Q&A


Two items of Q&A – with one ‘A’ from me and one, I hope, from you…! ;)

The first is something I was asked this week via the MySpace page of Jagmat from The Black Tattoo. Huge respect and kudos – partly just for not letting the whole shapeshifting blancmange monster thing put him off! – to Mykell, from Maryland, USA, who wondered:

What kind of research do u do when u are writing ur books?

Research… hmm. If you’re talking about facts and figures, details of setting and time and place and action… it depends.

I think details are important, especially in a fantasy story: they give the reader something to hang onto; they make things seem real. For instance, I got the fight scenes in Black Tat checked out by genuine martial artists. While I was writing the book, I met a lady at a party who turned out to be the ranking Number 3 North European Women’s Sabre Champion! She was wonderfully sporting about reading Black Tat’s swordfights for me: I got these excellent emails from her saying, ‘Well, ok: if I was fighting a thirty-foot-long hedgehog centipede beast, I suppose I’d start off on the back foot, with this sort of a grip…’ and off she went. I hope those kinds of details give some realistic weight and crunch to Black Tat’s fights. And if a story needs other kinds of information, I’ll find out everything I can.

But here’s the thing: that stuff should only ever be in service to the story. The story comes first. Because no amount of detail is going to make the readers care if they’re not involved in the scene, feeling for the characters, wondering what’s going to happen next.

The story is the hard bit – the main thing to focus on – it seems to me.

…Which brings me to my second question.

Jethrosplatter

Slice Three of JETHRO’S ACE OF HEARTS, the thirteen-part story I’m currently serializing on Trapped By Monsters, goes live for your delectation tomorrow (Friday 6th Nov ’09) at 12 noon GMT.

My current plan is to have Slice Four go up this Monday, Slice Five go up next Friday, and so on. But a couple of my fellow TBM prisoners think I should go up to three episodes a week – posting on Wednesdays, too.

You, reading this: Hello! What do you think?

I think savouring the story slowly would be best – three slices a week might dominate the blog, and the story would finish very quickly. Or am I just being mean and stingy?

Leave a comment on Trapped By Monsters either way: I’m all ears.

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Here’s a nice piece of Black Tat art that was sent to me this week:

Ethan  the blacktatoo 2009 no. 2

ebirk wrote: Charlie with the Scourge on his back in Hell. Thank you for the opportunity to submit my art.

Thank you for sharing it, Ethan! Whenever my stories inspire people to do or make stuff, that gives me an enormous thrill. This fine pic will be going up on the Black Tat Reader Art Page very soon. Anyone else reading this who wants to show me their work will find all the details about how to do that either there or on the Reader Art Page for Tim.

Meanwhile, here are some follow-up questions from yesterday’s Trapped By Monsters Halloween Event (which, btw, was an absolute hoot – click the link to read all about it!) A big thank you to Derek, 9, from my home borough of Hackney, who wrote into the Tim Guestbook to ask the following:

Why did it take you five years to write The Black Tattoo? And how is it fun?!

Why did Black Tat take five years? That’s how long it took to get the book written and polished into the best shape I possibly could. The polishing was what took the longest (you can find out more at the Black Tat website). Black Tat was a big project for me, no doubt about it. But like any big project, if you break it down into manageable chunks (small steps towards your goal), and you do them, and keep doing them, because you want it, and love it, and believe in what you’re doing, then you can get there. If you approach it like that, you can achieve anything you want.

Some of writing Black Tat was definitely fun. I was excited about the story. I had to be, because most of the process of writing it was work. But I did it, I’m proud of it, and when people write in and tell me they enjoy reading the book, that makes me very, very happy.

I also just wanted to ask how you became quite famous. Has anyone inspired you???

Quite famous”? Hee hee hee! I wouldn’t even go that far! :D

I’m not famous. Most authors aren’t. But I am published: my books are available in shops and libraries and online, and people can read them if they want. For ten years that was my biggest ambition, and now it’s happened. How?

