, and he could spin a pretty good yarn too.

  • BB: Where and how do you write?

RS: Time Trap was written entirely at home through the years and by hand at first, then onto a 5-line word processor (which was state of the art 15 years ago) then onto a PC. I’ve got out of the habit of writing my second story by hand, putting it straight onto the PC, which is much better. The job I have now (as a building manager) enables me to do my writing there, in the office.

  • BB: What's next for Richard Smith?

RS: I am currently writing my second book which is for older children, called The Darziod’s Stone.

  • BB: There's plenty for us to look forward to, Richard - and thanks for chatting to us.

You can read more about Richard Smith here.

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