Anchor Leg by Jack Croxall

Ok, so I know it’s been a while, but I never could resist a Q&A with one of my fave authors, the lovely Mr Croxall.  His new book, Anchor Leg, is brilliant and has all the makings of a classic sci-fi novel. Naturally, I wanted to know more about what had inspired him to write it and where he thinks the story might go next. anchor%20leg%20cover

Where did the character of Seren come from? Is she based on anyone you know?

Oh, good question! I wonder if you agree that every character we write has a little bit of ourselves in them? However, beyond that tiny bit of me, I think Seren is very much her own beast. I had a few scenes in mind when I started writing the book and Seren just sort of grew from what I pictured her doing. My thought process was something like: if she acts like this she must have this kind of personality. Does that make sense?!

Why did you decide to make Seren a trainee?

As an apprentice I thought Seren could learn about the Relay (the fictional succession of habitable space stations that make up the book’s setting) as the reader did. I also started the book off with the idea that it might end up as a young-adult title, but eventually I realised I was writing something that was really pure sci-fi. By then Seren’s character was fully formed and I didn’t want to change/age her. Despite being seventeen (maybe that was always more new-adult than young-adult anyway) I think she works as she is. I just hope readers agree!

What is your favourite sci-fi film/book franchise? Did it have an influence on Anchor Leg?

Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek: The Next Generation. I absolutely loved that show when I was growing up and, during my time at university, I re-watched every episode from all seven series in order – that was my proper education! I love the idea of space exploration and all the moral dilemmas it seems to throw up. In terms of influence, I definitely placed Seren into some morally dubious situations and had her (and other characters) question her actions. On  top of that, there are endless little references and winks to all of my favourite sci-fi shows and films buried within the book. I hope readers have fun spotting them!

The prose of Anchor Leg feels so cinematic that I can imagine it easily as a movie. I know you sometimes write screenplays – would you perhaps adapt this one day as a screenplay?

I take that as a huge compliment, thank you! I also agree that Anchor Leg would make a decent screenplay; a lot of cutting/streamlining as a given of course. Alas, the zero-G stuff and special effects would cost a lot of money to film and, as an unknown writer, I would be very unlikely to get it made. You never know though, maybe one day!

How much did your degree studies/ interest in science influence this book?

I studied environmental science at university and some of that came into play in surprising ways towards the end of the book. My knowledge of space was actually not that strong (although the solar system obviously fascinates me) but I was lucky in that Steve Caddy – sci-fi author of the fabby In Exchange – was on hand to help me with all the technical detail. He set me straight where I got things horrifically wrong in early drafts.

If Anchor Leg was made into a film, who would you love to see in the main roles? Perhaps you’d even like to see it drawn as an anime! 

Definitely unknowns for Seren and Abril, maybe established actors for some of the more senior crew. As for your anime idea, perfect! You’ve singlehandedly solved my budgetary constraint problems! If any animators are reading this, drop me a line!

circle%20author%20photoOriginally trained as an environmental scientist, Jack Croxall soon realised a life in the lab wasn’t for him. After discovering a passion for writing he’s now an award-winning author, scriptwriter and blogger. He tweets via @JackCroxall and blogs at http://www.jackcroxall.co.uk

Anchor Leg is available from Amazon now!

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Wye by Jack Croxall – blog tour

Hello peeps! It’s my turn on the blog tour organised by book blog queen Liz Wilkins for Jack Croxall’s much anticipated new YA dystopian novel, Wye. In the coming weeks, Jack will be visiting again to answer some of my dastardly questions (he clearly didn’t learn his lesson last time) but for today I’m going to share my thoughts on the novel and give you some info on where to get your hands on a copy.

In Wye, Jack takes the traditional zombie tale and turns it on its head. The wonderful thing about Wye is that the twist is hiding in plain sight, and you don’t see it coming until it’s already snuck up on you; you’re simply left scratching your head, wondering at its brilliance.

Set in a landscape we now know well, everyone in the world has succumbed to a deadly virus that strips them of not only their lives, but any shred of humanity they might have possessed beforehand, and leaves them as a lumbering, slobbering, blood-thirsty freak. So far, so traditional zombie tale, but if you think you know where it’s going, think again. Few have survived, and for teenage girl – codenamed Wye – there is only her and a ragged band of friends picked up on the road, and her chances of survival, as we are told straight away by means of her journal, are very slim indeed. It feels as though we are reading the dying words of the young girl already and this sense of inevitability is what provides much of the tension. There is a monster… or is there? There is violence… or is there? There is genuine fear for the main character delivered through some brilliant unreliable narration. It’s hard to know what’s real, but this is what makes the story so gripping.Wye Cover Small

Wye is a satisfying, tension-filled read with a flawed but ultimately sympathetic main character. You might find yourself appalled by the actions she takes, but in the end, would you do any differently? It was a book that I couldn’t get out of my head for some time afterwards, and I can’t help but love the very new approach it takes to the traditional apocalypse/zombie/dystopian fare that has been in vogue for some time now; it’s like a breath of fresh air. There’s a literary bent to it too, so if you prefer your reads with a little more existential substance, then you won’t be disappointed by that aspect either.

So…. what are you waiting for? You can find Wye on Amazon and you can find out more about Jack on his website. While you’re at it, why not look him up on Twitter?

Two years of head-desking…

dead girl walking finalIt’s been a long two years since I began writing Dead Girl Walking. In between beginning this book and where we are now (not quite but almost ready to publish) I’ve been through two day jobs and published three books under my pen name.  But this book has been one of those that I have had a love-hate relationship with. While I have loved the characters, I don’t mind admitting that the story has been incredibly difficult to get right. I’ve had the help of my fantastic agent, Peta Nightingale, who must be absolutely sick of seeing rewrites from me by now (I think we’re on about eight but I’ve lost count)  and her colleague at LAW, Philippa Milnes-Smith, who kindly carted one of the first drafts around Bologna book fair for me to gain lots of publisher feedback, along with one of my best friends, Louise, who read the crap drafts even when she had much better things to do.  Writer friends have also waded in, and I have to thank Mel Sherratt in particular for championing the book right from the start, Rebecca Bradley for offering her know-how and expertise on getting the details right, and Jack Croxall for braving the early drafts.  Without all these people Dead Girl Walking would have been something very different, and not nearly as good, I’m sure. It’s taken two years but think I finally like it and I hope that you all like it too.  So I’m thrilled to share the new blurb and cover  with you all. I don’t have an exact release date yet, but it’s soon, so I guess, as they say, watch this space…

Cassie Brown doesn’t see dead people, she becomes them. The slightest touch forces her to relive their final moments in breath-sapping detail. She herself was dead, killed in the accident that took the rest of her family. But whatever strange power governs the universe, has plans for her that don’t involve her death… yet.

Dante has a recurring dream.  Every time he sleeps he sees the exact moment of his own demise. But where did the nightmare come from?  If it is a premonition, how long has he got?

A girl and a boy, two damaged souls drawn together. Add a serial killer stalking the streets, a desperate cop and a newspaper reporter with an unhealthy interest in her story, and Cassie is soon caught in a lethal game. She may have cheated Death once, but this time he’s keeping a much closer eye on his prize…

Dead Girl Walking is an unpredictable mix of romance, paranormal and crime thriller that will keep you gripped until the very last page.