Again, no easy answer I’m afraid: I worked for it. I wrote stories. I sent them off to publishers and agents and anywhere else I could think of. I built up a pile of one hundred and thirty-four letters saying ‘no’. But I kept working on my stories, writing new ones, pushing myself to get better at this job of writing. I kept sending my stuff out. And eventually, one day, someone said ‘yes’.

Who inspired me? Lots of people! In particular, there were two terrific authors who came to visit my school when I was young: a comics writer called Alan Grant, and a poet called Ted Hughes. Both of them absolutely amazed me: they made this ambition of mine seem possible enough for me to decide to give it a serious go. It’s my hope that by visiting schools now and speaking to young people such as yourself, I just might – might – pass that sort of inspiration on to a new generation. Or, heh, that’s what I’m aiming for, anyway! ;)

Thanks for your questions, Derek. All best wishes to you,

Sam

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

My first school visit of the new academic year was a two-day booking at The Harwich School in Essex. It was brilliant. The library, where I did my talks, was equipped with a laptop and a digital projector. Since I’ve just this week been sent the latest version of what might become the cover for CRAWLERS, I took the opportunity to test it out on its target audience…!

topsecret

The cover is a work-in-progress, so I’m not going to show it to you any more clearly than this (above) for now. But I will say that people’s reactions ['Sick', 'Cool' and - especially - 'Ew!'] were pretty much exactly what my publishers and I are hoping for. HEE HEE HEE!

mrdace

A monster thank you to Mr Dace (above) for inviting me and organizing this terrific visit, and huge and gleeful thanks to everyone I met at Harwich for the wonderful, warm welcome they gave me. All the questions I was asked over the course of the two days were excellent. Here’s one from Bex, 12, who wrote in to the Tim Guestbook:

What’s it like being an author? I wish to be one when I’m older.

I love being an author. It’s my dream job. But like any job, it’s not for everyone. Luckily it’s an easy one to try: all you have to do is sit down, make up a thrilling story, and write it – it’s as simple, and as difficult, as that.

The internet is full of thousands of blogs and websites written by authors, which may also give you an idea of what being one is like. For a place to start, try www.trappedbymonsters.com , the joint blog I’m involved in with seven other authors (you can see a poster for Dragon Orb by one of them, Mark Robson, in the first pic above!) All their websites are fabulous, and they’re easy to find if you follow the links on the TBM ‘authors‘ page. But nothing will show you what being an author is like as definitely as making the time to give it a go for yourself.

Whether you find it suits you, or you don’t, I wish you the best of luck.

Sam

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Here’s an interview with me by Tracy Baines for her blog, Tall Tales & Short Stories. Tracy’s brilliant blog is a great information source for aspiring and up-and-coming authors. I’ve done my best to pass on a bit of whatever wisdom I’ve managed to hang onto so far(!) but if you click on the link you’ll also find exclusive details about Phase Three Of My Sinister Masterplan to Conquer the Universe — including, at last, the book’s real title! :D

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Just taking a quick break from PHASE THREE (third draft’s been a battle, but I’m getting there!) to share two things.

First up, look what came in the post yesterday…!

blacktatestonia

It’s the ESTONIAN edition of Black Tat! And it’s a particularly gorgeous item, too: a hardback with full colour endpapers. The idea of my stuff being translated always puts a grin on my face. HEE HEE HEE HEE!

Now: after a proper ‘ice cream moment’ like that, it seems like a good minute to give you a taste of the rougher parts of being an author, to go with the smooth. A couple of months back – he’s just given me permission to quote him – Xiaoyao, a young writer from Australia, asked me the following:

“There is a recent dilemma about my story. I just woke up one day, took a look at the word document and thought: “What a load of rubbish.” It just looked so bad, and I saw all my years of writing with disgust. I think that it was because the original idea started when I was really young, and the plot elements seem so childish now. It could also be because I haven’t done anything with the story for a term due to homework. The main thing is, I just don’t like it anymore. I think that it is too shallow.  I’m wondering what I should do. Should I just scrap it and start a new book with a deeper meaning, or should I continue until it’s finished, /then /start a new book? I’m not very sure; could you give me some advice? Thnx,
Xiaoyao”

If any writer tells you they’ve never felt this way about their work, they’re lying. Here’s what I wrote back:

Hi Xiaoyao,

I’m sorry to hear about your current project, and your feelings about it. I’m not going to tell you whether to give up on it and start again or not. I think the only person who can decide that is you. I can make a couple of observations, though.

