I’m interviewing Nick Green, author of YA science-fiction “Project Firebird”. My questions are bolded, Nick’s responses are in regular font.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
The number of hoops I have to jump through before even being able to sit down to write! The most income I’ve ever made from writing has still not been enough to live on, so of course I have a day job (which is actually being a writer of a different kind – they call it ‘copywriting’ but I swear I never copied anyone, honest). And as well as having a job I also have young kids, and dripping taps and all the usual stuff that gets in the way of one’s plans. Sometimes I think it’s a miracle I ever get past the first line. The fact that I’ve now written seven books (or five if you count all three Firebirds as one) is nigh-impossible for me to believe. I’ve no idea where the time comes from. Maybe I sleep-write.
Can you give us a short synopsis of Project Firebird? What inspired you to write this book?
Maybe not an actual synopsis… You don’t really want to know the plot in advance, do you? I suppose you might if you were really pressed for time… Very well then, here’s the gist of how the story gets going. Our accidental hero is Leo Lloyd-Jones, and he’s everyone’s idea of a nightmare teenage boy. He steals cars and trashes them, that sort of thing. By what appears to be a lucky accident, he ends up among a group of Courageous Children and young geniuses who are all being given an award for being Just Great – this is the Firebird Medal. But of course, all is not as it seems. These exceptional kids have actually been gathered together to form the basis of an elite team to found a new civilisation – because the current one, our one, is due to be splatted from on high by a comet. Nothing can deflect this comet, they’re told. It’s going to hit. And Leo is stuck among them, in this converted nuclear bunker, waiting for the end. What’s he to do? And so the story really begins.
What inspired this story? Lots of things. I remember reading that it has been seriously proposed that this generation of humanity should leave what you might call ‘Black Box Flight Recorders’ of how our civilisation works, a massive data bank of human knowledge stored securely for hundreds of years, against the danger that our civilisation collapses or is destroyed somehow, and people in the future have to rebuild it. ‘Project Firebird’ is basically one of these Black Boxes. The only difference is, it’s going to be staffed – by the characters in this book.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
Not enough. But I daydream a helluva lot, so that’s almost as good. I think. It means that when I do squeeze in my twenty minutes or so, it’s not wasted.
Name your top five favorite books.
I said on another blog interview that I don’t have favourite books, and that’s largely true. But I can’t go giving the same answers everywhere, so here’s a list for you:
Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel)
The Lord Of The Rings (by you know who)
The Secret History (Donna Tartt)
The Rain Before It Falls (Jonathan Coe)
War and Peace (by some Russian guy)
I’m not just being flash by naming War and Peace. It really is fab, if you get a decent translation. I remember smuggling a copy into a rock gig. Well, I mean my bag was checked at the door, and the doorman sort of staggered and said, ‘What you got in there, War and Peace?’ So I told him, actually, yeah. (I didn’t actually read it in the concert, I should add. I’m not that sad.)
What are you working on now?
I’m having a go at a shorter book for slightly younger readers, perhaps the lower end of middle-grade. I think I need to recharge after the rather epic and doom-laded Firebird, and it was also a cute idea that occurred to me, and insisted on being tried out. But I won’t talk about it yet, it’s too soon.
Thanks for inviting me to chat!
About The Book
Author: Nick Green
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
How do you save the world when it’s already too late?
Don’t ask Leo Lloyd-Jones. Ask him how to steal a car, or why he got excluded from every school in Salford, but don’t come to him for help. This whole thing must be a daft mistake – and if anyone finds out, he’s done for.
Earth is on a deadly collision course that nothing can prevent. The only real hope is Project Firebird, deep inside a blast-proof bunker that shelters the brightest and bravest young people. Leo has got mixed up with the likes of Rhys Carnarvon, the celebrated teenage polar explorer, and other child prodigies chosen to keep the flame of civilisation.
Among them is the streetwise Paige Harris, a girl Leo likes a lot (but not in that way). Paige is desperate to rescue her little sister from London before the catastrophe strikes. But no-one is crazy enough to try that. Almost no-one.
Leo is about to find out why he’s here.
Nick Green lives in the UK. He is the author of seven fiction books to date, including the middle-grade CAT KIN trilogy published by Strident. His other books include THE STORM BOTTLE, a fantasy adventure about the dolphins of Bermuda, and most recently the FIREBIRD trilogy, a YA science fiction epic.
There is a tour-wide giveaway for all three books in the Firebird trilogy in Kindle format.