Wordy Wednesday with Rob Tamplin

Good morning Wordy Wednesday fans and random travellers that have stumbled into this wood panel walled room of words and the faint whiff of desperation, yes that's writing you can smell! (or maybe writers, who knows) anyway today I have the pleasure to introduce the fabulous Rob Tamplin! I know, you are beside yourselves, calm down, grab a cushion, sit nearer the fire, mind the cat, and let us begin

Rob, tell us about yourself and your books, what genre do you write?
Hi! I’m Rob, I’m 33, and live in London.
I’m currently writing a young adult thriller called Cats of War. It’s about Shanti, who is conscripted as a cat trainer to help fight the Great Bird War of 2023.
Before this I wrote a mystery novel in my twenties. It was rewarding and frustrating in equal measure, but the book didn’t end up going anywhere. So I’m taking every lesson I learned from writing that book wrong and using it to write this book right.

Do you have another job or are you a full time author? If you do something else (international spy?) what is it and do you like it?

I run production for a publishing company, which, as you can imagine, is about as close to being an international spy as you can get without actually being one. It’s a useful job for a writer because it lets me conserve my imagination.

When did you start writing?
Around age 11, my teacher (big up Mr. Wood!) played our class the musical version of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds – it beat having to read it aloud. Listening to it effectively ignited my obsession with books, music, and science fiction. Soon after, I started writing what would now be called H.G. Wells fanfiction. Yes, I was that cool. {{no comment

My parents supported my writing from the start, and I kept on writing about things I was a fan of until I tried writing my own ‘original’ work when I was 13 – pretty much a rip off of Ridley Scott’s Alien. I think my ‘original ideas’ are a bit more original nowadays. {{so tricky when people keep having the good ideas first!

What 3 things are guaranteed to make you smile?
I scowl at everything apart from cats, the sea, and ice cream.

Rob Tamplin with Biscuit the Cat
Do you have any pets? If yes, what, and do they help or hinder the writing process?
I based my lead cat-character on one of the cats I live with (she’s the one in the picture). So in that sense they helped my writing process massively. They’re also very good at making sure I take plenty of screen breaks by climbing all over my lap/keybord/notepad while I’m trying to work. {{the perfect muse

Who is your favourite author? Do they influence your writing or are they a total break from the sort of thing you write?
If I had to pick only one – and I’m doing so under extreme duress, because since getting into YA my list of favourite authors has tripled – it would be Roberto BolaƱo. He was an amazingly prolific Chilean author and poet, and the only person whose writing can make me smile, weep, and also scare the living bejeezus out of me – often at the same time. His work is influencing me less this time around, but he did change how I think about my prose. He’s excellent at writing economical prose that builds and builds until you feel as trapped and frustrated as the characters. I’d love to work out how to do that.

Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just started Foxglove Summer which is the fifth in Ben Aaronovitch’s Peter Grant series. I recommend them to anyone who will listen, especially to young adults who want to move on to more adult-oriented books.

Where do you do most of your writing?
I write scene outlines and character dialogue on public transport and in spare moments, and then type-up and edit at my desk. It’s rare that I’ll spend hours at a time writing, although I’m making plans to try and change that.

Tell us about the character that you've written that you like the most - but no spoilers!
My favourite character to write is Onika Pierre from Cats of War.
We share a lot of traits, but she’s much better at speaking truth to power than I am.
I wanted to write a character whose emotional responses are so massive that they end up alienating people around them. Onika is so caring and sensitive that she acts defensively, and gets into trouble. She’s also someone who improvises and muddles through rather than having the answers straight away – she’s confused, overwhelmed, frightened, and still a hero.

What is your favourite biscuit?
That’s easy – my favourite biscuit is Biscuit, the cat who inspired the lead in my book. She belongs to the house, and is simultaneously the sweetest and most unpredictably savage cat I’ve ever met.
But as for actual biscuits, I’m a fan of excess so it’s got to be Fox’s Extremely Chocolately Cookies.

Tea or Coffee?
Both! Not together though – never mix your drinks.{{that way madness lies

In the film of your life who would play you?
Dress Oliver Hardy in a beard and a pair of specs and I think he’d do a bang up job. He’s much funnier than me though.

If you could genetically cross an animal and a vegetable, what would you pick and why? I like the idea of a peach and a canary, tuneful, juicy and sweet.
I’d hate to foist a vegetable’s life on an animal, or vice versa, so I’m going to go with an animal that already seems happy enough being both – a sea cucumber.

you can stalk follow Rob on twitter at @rjtwrites
Rob is on Goodreads too - GoodReads
And he has a shiny new blog over at Rob Tamplin

  Pop over to my Facebook page and comment  there, or come for a chat on twitter. Until next week.

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