Author Interview — Roy Gill — The Daemon Parallel

In case you missed it, here’s the author interview with Roy Gill.

Q. Did you always want to be an author?
Roy Gill [RG]: Yes, I did. But I never really thought I’d get to be one. I trained to be a lecturer in Film and Media, but the desire to create my own stories never really went away. The great thing about writing is you don’t need a million pound budget or loads of collaborators to get started. Just pick up a pen and paper. Give it a go! You might be surprised where it takes you.

Q. What inspired you to write The Daemon Parallel?
RG: The very original idea came from a spooky dream, about a boy visiting his gran in Edinburgh (like I did when I was small). The city outside was mad and distorted, and filled with monsters — and the boy’s gran was kind of odd too. When I woke up, I wanted to know what had happened to the city, and why the boy was forced to live with this strange grandmother. When I had the answer to those questions, I knew I had the start of a story.

Q. The Daemon Parallel takes place in Edinburgh. What is your favourite place in the city?
RG: Arthur’s Seat. One of the things I love about Edinburgh is that it has loads of green space all mixed in with the shops and roads and houses. You can go to Holyrood Park and climb up the hills, and feel like you’re miles away, but you’re really in the centre of the city. I love that mixture!

Q. Who is your favourite character from The Daemon Parallel?
RG: Oh, that’s difficult! I’d feel disloyal picking just one. I’m not sure I can say! Villains are hugely fun to write, though, especially the more outrageous and evil they are. And characters with secrets are fun too. You get to think up all sorts of ways they might hint at their secrets before they’re actually revealed.

Q. If you could be a supernatural creature, what would you be?
RG: I’ve always loved dogs — so maybe I should be a werewolf? Yeah, that’d be cool. I’d get to see the world in a whole new way.

Q. Did you base any characters on someone you know in real life?
RG: Not directly, but little bits and pieces of people crept in here and there. I don’t think you can help that. I did use the names of some of my friends and family for some of the characters — including the more unpleasant ones. It gave me a laugh when I was writing. When I knew the book was going to be published, I had to check no one was going to be offended!

Q. There are some scary daemons in your book. How did you come up with the names for them?
RG: I usually try and find a word — or part of a word — that reflects their inner monstrous nature. One of my favourites in The Daemon Parallel is the Temperatori, which is a sort of huge time-eating bat. I started looking up words that were connected with time, and came across an Italian word describing the people who look after and maintain clocks. ‘Temperatori’ also sounded a bit like an obscure sort of dinosaur, and maybe suggests something quite angry too. So that’s the name I went for!

Q. How do you decide what the cover of your book looks like?
RG: I don’t! That’s up to the book designer and cover artist. I was shown an early draft not long after the book was commissioned, and I was able to make a few suggestions that perhaps helped nudge the final image closer to how I’d imagined the character, and the world of the book. I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Q. What is the best thing about being an author?
RG: Seeing your finished novel is pretty special. Here’s something which once only existed inside your head — and now is a physical object, with pages and a cover, out there in the big wide world. Anyone can wander into a bookshop, stumble across it, and take it home. That’s exciting.

Q. What book (other than the The Daemon Parallel) would you recommend all children to read before they grow up?
RG: Recommending just one book is very difficult. There are so many authors and novels that mean a lot to me. Hmm… You should read The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It’s a fantastic story about stories, and about one bookish boy who gets to do what all bookish boys secretly want — he ends up living inside the exciting story he’s been reading. All Bastian’s wishes come true — but things don’t necessarily turn out like he — or you — might expect. So many people only know the 1980s film (which covers less than half the novel). The original is a lot darker and stranger, and will stay with you. You’ll love it as a kid, and you’ll want to read it all over again when you’re a grown-up.

Thanks Roy!