The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Richard Smith about The Darzoids' Stone

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Richard Smith about The Darzoids' Stone


Summary: Jill loved The Darziods' Stone - a fast-paced teen adventure - and had quite a few questions for author Richard Smith when he popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Date: 11 October 2016
Interviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy

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Jill loved The Darziods' Stone - a fast-paced teen adventure - and had quite a few questions for author Richard Smith when he popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.

  • We've asked you this before, but it would be interesting to see if your answer is the same! When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Richard Smith: Whilst writing The Darziods' Stone, I knew it was for older children, teenage to be precise, (my first book Time Trap was aimed at 9 – 12) so I imagined a 14/15 year-old reading it and wanting a bit of bite. I really hope I've provided that.

  • BB: The Darziods' Stone is set in Cornwall. How much does setting matter to you when devising a novel?

RTS: Very much so. It took a while finding the setting I wanted and I eventually chose Polkerris, a small village on the southern coast of Cornwall. I then set off in the car from London and stayed in a B & B nearby for several days. I found Polkerris a perfect location. Albeit it has one – short – sea wall, I gave Tredock Cove two, and I had them stretching out some distance. I then set about tweaking the place to how I wanted it to look. I spent my days in the village, taking many photos, and being there gave me a real feel of the cove, enabling me to describe the cove in the book with conviction.

  • BB: This story has clearly involved a great deal of research. How do you approach the research aspect of writing?

RTS: Very thoroughly! Researching the Knights Templar for instance, I hired several books from the library and lost myself in their world. And the research can be very enjoyable, you're leaning as you read.

  • BB: The novel incorporates elements of adventure story, conspiracy thriller and science fiction. How difficult is it to achieve a balance in cross-genre writing?

RTS: I must admit, I didn't find it much of a problem, because I'm interested in all the elements in the story, and as the adage says, always write about what you like and what you know. So it was a pleasure to write the story.

  • BB: Can you offer a better definition of magnetism than Sydney Evershed's in your prologue?

RTS: Erm… good one. I think like all children, I was amazed by magnets and magnetism; an invisible force able to propel metal objects! Where does that force come from? How is it stored? I like Sydney's description, so I don't think I can.

  • BB: Will we ever meet Harry - or any of the characters from The Darziods' Stone - in your writing again?

RTS: I said there wouldn't be a sequel to Time Trap and now I'm half way through the plot to Time Trap II, but as for doing a sequel to TDS, I don't think so, but you never know….

  • BB: Does alien life exist?

RTS: A great question, like where does space end? I like Arthur C Clarke's quote and he sums it up well: “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” I'm with the believers. How can we be the only intelligent life in the Universe when for one, it's infinite, and two, astronomers tell us there are billions of galaxies each containing billions of stars, and a great number of stars have planets orbiting them similar to Earth?

  • BB: How did you come to be a writer, and which authors inspire you the most?

RTS: I started writing at the age of around 9/10 and back then I didn't know any writers, I just loved to read the books in the school library and write my stories. As time went on, I read a lot of Charles Dickens. Today, a big influence for me has been the writers of the Tunnels series: Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. Their six books in the Tunnels series had me hooked.

  • BB: What advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

RTS: It's not easy (unless you're extraordinarily gifted) there's a lot to learn. It can be lonely at times, but very rewarding when you finish a story and you are happy with it. Read as many books as you can, and definitely get some books on writing techniques. And I also mentioned earlier, always write about what you know or what interests you.

  • BB: We've also asked this one before and this time, we know there will be a different answer! What's next for Richard Smith?

RTS: I gave that away in an earlier answer. It's going to be the sequel to Time Trap; Time Trap II. Jamie and Todd are to embark on another time jaunt, this time to 1775, America, where Hector must prevent an agent from the first book, altering the boys' future and security.

Thank you, it's been a pleasure once again.

  • BB: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Richard.

You can read more about Richard Smith here.

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