Interviews

YA Shot: Character Interview with Sophia Bennett

YA SHOT BANNER SIDE

Welcome to my stop on the YA Shot Tour!

love-song-667x1024YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts. The festival takes place on the 22nd of October this year. For more information about YA Shot, click here.

I have paired up with the wonderful Sophia Bennett to interview the characters of her newest novel, Love Song.

So without further ado, here we go…

The door is flung open, and four boys stroll in casually as if they own the place. They are  members of The Point; Jamie, Angus, Connor and Declan. They all take a seat, Angus slouching so low in his chair, it is uncertain whether he may just slide straight off. 
Connor discreetly checks himself out in a nearby mirror and pleased with what he sees, smiles smugly. 
 
The sound of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” fills the air, and Jamie whips out an iPad and proceeds to accept an invitation to video chat with George a former member of The Point, who is joining us for this interview over Skype. 
Once everyone is settled, the signal is given and the cameras start rolling. The interview begins.

#1 What is it like to be part of The Point? Did you ever see yourself becoming this successful?

 

Angus: It’s just messing around with my mate Jamie, really – when he’s not being an idiot with some woman. We’ve been doing it since we were 12. That’s how the music got made. As for the success, nobody ever sees themselves getting this successful. Nobody who cares about the music, anyway. This is crazy successful. This is ridiculous. It’s distracting. Sometimes I seriously wonder if it’s going to drive me mad. 

Connor: It’s incredible. The best feeling in the world. Being on the biggest stages in the world, meeting the celebrities, being on tour … Who wouldn’t want that? Ignore Angus, he’s an ungrateful idiot. I never thought we’d get this big, but we did it thanks to our fans.Thank you, Pointer Sisters! We love each and every one of you. Well, Angus obviously doesn’t, but I do.

Jamie: The Point is my family. My real family wasn’t so … Anyway. Angus is like the brother I never had, and Connor and George … and now Declan … when we play together we have this bond that’s magical. I love that the fans see that. Sometimes it’s scary being in the middle of this fame bubble. If it wasn’t for the other lads, I couldn’t take the craziness. They’re the only other people in the world who get what it’s really like – apart from Nina. Sometimes, when there’s yet another story about me online, I think I’m going to give it all up, but the music makes it worth it. That and the fans singing along to one of our songs, on a starlit evening in the desert. Yeah, not many people get to have an experience like that. Then I feel like the luckiest man in the world.

George: What was it like? It was like being in a rocket, going to Mars. It was like the wildest dream you ever had, going on and on and on. I don’t remember too much about it, because I was mostly out of it, but some of those memories were sooooo goooooood. And then there were times I was so lonely I cried myself to sleep. I miss it, but if I’d stayed in the band I’d be dead by now. So it’s like, thank you, but no thank you. You know what I mean? 

Declan: I only joined recently, so the other boys were already megastars by then. I’ll never be as famous as them, and that doesn’t matter. They write great songs, they play great music – that’s what I care about. And they’re a laugh, man. We laugh all the time. I’m just glad the fans have forgiven me for not being George. They seem OK with it, so that’s OK by me. 

#2 What were your initial impressions of Nina?

Jamie: She was special. Our eyes locked … Oh, OK – you want the truth? I hardly noticed her. First she was just someone’s sister. Then she was this crazy person who threw a blanket on my girlfriend and looked like she was trying to kill her. If the bodyguards hadn’t pulled her away, I would have. Then she was this annoying person Sigrid hired to follow us around, so I never got any privacy. It took me a long time to see her properly. I’m an idiot, I admit that. A total idiot. She knows that. 

Angus: Boring. Quiet. Shy. Obviously my enemy, because she was working for The Queen of Evil. You know what they say on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? ‘Mostly harmless’. Yeah, that. Then she read Thomas Hardy to me in my room at night and didn’t make a move on me. After that, I thought she was … interesting. More than interesting. If she wasn’t obviously goggle-eyed over Jamie, I might have tried something. Yeah, probably would have. OK, definitely would have. In fact, still might. Look out, Jamie. 