First: books are long. They’re big projects and they take a long time, as you know. But I would also say that the attention they demand is constant. If – during a draft, especially the first – you take a break from them for more than (I’d say) about two or three weeks, then you run a real risk of losing momentum in just the way you describe. [I know that kind of constant commitment is very difficult when you're at school, or doing a full-time job. More on this later.]

Books, too, are an enormous leap of faith. In any book, there will always be points where you have doubts. You will wonder why you’re doing it. You will think that what you’re doing is rubbish. That just goes with the territory, I’m afraid. The trick is to find ways to get past it.

One trick that works is planning: if you know that your book is full of things that you’re excited about, that you’re going to enjoy writing, then that helps keep you going.

Another, as I say, is momentum: keep writing, keep coming back to it, keep moving forward.

Another important one, is accepting that whatever you write, it will not come out perfect first time. This, I think, is a crucial one.

Until you complete a first draft – until you’ve got the whole thing down and have written ‘The End’ – your focus should simply be on making forward progress. You must accept that some – even most – of what you will write is probably not that great, but IT DOESN’T MATTER, because once you’ve got to the end you can go back and fix it!

This, for me, means that when I’m writing the first draft of a story, I don’t allow myself to look back. If I look back, I will see only the lousy bits. I will start to lose hope. And that will only make the job of finishing the first draft even harder.

This is especially true for the first time you write a book. Because you’re not sure if you can do it – right? Each time you look back, there’s a weight of expectation: you’re hoping that something in what you see in your work is going to “prove” that you’re a proper writer. Human nature being what it is, all you’re going to see (as I say) are the lousy bits – things that make it seem like you should give up because you’re never going to get there. Ironically, you’re probably underestimating the most important part of your work and what it shows: YOU GOT THIS FAR. That is impressive. That shows you’re serious.

I believe that what makes a writer isn’t, in fact, things like a love of stories, a gift with words, a wild imagination – though those certainly help. I think what makes a real writer is the ability to keep going - the ability to carry on making progress, even though the destination is uncertain and sometimes you can’t remember what you’re doing it for.

Here’s something I love by Miyamoto Musashi, from The Book of Five Rings (translated by Stephen Kaufman). Musashi was the most famous swordsman Japan has ever known. He’s talking here about teaching himself swordfighting, but it’s just as true for writing:

“This is a very difficult road to travel and not many are made for it. It is frustrating, confusing, very lonely, certainly frightening, and it will sometimes make you think you do not have much sanity left to deal with the everyday surroundings of your world. Also, there is no guarantee that you will attain [your goal]. It must all come from inside you, without any preconceived notions on your part.”

Xiaoyao, you’re in full time education! Finding the time and the energy to write when you’re at school, or you’ve got another job, is very hard! I have enormous respect for the fact that you’re even attempting to write a book at this point in your life. So the first thing to do is to cut yourself some slack. What you’ve done already is extremely impressive. So don’t feel too down on yourself.

As to what to do about this particular story… as I say, that’s up to you. Can you remember why you wanted to write it? If the doubts about where the story is going are too strong, then you may be better off abandoning this one. There’s no shame in that. The first time I tried to write a book I had to give up after thirty thousand words. I felt crazy. I got so scared that this first failure meant I wasn’t a proper writer that I couldn’t sleep! But once I’d recovered, once I’d picked myself up, the next time I tried to write a book I was armed with the lessons I learned from that first experiment. I had a better idea of what to expect.

If you /do/ decide to carry on with this book, then the best of luck to you. But I would advise you also to remember my two other points above. Don’t leave the book for longer than two weeks. And don’t look back until you’ve reached the end.

