Hello again everyone! So my book review for Nick Cutter’s The Troop just went live (be sure to check it out, the novel is quite a read!). Well, thanks to Anneliese at Simon and Schuster CA, I also had the opportunity to ask the author a few questions about the book and about writing 🙂
So before I jump right in with the Q&A, I just wanted to give a big thank you again to Simon and Schuster CA and Nick Cutter for taking the time to answering my questions 🙂
- What inspired you to write this novel?
A case of temporary insanity? No, no … I’d written a book just before The Troop where I dealt with characters as boys. I liked writing about characters at that age. And as for the rest, I guess I was interested in a monster that didn’t stalk you in the traditional sense, like a zombie or a vampire or something external to you. This monster was inside of you. You couldn’t run away from it.
- What really impressed me while reading this novel was how you captured the adolescent experiences and perspectives of the boys in the troop and the way they responded to the situation around them. Was it easy writing their scenes compared to the adult characters?
I found it so. This book really just poured out of me. Kids are more trusting, naturally; the world hasn’t yet impressed upon them what a snakepit it can be. And that’s kind of the reckoning that they face in this book, aside from the primary threat: that adults are often wrong, and craven, and evil and out for themselves. The come to see that their own parents are defenceless in the face of certain realities.
- Each of these boys had a very distinct personality and experiences growing up. Did you have a favourite while writing?
Ooooh, I guess that would have to be Newt. He’s sort of a Piggy character, from Lord of the Flies, but he’s very much a bit of me, too, in that I was a big boy and took some jabs from others because of that. I wasn’t such an outcast as poor Newt, but there’s a similarity of experience. And in the great way of books, in which the writer is god, you can make Newt the hero. I like that kind of power.
- Perhaps a bit of a spoilerish question but was there any moment while writing or revising this novel that left you thinking “Yikes, that’s really scary!” or “Hmm, I didn’t expect that development”?
I think as I went along, I had to find a reason for why the monster in this book existed in the first place. How did it come to be? Starting out, I only knew that it was the type of monster I wanted, as I spoke on earlier: a monster inside your body. But how did it get to be the particularly menacing variant that I wrote it to be? That was fun to develop the causes, trace the invention of the monster as it were, and to add elements where the military and drug companies were involved, all with devious purposes.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
There’s no secrets, no way to avoid the obvious: the only way to be a writer is to write. Ass in chair. Every day if you can manage it, but if not on some kind of schedule. It’s like a muscle: if you don’t flex it regularly, it atrophies. That has been my experience, anyway.
The Troop will be available on 25 February 2014.