George: Sigrid was the worst thing to happen to The Point on tour, and Nina was one of the best. Everybody else saw rock stars. She saw right through us. She saw us, you know? She saw me, anyway. Saw that I was hurting. Tried to help me. Believe me, if I wasn’t so into Kelly, I’d have fallen at her feet. Probably drunk, but I’d have fallen, totally.

Connor: I really don’t remember. She was just one of the girls on tour. There were so many. Then, at the Hall, she was the first girl I’d met in years who didn’t try and impress us. She put Jamie and Angus in their place, which was a laugh. Yeah, the more I knew her, the more I liked her. Not my type, but still, if she’d shown any interest … However, Jamie was so obviously into her I wouldn’t have stood a chance. And I don’t say that very often.

Declan: I first met her at Heatherwick Hall. She looked scared, a bit how I felt, but gentle and kind. I liked her. Didn’t get why the other guys were so mean to her. I loved how she didn’t let it bother her, though. I think she’s a friend for life. Hope so, anyway.

#3 If you were able to bring anyone back to life, who would it be?

Angus: Elvis. There are so many questions I need to ask him. But maybe all the stories are true. Maybe he’s living on the moon, or working in a diner or something. Who knows? If not Elvis, then Edgar Allen Poe. He had a dark imagination, man. I would love to talk to him. 

Jamie: Janis Joplin. The most soulful singer I ever heard. Wish I could have sat at her feet and watched her. Wish I could talk to her now. She died at 27 – like the greats always do. What is it about 27? If I reach 28, I’m going to throw the biggest party in the world, man. 

Angus: You’re so death-obsessed. Stop taking yourself so seriously!

Jamie: This from the guy who sleeps in black satin sheets and travels everywhere with a skull
Angus: It’s my good luck charm!
Jamie: I rest my case. 

#4 Who would your ideal band comprise of?

Jamie: Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on bass, John Bonham from Led Zeppelin on drums, Prince on keyboards, guitar and whatever other instruments he wanted to play, Mozart on keyboards too. Seriously. If he’d been around in the era of rock and roll, he’d have been the greatest. Me and Angus on guitar. Jimi Hendrix for the occasional solo. Stevie Nicks, maybe. OK, not so much a band, more a historical travelling circus. 

# 5 What was the most embarrassing moment on your life?

Connor: Yacht in the Med. Skinny dipping with some friends. Paparazzi with long lenses. My mum on the phone for, like, an hour, telling me how all her friends had seen my … 

 

Angus: Yeah, and how unimpressive it was. They only needed to pixelate this tiny, tiny, space …

Jamie: Didn’t she say they needed a magnifying glass? 
Declan: Stop lying, Connor. You loved those pics, because that yacht was huge. Anyway, nothing beats Windy telling you guys I was joining the band and watching your reactions. 
Angus: We loved you!
Declan: You hated me! You called me ‘some session musician’. You threatened to walk out if I stayed. So did Jamie.
Jamie: Did we? Sorry, mate. 
Declan: You didn’t speak to me for days. 
Angus: And how many million records have you sold since you joined us? Stop whingeing, man. Seriously, some people can be so ungrateful. Anyway, ask us some more questions …

#6 If you could live anywhere you wanted, in any time period, where would you live?

Declan: In Venice, in the eighteenth century. I’d travel around on my gondola, with my cloak and mask on, doing lots of really really bad stuff and getting away with it. 
Jamie: Hogwarts, the year Harry Potter joined. But having read the books, so, like, I knew what was going to happen. I could be constantly going along to his dormitory and telling him useful info to defeat Voldemort. 
Angus: Jamie, you are a sad, sad individual. I pity you. 
Jamie: Thank you, Casanova. I pity you if you fell in the canal. You can’t even swim. 

#7 If you were a superhero, what would you be called, what would your power be and what would you do to help others (or maybe you would be the villain?)