There’s a third alternative. You could also accept that right now your schoolwork is keeping you too busy for you to attempt to write a book. That’s fine, too: concentrate on building up your skills with short stories for a while, perhaps? Then once there’s space in your life for you to commit yourself to the kind of long-term, regular schedule that a bigger project involves, then that’s when you next take a shot at this.

I hope the above is helpful, Xiaoyao. Let me know what you decide.

A week ago, Xiaoyao wrote back to me to say he’s carrying on.

Excuse me, but if I’m going to meet this deadline I should follow his inspiring example. :D

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

When lovely Liz at blatantly brilliant blog My Favourite Books asked me to take part in her current Horror Blog Fest I was thrilled and chuffed and delighted. You can read wot I wrote here, but do click around: the Fest has included some of the finest writers of scary stories working today. They’ve certainly intimidated me! :D

At the bottom of the interview you’ll also find details about a little giveaway Liz and I are running. To discover how to win yourself a signed, personalised UK first edition of Black Tat, all you’ve got to do is take a look!

PS: Tuesday’s event at Freedom of Expression was an absolute hoot. I took the opportunity to test out the brand new third draft opening of my new book on a live audience for the very first time: reactions included a shiver, two gasps, and a nice round of applause – very encouraging!

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Before I get down to it, take a look at THIS:

dinnertimeinhell

This is Dinner Time in Hell, another stunning piece of Black Tat-inspired art by Monique Van Dongen, the genius behind The New Emperor, the winning entry of the previous round of the No Monsters Were Harmed In The Making Of This Website Competition. Apparently the image was originally dried rose petals. Isn’t it incredible? So sinister! :D

There’s been a flurry of activity on the Black Tat Guestbook lately. Everything written there goes straight to me: I’ve been replying to the posts directly on the page, but I figured I’d share a few highlights with you over here.

First up, just in today(!) from Lily, 14, from Elizabeth, Pennsylvania, is this question:

What inspired your view of Hell? It’s so vivid and crazy, I love it!

Thanks, Lily! :D

Once I’d decided that so much of Black Tat was going to be set in Hell, I set about gathering together all the source materials I possibly could. I started with the classic stuff like Dante’s Inferno and the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, as well as all sorts of different views on the subject from all over the world (see below-!). Then – like everything else in my stories – I basically mixed it up with whatever I thought would be fun. I knew there were going to be lots of fights: that suggested a gladiatorial element, which naturally led me to thinking about Ancient Rome. I knew there were going to be monsters: I had a lot of fun with the demons, as you probably noticed! By the end of the story I was chucking in everything I could think of: in fact I ended up with more material than I knew what to do with! If you’ve found the password in the back of the book, you can unlock some deleted extra scenes, here.

Next up, Kit, 15, who asked:

Hi! I’ve always wanted to be an Egyptologist and I swear somewhere along the lines I’ve come across the name Khentimentu somewhere! Does the Scourge have roots in Egyptian Pharonic mythology?? Please reply! It’s KILLING me! :S

Hi, Kit! Put your mind at ease: you’re absolutely spot on. The Scourge’s name is indeed (almost) the same as that of KHENTIMENTIU, “the Egyptian god who rules the destiny of the dead” [source: 'A Comprehensive Dictionary of Gods, by Anne S. Baumgartner, University Books, 1984]. Respect to your Egyptology skills! :D

Here’s Tony, 13, from Elsa, Texas, who asked:

I WAS WONDERIN IF YOU COULD VISIT OUR SCHOOL AT CARLOS F. TRUAN JR. HIGH

Tony, one day I would LOVE to visit schools in the US. But I live in the UK, so until a publisher or school is up for flying me over there, that particular dream is going to have to wait. Tentacles crossed! ;)

Stepping up next: Derrick, 16, also from the USA, who wondered…

If it is O.K. with you, I was thinking about designing my first video game based on the book ‘The Black Tattoo’. Also, with the video clips, I am still looking for the right characters to play the part as Charlie. Who knows, I might even get to be the Scourge! Heh. Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to. Thanks. Derrick.

