The Interview: Bookbag talks to Curtis Jobling

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The Interview: Bookbag talks to Curtis Jobling

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Summary: We loved Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling with its high fantasy which looks set to launch a massive series which will have youngsters desperate for each new book. It's completely and absolutely astounding and we couldn't let the opportunity to ask Curtis some questions pass.
Date: 17 January 2011
Interviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James

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We loved Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling with its high fantasy which looks set to launch a massive series which will have youngsters desperate for each new book. It's completely and absolutely astounding and we couldn't let the opportunity to ask Curtis some questions pass.

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

Curtis Jobling: I imagine lovers of fantasy and horror, first and foremost. While I realise there’s an age recommendation for the book, I like to think of that as a cinema rating, a PG or 12 certification if you will. Don’t get me wrong, younger, more capable readers should have a hoot reading Rise of the Wolf, but I very much imagine the novel will appeal to older audiences, lovers of fantasy literature of all ages. Ultimately I wrote it for myself, and it’s the kind of book I’d pick up to read.

  • BB: Okay, this is the big question for me - I've read that you have a 2 book deal for Wereworld but am so in love with the world you've created that I'm hoping for lots more in the future! Are you planning on writing more books about Drew, or at least others set in Lyssia?

CJ: Most certainly. When it was pitched initially to Puffin it was with the vision that it would be a long serial of books, and that’s what I’ve always had in my head. 3,4 and 5 are loosely outlined in my noggin, and as soon as we know how the first books have been received I’d love to get back to Lyssia (and beyond!) to write more of Drew’s adventures. The world itself has such a vast scope that I can envisage other characters having books of their own, but I don’t want to be jumping the gun!

  • BB: What's your favourite werewolf movie? (And, if I can sneak in a sub-question, any chance of seeing Drew on screen in the future?)

CJ: My favourite is probably still An American Werewolf in London. I love the mix of horror and comedy that Landis achieved in the movie, and it still has the most memorable transformation scenes committed to film. As for a big screen version of Wereworld, I guess if folk come knocking it’s something we can talk about! ;-) Again, though, I want to concentrate on making the books the best they can possibly be. If I can make a success of the novels then other things could fall into place as a result. As I work in film and television already there’s always a degree of crossover in my work, and I’m probably guilty of writing in a cinematic style as it is.

  • BB: In the acknowledgements for Wereworld: Rise Of The Wolf you mention that you're a keen role-playing gamer. How much of Wereworld was influenced by your experiences gaming?

CJ: I think my storytelling is influenced by the fact that I used to run a lot of games in my youth, and I always got a kick out of surprising the players with the twists and turns of an adventure. I never ran “ready written” games, they were always scenarios of my own invention, so that’s where I cut my chops as a writer. They were often epic quest adventures, so the fact that Wereworld takes on that form should come as no surprise to the guys I gamed with down the years.

  • BB: If you could be any Werelord, what animal would you choose?

CJ: It’s got to be the werewolf, hasn’t it? Still the coolest beast on the block. I’d suggest another of the Werelords from the first book but fear I’d be spoiling the appearance of the character!

  • BB: Do you listen to music when you're writing? If so, what was your soundtrack when writing Wereworld: Rise Of The Wolf?

CJ: I do tend to have music on in the background when I write, or often the radio. As large parts of Rise of the Wolf were written at night when the kids were in bed, I had the company of Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie on the radio, but I’d often pop my own music on as well; Arcade Fire, Laura Marling, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Low Anthem, The Avett Brothers, that kind of thing. I’m becoming a bit of a folky/Americana fan in my advancing years, and find that kind of music the perfect accompaniment while writing.

  • BB: You have a great online presence with a fantastic website and a very active Twitter account. How important do you think communication with readers is to authors today?

CJ: When I was younger the only way of reaching an author was to appear at a signing, and even then the most one could realistically hope for was a stolen question that could be briefly answered. The online community is a great way of reaching out to authors and creatives, and is the kind of thing I’d have loved to have been able to exploit when I was starting out. I’ve run a blog for many years now which has a great deal of my artwork on as well as various ramblings. With the release of the novel I’ll be putting more frequent updates on there to let folk know what I’m up to. There’s also a wonderful Official Wereworld fans page on Facebook and an Official Puffin Wereworld site with all kinds of good stuff on for fans of the books to explore.

  • BB: Somewhat embarassingly, I've just realised that my review of the book contains the word 'incredible' four times in seven lines. Are there any words you're prone to over-using in your writing?

CJ: You should ask my editor, Shannon Park, what I’m most guilty of – ‘instinctively’ makes far too many appearances. I have to be mindful of avoiding the ‘repeated word’ in my manuscripts, and was delighted to hear from Shannon that she’s an 1/8th of the way through reading the first draft of book two and (to her astonishment) there’s no sign of a repeated word yet! My lovely better half, Emma, also acts as an editor with my work early on, polishing up the various grammatical errors I make along the way. This is usually on account of me ‘spilling’ the story out as I’m writing and missing silly things in a rush to tell the tale.

  • BB: What are you reading at the moment?

CJ: I’m about to pick up the second book of Joe Abercrombie’s awesome fantasy series, The First Law. The other book that I’m a huge fan of and regularly read is of the comic variety: The Walking Dead. Thought the recent Darabont TV adaption was simply stunning, but you can’t beat the source material.

  • BB: What's next for Curtis Jobling?

CJ: I have a new kids show going to air on CBeebies later this year, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, of which we’re making 52 episodes. That’s looking terrific and I’m very excited about it. I’ve also got a number of other shows in various stages of development with broadcasters and studios around the globe. I’m hoping to get back to more writing as soon as possible – I was working on the manuscript for another, younger fantasy novel when Puffin picked up Rise of the Wolf, and had to put that down to work on the second Wereworld book, so I’m getting back to that right now.

  • BB: Ooh, we can't wait! Good luck with the new book. Thanks a lot for the interview, Curtis!

Originally published on yayeahyeah.blogspot.com

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