BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
We are delighted to host a Q&A with author David Solomons, whose new book My Cousin is a Time Traveller (available here) is publishing by Nosy Crow on 27th June.
What can you tell us about the new book?
My Cousin is a Time Traveller is the fifth and final book in the series that began with My Brother is a Superhero. In this one, Luke discovers that yet another close relative is not all that she seems. But he barely has time to be irritated by this latest turn of events when he and the gang are thrust into an adventure that sees them racing to prevent the takeover of the world by rogue domestic appliances, and keep a lid on the most dangerous children’s book in the universe.
The series features a sibling interplay that is both humorous and touching. Is this relationship based on your own brother or sister - or on any particular people that you know?
I have a younger sister, so I understand the dynamic, albeit from the older perspective. I see it in my own children, Luke and Lara (yes, I named the characters after my own children). Just to confuse matters, in real life Luke is the older one! Lara is only three, but her desire to keep up with her big brother is fierce.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I’ve thought about this a lot, strangely enough. And it would definitely be the ability to fly. There’s something about that moment in every superhero story when the super takes to the skies for the first time that still fills me with a sense of wonder.
You are a successful screenwriter as well as a children’s author. How have your experiences writing screenplays influenced the way you write children’s fiction? And are we likely to see this series reach the big screen?
My prose style is undoubtedly influenced by my screenwriting background. I love writing snappy dialogue and I’m what you’d call a visual writer. I always have to remind myself to use the other senses in my writing. I’m still hoping that My Brother is a Superhero will make the leap to TV or feature film, but I’m long enough in the tooth to know that it’s a big ask.
Which children’s books or comics have most influenced your writing?
I didn’t read superhero comics when I was a child, but I had a subscription to the Star Wars comic and Dr Who. I loved science-fiction stories and my favourite authors were Ray Bradbury, Philip K Dick and Robert Heinlein. Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was an eye-opener and brain-stretcher for me.
So many young readers enjoy the humour in your stories. What would you say makes a successful funny book for children?
For me, it’s an authentic voice. I’ve written a lot of characters over the years, but none has connected with an audience like Luke Parker in My Brother is a Superhero. He has a quite distinctive take on his world, which is loaded with his indignation at missing out on superpowers. He’s an embittered eleven-year old with unrealistic expectations. From that set up the humour flowed quite naturally.
We’ve noticed that you love ending on a good cliffhanger! Will the new book be the end of the series or is there more to come?
Fun fact: every cliffhanger that I’ve written has been as much a mystery to me as the reader. At the point when I write it I don’t know what’s going to happen next either. The difference is, I have the next few months to work that out. Rash, but fun. And no cliffhanger this time. My Cousin is a Time Traveller is the last hurrah for Luke and the S.C.A.R.F. gang. The end of this series is tinged with sadness for me, but I’ve tried to give all the characters a fitting, non-Game of Thrones style ending.
My Cousin is a Time Traveller by David Solomons is published by Nosy Crow on 27th June. Keep an eye out for a Review Panel review of the book on our blog very soon!
Many thanks to David for answering my questions and to the publisher for sending me a review copy of the book.
Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too!