Home Interviews Best-selling author Philip Reeve for Lost in Young Adults

Best-selling author Philip Reeve for Lost in Young Adults

by Louisa Klein

Lost in Young Adults continues with best-selling author Philip Reeve, who was kind enough to answers our questions:
1) Why young adult? Did you choose this genre or were you ‘chosen’ by
it?
I don’t think there was a ‘Young Adult’ genre back in 2001 when I published
*Mortal Engines*. I remember telling publishers that I’d written a novel
for teenagers, and they’d shake their heads and say that was a very
difficult market and not much was published for it. So *Mortal
Engines*came out as a children’s book, and although some of my later
books get
darker and more complex they still tend to be classed among children’s
rather than YA, at least by bookshops. I’m not entirely sure what YA
means. It seems a bit of a silly categorization, and I suspect it comes
from a combination of squeamishness about calling 13 – 16 year olds
‘children’ and embarrassment on the part of grown-ups who don’t want to
admit to enjoying children’s books. But when I was a Young Adult myself I
read Science Fiction – Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein, etc.
– and those are the sorts of stories I’m trying to write, so if people want
to call me a YA author then that’s fine by me!
 
2) Is there an author, living or dead, who inspired you particularly?
There are far too many to list here! Geraldine McCaughrean was a big
influence at the time I started writing “Mortal Engines”, and of course
there are all the SF writers I mentioned above (and lots more, including
many whose names I don’t even recall, but their stories still had an
influence.) My latest book, *GOBLINS*, is a bit of an “homage” to Tolkien
and Lloyd Alexander, who were among my favourite authors when I was a child.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your
future projects.
*GOBLINS* is a comic fantasy full of goblins, trolls, wizards and heroes,
which started out as a bed-time story for my son. I’ve just finished
writing a sequel, which will probably be called *Goblins vs Dwarves* and
will be published next year. Then I have one more book in the *Fever
Crumb*series to write, and some ideas for a big new science fiction
project. I’m
also writing some books for younger readers with my friend the illustrator
Sarah McIntyre; the first of those, *Seawigs*, will be out in autumn 2013.

4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and
get published?
I wrote for many years as a hobby, never bothering to submit anything.
When I came up with *Mortal Engines* I thought it was worth trying to
publish it, and approached several agents, but none was interested. I
ended up showing it to Scholastic myself, and they went on to publish it.

5) What’s your opinion about this E-book revolution? Would you consider
the indie route?
I’m sure that if I were starting out today I would have published *Mortal
Engines* myself as an e-book after one or two agents’ rejections, and that
would be a mistake – persevering, and eventually publishing it through
Scholastic, made it a much better book and let it reach a far wider
audience. So I think there’s a danger at the moment that new writers
settle for the indie route rather than pressing on to get a deal with an
established publisher. However, this will change. The E-book revolution
is still going on, and it’s far too early to see what sort of landscape it
will create. We may *all *end up basically self publishing.
 
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use social media a
lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to
write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are
your thoughts?
I’m quite new to social media – I’ve only had the internet for about three
years. I like having the opportunity to interact with readers, but looking
at book blogs and so forth does make you realise just how many writers and
books there are out there, which sometimes makes it feel a bit pointless
adding to the glut. It can be something of a distraction, too. I don’t
think it takes away time that would have spent writing, however; it’s my
reading that has suffered. I probably only read half as many books now as
I did before I went online.
 
Info about the author:
Philip Reeve was born in Brighton in 1966. He has one younger sister. He wrote his first story at the tender age of five; it was about a spaceman called Spike and his dog Spook. He went to St Luke’s School in Queens Park, Brighton where he enjoyed writing, drawing, history and acting, and didn’t enjoy maths, P.E. or getting duffed up. His early influences included Oliver Postgate, Jackanory, Blue Peter, Asterix, Look and Learn, Swallows and Amazons, Airfix models, Whizzer and Chips, Rosemary Sutcliff, Action Man, JRR Tolkein, Star Wars, biscuits, bikes and boats.
 
To know more about Philip, please visit his website: http://philip-reeve.com/
 
To buy his latest book, simply click on the cover below:
 

 
 

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