20 Feb

I’m having the most wonderful week writing every day. I’ve been visiting my absolute favourite cafe here in sunny (I lie, rainy, very rainy) South London and consuming a heinous amount of chai latte. My WIP is going well – on track to hit 40k by the end of the week! Sweet!

Anyway, writing this novel has brought its fair share of new challenges. Not only am I writing a boy for the very first time, and in First Person Present (which I resisted for a long time), I’m also writing something contemporary, and absolutely grounded in the real world. For someone whose ideas usually contain at least an element of the speculative, this is something a bit scary. I can’t hide behind made-up maps and invent convenient forests anymore.

On the other hand, because my novel is set in London itself, even taking a short walk becomes inspirational. I’ve had certain ‘London set pieces’ I was dying to write for ages, because I knew they would be evocative for Londoners and outsiders alike – for example, ‘The Tube Sequence’. For a long time I didn’t know which tube station(s) I wanted to use, and it has been the subject of some quite heated debate amongst my friends: which tube station would be the most exciting setting for a thrilling chase scene? There were many suggestions, including the rather futuristic Westminster, which I might have to save for another book because it’s awesome.


As for which station made it into the book, well, hopefully one day you will be able to read it and find out…Let’s just say it’s one I know very well indeed.

I’ve tried to cover a large swathe of the city, from the suburbs all the way to Piccadilly Circus. This reflects my experience as a born and raised Londoner. Writing about my home city has given me the chance to include my own most memorable spaces, making the book a patchwork of my own experiences. Although I live in fear of someone pointing out a disastrous geographical error, I love that I can draw on the London that I know and adore.

What do you prefer, creating a new world or staying in this one?

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