If you’ve been in publishing any number of days, the one thing you will know is that Phil Earle, or Pippin to his nearest and dearest (this isn’t true), is the loveliest man in the business. When I say lovely, I mean LOVELY. I don’t think I’ve met a person who doesn’t like him (though I haven’t met his wife, I admit). Anyway, Phil has been working in books for a long time, has been writing YA novels for ages too, but only recently, he lampooned himself right into middle of the younger readers scene. His newest novel, DEMOLITION DAD, is outrageously funny and set to get kids racing to the bookshops.
But what I want to know, Phil, is why middle grade fiction, and why now? Can you give us one good reason why you’ve deserted us YA-ers?
Well, after four years of writing thoroughly gritty/miserable books for teens, I just couldn’t put myself or another single reader through the pain any more…that’s kind of true, the other truth is that I didn’t have an idea that was burning a hole in me to get out. I always promised myself I wouldn’t sit and churn stories out for the sake of it, so when these younger, cheerier stories starting popping up in my head, this seemed like the way to go.
And what’s one thing about writing for younger readers that you’re really enjoying?
Shorter word counts! More laughs, less death and destruction. Take your pick really…
And one thing you’re finding a challenge?
Not swearing and being miserable.
If you could only save one character from DEMOLITION DAD from a fire, who would it be and why?
It would be the street bully, Masher Milner, as book three is all about him. If he’d already perished then writing about him would be one hell of a challenge…
What’s the one physical thing you need in your life to be able to write well?
My Macbook. I’m a terrible tinkerer….
And what’s the one immaterial thing that makes writing easier?
Noise. I love it and need it to write…
And your one biggest distraction when trying to get words onto paper?
Twitter, facebook, the interweb, wine, chocolate. SLEEP!
Ok, you’re on a desert island (probably not for the first time). You can bring one of each of these things.
One book: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby [This is really interesting to me. I’ve always thought that Phil’s YA is Nick Hornby for teens.]
One album: A playlist of a live set I recently saw by The Decemberists
One TV series: Blackadder series 4
One luxury item: A crate of Pale Ale
One person: Laura (obviously) [Laura is Phil’s wife – ahhhh!]
Access to one website: BBC Sport
And finally, why is DEMOLITION DAD important to you? Give us as many reasons as you like!
Because it’s a love letter to both my dad and my kids.
Re-reading ‘Danny, The Champion of the World’ lately was a revelation. The power of that Father/son relationship, I was determined to try and write something that had that power, that emotion…
It’s also important because I really wanted to show people I wasn’t a one-trick pony. That I could do something else, something different.
Thanks so much for your time, Phil J I know it’s a busy time for you at the moment with publication and moving house, but GOOD LUCK with it all. You really are LOVELY! Don’t forget to follow Phil on Twitter @philearle