Hi, Derrick! These plans sound amazing, best of luck with ‘em! The way it works with my permission for you using things from Black Tat is very straightforward: if you want to make money out of them, then we have to do this on a business footing. But if you want to make clips or design a game as a showcase for your skills, so people can see (for free) what you can do, then go for your life. Drop me a line at the address on the Reader Art page whenever you like. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Finally, from Arra, 13, in Fauldhouse, Scotland, here’s one of the most touching messages I’ve yet received about my work. My answer appears below.

i was really bored in hospital. i was in for a brain scan when a quad hit my head and it was apparently really bad then my friend brought me this book and i couldnt put it down it saved me. the nurses even said i was a different kid with the book. i adored it so cool i mean really. totally you need to write more books like this! i tried reading the other books but couldnt get into them the same so i think you should write another like the black tattoo it was so awesome. have to go see ya

Arra, this is one of the most wonderful things that anyone has said to me about my stories so far. I am touched and honoured that Black Tat has affected you this strongly.

I aim to put my whole heart into all my books. I think that’s the only way to write something truly exciting. But that means (and I’m sorry of this is disappointing to you) that I won’t repeat myself by writing something too like what’s gone before – whether for money, or even because people ask me to. Each book I write is its own beast: each one will affect each reader differently. That’s my plan; that’s the only way I want to do this. And I hope you’ll understand why.

Say I wrote a sequel to Black Tat: it wouldn’t have my heart in it, so the chances are it wouldn’t be as good. You would be disappointed. You might even start to doubt whether the original was really as good as you thought it was (crummy sequels can do that). And then your feelings towards the book, the ones you’ve got right now, would be ruined.

I think that would be a shame. The power that a particular book at a particular time can have over a person is one of the most amazing and brilliant things that books can do. I’m thrilled and delighted that Black Tat has touched you that way. But I know from my own reading experience that those kinds of feelings are too important to trifle with – particularly by trying to recreate them artificially.

I hope you’ll keep an eye on what I write in the future – even if it’s not exactly like Black Tat! But in the mean time, if you’d like some suggestions for other books I think are awesome, check my LibraryThing profile.

Thank you again for your wonderful message. Very best wishes to you,

Sam

BREAKING NEWS: This Saturday, to my great glee and delight, I’m going to be taking part in The Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival. I’ll be in The Bookseller Crow bookshop from around 2pm. Hope to see you there!

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Here’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you about for a while, something a bit special I reckon. It’s a link to a site where you can download a transcript of a discussion between three storytellers at the top of their game as they’re putting together the ideas that will become one of my favourite stories ever: the storytellers are Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Lawrence Kasdan, and they’re kicking ideas around for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The link will take you to a blog called Mystery Man on Film. Whoever the mystery man is, he’s done a terrific job of extracting ten major takeaway points from what’s a pretty long (125 pages) transcript. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, just those ten points are a masterclass in fast, thrilling storytelling.

But for you, reading this now, I’m going to boil it down to one.

Books and stories are not written by wizards or aliens or geniuses: they’re written by people who sit in rooms and make stuff up – it’s as simple, and as difficult, as that. “Where do you get your ideas from?” is a question that writers are asked all the time, and the answer is you work for them. Look at this transcript. The ideas don’t arrive in a flash of inspiration. They’re not trumpeted in by choirs of angels, or beamed down from space. Spielberg, Lucas and Kasdan put in the hours – in this case, nine hours a day for five days straight – and they hammered the story out. And the ideas didn’t magically come out right first time, either – if they had (for example) the central character’s name would be Indiana Smith. ;p

A big part of the reason why I visit as many schools as I can is that I remember authors visiting my school – and the effect that seeing that they were just PEOPLE had on me. Suddenly everything seemed possible. And it’s true: if you want it enough, and you’re prepared to put in the work and do what it takes to make it happen, IT IS.

Best of luck to you.

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Like some toad-like creature emerging after an extended period of hibernation in the permafrost, I am creaking, stretching, blinking and coming back to life. I’m also gradually starting to catch up with stuff I’ve neglected while on nose-to-the-grindstone time with Phase Three…!

