Tim was our Guest Editor in February 2011. Click here to see his selections.
Tim Bowler is one of the UK’s most compelling and original writers for teenagers. He was born in Leigh-on-Sea and after studying Swedish at University he worked in forestry, the timber trade, teaching and translating before becoming a full-time writer. He lives with his wife in a small village in Devon and his workroom is an old stone outhouse known to friends as ‘Tim’s Bolthole’.
Tim has written eighteen books and won fifteen awards, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for River Boy. His most recent novel is the gripping Buried Thunder, and his provocative Blade series is being hailed as a groundbreaking work of fiction. He has been described by the Sunday Telegraph as ‘the master of the psychological thriller’ and by the Independent as ‘one of the truly individual voices in British teenage fiction’.
Q & A with Tim Bowler
1. What inspired you to write Buried Thunder?
Buried Thunder started from an image in my head. I had no idea what that image meant or where it was going to lead, but I followed it because it was so intriguing. I saw a girl rushing through a forest at dusk and stumbling – literally – upon a body, and then a second, and a third; and a figure standing near. By this time I was hooked, so I carried on.
2. Describe the basic story in two or three sentences.
Buried Thunder is a thriller based around an ancient hotel in a small country village. It is the story of fourteen-year-old Maya and her desperate attempts to understand and resist the evil that has closed around her since she and her family moved to the village. Her struggle leads her to the brink of madness and the discovery of a terrifying secret.
3. How long did it take you to write Buried Thunder?
It took about a year. I wrote one big, sprawling draft, realised it was much too loose, went over it with my editor, then pruned it right back.
4. What do you think people will say about Buried Thunder?
I hope they will be gripped by the story and will feel deeply for Maya as she goes through her terrifying ordeals. I also hope it will scare them witless!
5. Are you working on something else at the moment?
I'm busy with a new novel, which will hopefully be published in Spring 2012, together with the new bind-up version of the Blade series, which I'm dying to see.
6. What is your favourite food? Vegetarian shepherd's pie the way my wife cooks it, followed by coffee ice cream.
7. What makes you laugh out loud? I can never predict what will set me off. I laugh at all kinds of things. The only humour I dislike is humour that is cruel.
8. What is your one luxury item you would take with you on to a Desert Island? A basketball.
9. What is your most treasured memory? The day I got married.
10. What is your weakness? A tendency to be over-driven when it comes to writing, an inability to let it go when I ought to have a rest.
11. Who is the person you most admire? I admire many, many people and wouldn't want to single out just one.
12. What is your most embarrassing moment? The time I opened a bottle of fizzy water before starting a talk and found myself spraying the front row because someone had shaken the bottle earlier.
13. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? A saying attributed to Goethe: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, do it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Start now."
14. Define beauty. Something that can't be defined, only recognised (like love).
15. What are you reading at the moment? A book called Stepping Stones about the poet Seamus Heaney. I'm also re-reading the Diary of Samuel Pepys and a two-volume collection of the letters of the composer Delius.
16. What are you reading at the moment. I'm re-reading Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace (gets better every time) and the collected short stories of Guy de Maupassant (an old favourite). Have just finished Trash by Andy Mulligan, which blew me away.
17. Favourite holiday destination? Nowhere in particular but I prefer quiet, remote places as untouched as possible by tourism.
18. Which authors have most inspired you? Shakespeare most of all, and various poets, especially Keats and Blake, and certain more recent poets like Heaney and (from the last century) the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf, whose work I've loved since I first met it at university.
19. What is your favourite children’s book? Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.
20. Most treasured possession? My life.
21. Where are you happiest? There's no single place or experience. Sometimes I'm happiest when I'm with the people I love most; sometimes I'm happiest when I'm alone thinking and working. Happiness doesn't follow rules. It just falls when it falls.
22. Favourite biscuit? They don't make them any more but you used to be able to buy biscuits called "Dad's Cookies" and they were absolutely scrummy.
23. Pet hates? People who are pompous.
24. If you could change one thing about the world we live in today what would it be? I'd make human beings incapable of violence.
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