Where did the idea for Lucas come from?
A: The island where Lucas
is set is loosely based on a small island
off the coast of Essex, not too far from where
I live. I used to visit this island quite
a lot, and I always thought its barren sands
and mud flats and its isolated atmosphere
would make a good setting for a story. I kept
this idea in my head for a long time, and
I carried on thinking about what kind of story
would work in such a setting ... until eventually
I came up with the idea of Lucas.
Q: Lucas raises so many
issues that are so prevalent in the world
right now, especially in regards to how
fear can shape a society, and how courage
must counterbalance fear. What meaning do
you want readers to take from this?
A: I'm not sure I want
readers to take any specific meaning from
anything I write, but if I can write about
stuff in a way that allows them to think
about things if they want to
then that's great. Looking for meanings
can be a tricky thing, and it doesn't always
help in the long run, so I generally prefer
to just look at things.
Q: Readers are always a little surprised when male writers write compelling
female characters. What was it like for
you to get into Caitlin's head? Was it different
than it was for a male character, like Martyn
A: Getting inside a character's
head is a big part of what my writing is
all about, and I always spend a lot of time
getting to know my characters before I start
writing about them. What this means, basically,
is trying to imagine - with as much intensity
as possible - how it would feel to be someone
else. Whether this 'someone else' is male
or female doesn't really matter - what's
important is bringing them to life. So,
although writing from Caitlin's point of
view was totally different than writing
from Martyn Pig's point of view, the process
and the enjoyment were pretty much the
Q: What advice do you have for
A: Two things, really:
1) Keep writing, and try to write what you
want to write. And 2) Read as much as you
can, and try to read what you want to read.
Reading is the best way to learn how to
write, and the more you enjoy it, the more
Q: Your new hardcover, Kissing
the Rain, has just been published. What's
A: I've just finished my
fourth book, a story about love and intoxication,
called Candy, and I'm currently working
on the screenplay for a film of Martyn
Pig. When that's done I'll be starting
work on book number five.
Q: What do you do when you're not
A: Sleep, read, think,
hang around, watch TV, play chess (badly),
play guitar, walk the dog. At the moment,
though, I'm spending most of my time chasing
after our brand-new crazy-legged puppy,
trying to stop it destroying the house.
Q: What's one thing your readers
might not know about you which you think
they might be interested to know?
A: I collect plastic hyenas
and sheriffs' badges.
For more conversations with Kevin Brooks,