First up, here’s an interview with me by Chris Skoyles of The LINC Online, who asked me all sorts of excellent questions.

Speaking of questions, another came in just the other day (via my Facebook page) from Daniel M of Bay House School, who asks:

do u think u could tell me more about this nano-technology stuff, u sed about it at Bay House I don’t really get it =)

Daniel, I’m delighted to answer you in the form of THIS (below), which I spotted recently on BoingBoing: yes, it’s a wonderful SONG about nanotech [which plays a huge part in Tim] complete with puppets and monsters. Got to love the internet, eh? ;p

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

Wotcher. Got a few different bits and pieces for you, this time.

First up, I was delighted to see a certain giant monster make a topical appearance in the current issue of one of my favourite magazines, namely Private Eye. Their ‘In the City’ column traditionally examines shady goings-on in London’s financial district. So imagine my surprise, when….

HEE HEE HEE! :)

Next up, here’s a question from Matthew – yep, the same Matthew who made the awesome Chinj pic from the previous post! – who really got me thinking when he asked:

After finishing The Black Tattoo and studying Hinduism, I wondered if the Dragon, the Brotherhood and the Scourge had any links with the three Hindu gods Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva, ie Brahma – the Dragon; Vishnu – the Brotherhood; Shiva – the Scourge. I was just wondering and thought I would point it out.

Wow.

Um, to be honest with you, Matthew, the short answer is ‘no’. Hinduism had no direct influence on Black Tat – or none that I was conscious of, at least. While I’m familiar with some bits and pieces of Hindu mythology and theology, by the sounds of it you know more about it than me! But I’m sure I was influenced unconsciously by it – as I am in everything I write, by everything in the world around me.

Nothing that anyone writes or creates can ever be completely original. Whatever you do will be influenced by things that have been done before – including the things you’ve experienced or read about, the things you learned from, let alone archetypes, standard elements of a creative work such as, for stories like Black Tat, heroes and villains.

For a long time, when I was younger, that fact used to bother me. The impossibility of making something that was completely new was very frustrating. Sometimes it even seemed like if I couldn’t be completely original then it just wasn’t worth the bother of creating anything. But then I changed my mind.

Everyone has influences – a vast, bubbling mixture, some elements of which an individual won’t even be aware of. While you can (and should, I think) add to the mixture – expand your influences, by experiencing and discovering and finding out about as much as you can – there’s no subtracting from your influences or getting away from them. There’s no going back.

But here’s the thing: it’s the mixture that makes us different – the particular combination that gives a creative work, or even a person, their own special style and flavour.

The expression of that mixture in a way that excites me – and, I hope, other people! – is what I chase after in my stories.

I wish you the best of luck in chasing yours.

Lastly, while we’re talking about Black Tat, here’s something very cool that arrived in the post this week. It’s another edition, this time published in German!

As you can see, like the US paperback, my German publishers Blanvalet have gone for the classic black on white look first developed by the design team at Random House Children’s Books UK (yay!) – isolating the figure of Charlie [actually posed by Mr P's son, Ian, fyi!] from John Jude Palecar‘s awesome painting. But that red sticker on the front is a cheeky new twist! If you can’t read it, it says “‘Kotzende Fledermause? Ich bin begeistert!’Neil Gaiman“. For a translation of that quote – and the story of how I got it! – check out this interview. Hee hee hee HEE!

Meanwhile, on the same day as my copies arrived (how’s this for speed…?) the first comment from Germany came in on the Black Tat Guestbook. If you’re reading this, Vanessa, thank you very much indeed for your kind (and beautifully expressed) words!

Floof. A longish post this time, but it’s deliberate. Fact is, I’m about to go intermittent on you again while I return to PHASE THREE, so I wanted to leave you with a decent meaty chunk to chew on while I’m off back down the story-mine. As ever with a first draft, there’s a lot of work to be done. But I’m doing what I love, so I’m not complaining! Hope you’re doing the same. :)

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Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)

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