Friday, 9 November 2012

RHCBA blog tour: Sophie McKenzie



It's really brilliant to see The Medusa Project; Hit Squad has been shortlisted in the Older Readers category  for the Red House Children's Book Award 2013. I have enjoyed all of the books within this fantastic series so it's great to see it nominated here.  The Red House Children's Book Award is the only national children’s award that is voted entirely by children. It is owned and co-ordinated by the Federation of Children's Book Groups, and sponsored by Red House. For more details click here: http://www.redhousechildrensbookaward.co.uk/

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books warmly welcomes Sophie McKenzie to the blog. Here is her post.

Sophie McKenzie on The inspiration behind Hit Squad - and The Medusa Project series

When I was planning The Medusa Project series, I had three aims in mind. Firstly, I wanted to write about teenagers in our own, contemporary world developing a variety of abilities, starting with mind-reading, telekinesis, predicting the future and being able to protect yourself from physical harm. I knew that the big challenge would be to make this feel convincing to the reader - to make something extraordinary feel like it had really happened to four quite ordinary teenagers. To that end I was determined that all the main characters should respond differently to their power and that the type of ability each person developed should grown out of their character and personality.

Secondly, I wanted to write a series of books where all four main characters appear in every book, but where a different person narrates each novel in turn.  And thirdly, and most importantly, I wanted to create characters that readers would care about and stories that would make them eager to turn every page.

The Set-Up, the first book in the series, follows Nico’s attempts to control and use his emerging telekinesis – and the attempts made by others to control and use him. By the end of the story Nico and the other three main characters have been brought together (reluctantly) to form crime-fighting force, the Medusa Project, using their psychic powers and run by a government agent. At this point the four are far from friends, though Nico clearly likes Ketty very much.

The next book in the series, The Hostage, is narrated by Ketty herself. Now we finally find out exactly what Ketty thinks of Nico, as she struggles both with her ability to see into the future, horrified at the prospect of her brother getting mixed up with master-criminal Damian Foster. Ed, the mind-reader of the group, actively resents his psychic power. He tells the story of The Rescue, in which the main characters are sent to a boot camp in Spain to learn some discipline. Back in the UK for Hunted, Dylan takes up the tale. This was my favourite book to write of the six in the series, mostly because of the main character herself. Dylan is prickly and rude, yet extremely vulnerable under the surface. 

I enjoyed writing these first four books so much that I couldn’t stop! After I finished Hunted, I decided to write two more novels. In Double Cross the story is told by Nico but in Hit Squad, all four main characters take a turn at the narration. For these two new books I wanted to introduce a couple of fresh psychic abilities so, during the planning stages I asked the young people at my author talks which additional powers they would like to see. I picked the most popular - shape shifting and flying - and gave these to new characters Amy and Cal.

With Hit Squad I knew that I was writing the last of the series – at least for the time being – and was determined to make the story as dramatic as I could. I’d wanted for ages to write about the threat posed by unscrupulous scientists trying to mimic the effects of the Medusa gene in drug form and this plot line gives the main characters lots of risks to take and plenty of danger to overcome.

book cover of 

Hit Squad 

 (Medusa Project, book 6)

by

Sophie McKenzie
                                                               
Thanks for reading - feel free to leave any comments. 

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