Angus: I’d be the Diamond Skull, and I’d be able to make people do anything I wanted with just a touch from my guitar. Kind of like now. 
Jamie: Somebody sit on him, please. 
Connor: I’d be Egg Man, and I’d be able to create decent plates of scrambled eggs wherever we were in the world, even in places where they don’t seem to have heard of them and they taste totally disgusting. 
Angus: Egg Man? Are you serious? 
Connor: This from ‘The Diamond Skull’? Have you listened to yourself recently? Also, when was the last time you had decent scrambled eggs? 
Angus: Let me think. In Heatherwick Hall, when Orli was cooking for us. 
Jamie: That’s it! My superpower would be to conjure up Orli at a moment’s notice, to cook for us anywhere. 
Angus: Oh, those parallelogram sandwiches … 
Connor: And she could tell us how good we sounded while we were rehearsing. 
Angus: Yeah. The Make-Orli-Happen superpower. That’s it. My mate’s a genius, man. 
Oliver: Sorry to butt in. Sound check in five, guys. 
Jamie: Looks like that’s it. Bye then. Nice talking to you. 

The interview is over! I hope you guys enjoyed that, I certainly did. Thank you to Sophia for taking the time to put this together!

But wait… there’s more…

 A GIVEAWAY!

Chicken House are kindly giving away a copy of Love Song by Sophia Bennett as well as a signed postcard by the author herself. To enter, just follow @sophiabennett and @chickenhsebooks as well as leave your name and twitter handle in the comments. 

The competition runs from today (2nd Sep) to the 9th September.  Winners will be chosen at random and notified the day after the competition closes. Winners will then have 48 hours to reply with their  mailing address, which will be handed to the publishers who will send out the prize.

 

 AUTHOR INFORMATION:unnamed
I write books. YA ones. About being creative and changing the world and finding out who you really are. I think the best writing right now is on American TV, which may be why I watch too many shows. Everything else you need to know about me and the books is on my website: sophiabennett.com

 

Thank you for reading!

Interview with Jamila Gavin

 

jamila_gavin-detailJamila Gavin was born in 1941 in India “in the foothills of the Himalayas”. Her father was Indian and her mother English, and her earliest memories are of travelling by sea between England and India. She came, with her family, to live permanently in England when she was twelve years old. Although she trained as a pianist and worked on music programmes for the BBC, she has become an author of books for children and young people. Her first book, The Magic Orange Tree, was published in 1979 and has been followed by a number of prize-winning publications. Coram Boy won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award in 2000; The Wheel of Surya was the runner up for the 1993 Guardian Newspaper Children’s Fiction Award. Jamila Gavin’s writing often explores issues of class and racism, historical themes and children’s identity and place in society.

Interview:

1) What were your favourite books of 2015?

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill; wonderfully illustrated by him, and full of great nerdy facts, like how many huskies he had to go to the Antarctic and all their names. 

2) How long have you been writing?

I have loved writing stories and poems all my life, but I was first published in 1979 and have been writing ever since.

3) Where is your favourite place to write?

(Answer in poem form!)

My Favourite Place to Write            Jamila Gavin 
 
 Scribbling, scribbling, anywhere, everywhere,
From Moscow to DelhiCairo to Samarkand.
Or sitting at dawn on the No 27 bus 
Going down Marylebone Road before rush hour.
Never have my notebook to hand when I need it!
Scraps of paper suffice, or backs of old envelopes.
Even long supermarket receipts are repositories, 
Of  ecstatic inspirations or jumbling ideas.
Reminders of characters huddled on pavements, 
Remarks overheard with a frown or a glance!
That little dropped stone in the pond of my consciousness 
Rippling out as a novel or play.
 
But my favourite place to write?
 
Why my study of course, with its Big Bang of chaos; 
My computer, my books and my dictionaries all. 
My view from the window; my garden-half-wilderness,
And the green leafy calm of my five watchful sycamores. 
4) Do you have any more novels planned for 2016?
Yes – I’m working hard on one now which I hope to finish by the end of the year – but it won’t be published till at least 2017. No title yet.
5) What is your favourite past-time?
Playing the piano. Would have said skiing too – but I haven’t been for about 3 years, and now I wonder if I ever will again.
6) Your most anticipated novel of 2016?
I’m waiting with great interest for the third of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy the first two being Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.
7) Which of your novels did you find hardest to write?
The one I’ve been battling with for 8 years, and it’s still not published, and may never be published, but I can’t give up on it yet.
blackberry-blueThank you so much to Jamila for taking part in this interview!
You can find her novel, Blackberry Blue, here and here.