Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Robin Jarvis -The Power of Dark - Author Interview (The Whitby Witches Trilogy/The Deptford Mice)

It's really cool to have the opportunity to ask one of my all time favourite authors some questions about his latest book. Robin Jarvis is the author of the spectacularly amazing dark fantasy series known as "The Whitby Witches Trilogy" and the fantastic series "The Depthford Mice." In more recent times, he has written "The Dancing Jax Trilogy" which was superb and is definitely worth checking out, if you haven't done so already. His latest book,"The Power of Dark", will be published at the start of June 2016 and is fantastic. Please check out my book review here to find out more. 
I'm sure you'll find the interview fascinating as it is a personal look into the author's fantastic writing career.

Who do you think will love reading The Power of Dark?
 The reader I always try to entertain when I'm writing is my childhood self. I wasn't particularly happy from the age of 10 onwards, as that was when my 18 year old brother had a motorbike accident that left him brain damaged and I needed to escape the awfulness of how that devastated my family. So that's what my books are for, other spaces to slip into, if someone needs a respite from their surroundings. When reality lets you down, a good book won't.  

The Power of Dark is set in Whitby, North Yorkshire, what makes you visit this town again in your stories?

I can't help it. The place won't leave me alone, it compels stories out of me. It's such a perfect blend of every location you could want, with a fabulously rich history that stretches back over a thousand years. Whitby is a bit like author fly paper, so many have been enchanted by it: Lewis Carrol, Dickens, Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, A. S. Byatt, Robert Swindells - and don't forget Caedmon was inspired by a heavenly dream to become one of the earliest English poets. There must be some powerful kind of word magic there.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the world building within your book?
 The character of Cherry Cerise is a real person who lives here in Greenwich (Cherry isn't her real name). She's a local eccentric who came up to me one day out of the blue, we didn't know each other, and started talking for forty five minutes. Her language and subject matter were far more colourful than anything I could put in this series but I knew I had to use her, she was a writer's dream.  If readers like Cherry as a character, it's because I managed to capture something of the genuine person.
Have you ever used contemporary events or stories “ripped from the headlines” in your work? 
 Oh yes, the start of the book where the cliffside crumbles and graves spill out, was an actual event that occurred a few years ago in Whitby. Also there was a real tension between the steampunkers and the Goths, which I found fascinating and had to include somehow.

 What makes a good fantasy writer?
I think you just have to be able to create characters that the reader can care about, maybe not even identify with, but love in some wayIf you can do that, then the fantastical elements of the story will be so much more satisfying.
A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book?
The villains and monsters are always great fun for me. I just have to step into their shoes - or scales, and try to think like them. Appropriate music helps enormously. Sometimes it can be a bit alarming when heinous ideas pop in but it's always exciting to be taken by surprise by your own evil creations.
If you were running the 100 metre dash with a new writer, what writing and/or publishing wisdom would you bestow upon him/her before you reached the final line?
Oh gosh, that's difficult. At school I could run that in fourteen seconds but it'd take me an hour these days. I don't think I'm qualified to give advice to anyone, as it's such a personal passion and everyone finds their own unique voice.  All I would say is write something that you'd love to read yourself.
Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
I've met some great actors who read my books on audio, including childhood heroes like Tom Baker and Jon Pertwee, but my all time favourite celeb moment was when Felicity Kendal came up to me on a plane once and asked for my autograph for her son. You should have seen the faces of everyone else!

What can we expect in the next book in the series, and how many are there going to be?

The next book is called The Devil's Paintbox, and Whitby really suffers this time. There'll be a lot more peril and heartbreak for Lil and Verne, some familiar fiendish faces and new horrors to run away from. There's going to be four in this series.
Do you think book reviews are important?
 Oh absolutely. They're great for a reader who isn't familiar with an author's work to get an idea of what it's like and if it's something they might enjoy. What's fascinating for me is how different some of the reviews can be, which just shows how personal an experience reading a book is.

Last question, what five things would you take on a desert island and why?

If I can't take someone useful like Bear Grylls or Ray Mears, then four books on survival and DIY because I'm as practical as a rubber sword - and finally the soundtrack from the old tv serial of Robinson Crusoe that was always shown during the summer holidays when I was growing up. Although, to really immerse myself in the experience, I would have to lose my colour vision as that series was in black and white. 

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