On Monday 22 June our new Year 6 Book Committee got the opportunity to interview debut Irish author, Shane Hegarty, via Skype. The committee are all presently reading Shane’s new novel, Darkmouth, a book about a young monster hunter, Finn, following in the footsteps of his father.
As well as giving us an insight into the way he writes and the sources for ideas, Shane took time to answer all our questions. We discovered that the next book in the Darkmouth series, Worlds Explode, is to be published next month. The mythological monsters mentioned in his books are from around the world: Greek, Celtic, African and so forth.
Shane showed us round his office where he spends every weekday working on his new books. He had a monster poster on the wall, a map of Great Britain with all the original place names (for example did you know Dublin means dark pool?), a kitchen where he makes too many cups of tea and finally a view of the town through an upstairs window where he envisages monsters on the loose, just as in his books.
Most impressive were Shane’s detailed answers – and his obvious sense of humour! He imagined a hydra, a monster from Greek mythology with many heads, whose heads didn’t always agree with each other. Classic Shane.
Here are the committee’s questions:
How do you describe the creature’s looks?
I like to describe them in a way that isn’t too boring e.g. the toes were … the knees were.. the eyes were… So as a whole I prefer to give more of a brief and interesting description instead. I sometimes find it hard to judge the amount of detail to add into the story and find it quite difficult.
What gave you inspiration to use the diamond ring through the monster’s nose?
I really wanted to get something unusual in the story and something that would come up in book again and again and also in the sequel.
From where did you get the idea of naming the town Darkmouth?
The thing that inspired me was being in New Zealand in a place called Greymouth. When I was getting on the train and it was all gloomy I thought the name matched the weather, so I decided that the town in his book was going to be dark – and called it Darkmouth!
How long do you plan ahead in your books?
Not very much in the first book, Darkmouth. I realised he hadn’t quite planned ahead enough, so in my 2nd and 3rd books I knew that I needed to plan a lot more.
What inspired you to write a book based on mythological monsters?
The book really is about humans. The monsters help to bring out the characters of the humans. I loved books about myths and legends when I was younger so I decided to include them in the book.
Do you feel like you are ever in Finn’s shoes?
Yes but I try and make it really hard for Finn, so I do something and think, ‘How can I make it worse for him?’ And it is like I live in two worlds. There is this world, the one outside my window, and then there is Darkmouth.
How did you come up with the idea of the monsters, especially the names?
All the monsters in my book are from legends, or myths, or any story I hear about monsters that I particularly like, especially Hogboon who I found in a story which was quite fun, so I decided on him. I only use the monsters that are quite rare, and no one has really heard about. Also they have to be really fun and funny.
We are very much looking forward to hosting events with Shane at BGS on Thursday 1 October.