As a baby writer I was very influenced by Kevin Brooks. I remember reading Candy and being blown away that YA fiction could be so hard-hitting. What I love about Kevin’s writing is the rhythm he finds in the words and how that is so important in his writing style. I learned so much about how to write from reading his books, and the most important point was about distinctive voice. You hear the elusive ‘voice’ talked about a lot in writing circles but it’s one of the most difficult aspects of writing to define. It’s what separates one writer from the other and stops you sounding just like everyone else. It’s the way you place the words on the page and also what’s behind those words too in terms of your views. When people ask me what it is, I tell them to read Kevin Brooks and see voice in action.
I’m the kind of writer who takes lots of little things that happen to them and I weave them into a net of inspiration for a book. For instance, part of the plot for By Any Other Name came from me being in my front garden weeding and being really irritated by this guy in a white car, who was way too old to be behaving like this, driving up and down over and over again with a mega noisy exhaust. That found its way into the book as the white car Katie notices.
The hacktivism in louder Than Words is something I would have been interested in at Lara’s age, although I’d have been more in line with Jez than with the rest of ActionX. At that point in my life I was very into counter-culture and so what those guys are up to now is still something I pay attention to. It was fascinating to watch Anonymous in a recent documentary turning from what I thought of as a particularly unpleasant group of trolls into something with a political conscience. My mother bought me a ring engraved ‘Well behaved women rarely make history’ and it’s true that conformity for the sake of it isn’t something I’m into. You build up better muscles swimming against the tide anyway!
I am influenced by music and I’ve blogged elsewhere about how this book was very influenced by a band called New Model Army, who have been around forever and are still putting music out there, and by Tom Odell’s Another Love. This is the first time that songs have actually shaped a book – usually I use them to create a mood for me to write in but I actually had characters come from songs this time which was fantastic! I wish that could happen more often. I really enjoyed writing that way.
Louder Than Words was published on June 5th by Electric Monkey. You can read more about the book on Goodreads.