A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to be part of the York School’s Trust Reading Week and led a session about writing dystopias with a group of Year 9’s. It was such a fun and refreshing experience. It was fascinating to be engaged with teenagers and realising that school truly hasn’t changed much since I left. They have such vibrant and creative minds, I met some girls who have even started writing their own dystopian pieces, and I loved being reminded of the potential of our next generation of writers.

The session ran like this: I introduced myself, read from chapter one of Crowned Worthy, discussed dystopia and then explained my writing journey and why I started writing.

What was brilliant was the variety and hilarity of the questions the kids asked me. I thought you’d find these interesting:

  • Why is the beer in your books so weak?

    My answer: In Tulo (the setting for Merit-Hunters), people are rewarded with points for hard work and productivity. If they had strong beer, hangovers would impede on their ability to be their most effective and productive.
  • Why are you characters worried about having slept for 8 hours? That’s good, isn’t it?

    My answer: Sleeping for that long in Tulo is not a praiseworthy thing, it's actually a little embarrassing. All of those hours don't working towards a merit score is seen as lazy so a drug called SkipSleep enables them to continue working through the night and they only need limited natural sleep. But we see in Crowned Worthy, the dangers of SkipSleep through one of the central characters.
  • If God inspires your writing, why don’t you just write Bible 2? 😂

    My answer: Wow, that would take me a long time.
  • How much do you earn in your marketing job?

    My answer: I can't remember, something very vague that didn't give my salary away!
  • How long does it take you to write a book?

    My answer: So far, about 18 months but I suspect the third novel will take longer as the other two were written during lockdowns.
  • Why did you write the books?

    My answer: Something similar to what I wrote in this blog: The Story Behind the Merit-Hunters Series.
Here's me and some of the students with my books.

It was such a refreshing experience and I hope to be engaged in more local schools soon!