Friday, 24 July 2015

There's a new undercover reporter in town...

Jonny Jakes Investigates The Hamburgers of Doom is the first in a new series written by Malcolm Judge.  It’s full of comedy one-liners and rule breaking on a galactic scale.

 Jonny Jakes Investigates the Hamburgers of Doom

I'm Jonny Jakes.

That's not my real name.

When you're an undercover journalist you don't use your own name. 
If you're deep undercover you don't even use your own hair.

Most of the time I was reading this, it had two bookmarks because neither me nor my nine year old son could wait for the other to finish it, so I’m delighted to welcome Malcolm to MG Strikes Back.  He’s an author, drama teacher and dad-to-boys from Cumbria.

Hi Malcolm!  So for those who haven’t read your book yet, who is Jonny Jakes and what’s he all about?
Jonny is an undercover schoolboy reporter. He’s a defender of ‘truth and justice’ and offends pretty much everyone he meets. On the plus side he does save the world from a hideous fate.

Were you like Jonny Jakes as a child?
Sort of. I could never have been so rude but I was a bit of a rebel underneath. I can’t say I’ve saved the world yet but I guess there’s still time.

We know that Jonny isn’t his real name, so what is?  Or is it a secret?  Will we get to find out in another book?
I know his name but I only plan on revealing it on the last line of the last book.

So what’s next for Jonny Jakes?
Trying to save the world from a compulsory Victorian education. Past Head Master Victory Piggot comes back to life and it’s up to Jonny to stop his evil plans.

Jonny’s brilliant at comedy one-liners – did you have to work hard to think of these or is this something that comes naturally to you?  i.e. do you embarrass your children in public?
I had to work hard at the one liners. One of the reasons I like writing is that it gives you time to come up with all those witty remarks you would have liked to have said but were too slow. Embarrassing my children, on the other hand, comes remarkably easily.

What’s the best bit about writing stories?

What’s the worst bit?
The 15th edit/re-write.

Alan Brown is the brilliant illustrator – have you met him?  And are his drawings how you imagined your characters to look?
I haven’t met Alan but I’m very grateful for his work, the cover looks amazing and so do his ideas for book two.
I can’t say the characters are how I imagined them but now they’re here they just seem right.

Does being a dad and teacher help with ideas?
My boys’ banter has definitely helped.

Where do you write?
Where I can although we now have a room in the extension that has lots of light and feels good.

Did you have to do much research for Jonny Jakes?
Very little.

Have you ever felt like giving up writing?  What helped you to carry on?
I haven’t felt like giving up but there have been times when I wondered if Jonny would ever make the page. 

Has anything surprised you about being published? 
The difference between writing a story and making a book. They are definitely not the same thing.

Could we have a quick ‘publication journey’ for those of us who love hearing them?
Jonny began life as a space pirate on the landing of my wife’s aunt and uncle’s house in Plymouth. A few months later I abandoned space and took the same ‘voice’ into a school setting. The story got written in about a year with two two hour sessions a week.

When the story was done I then went through the entire literary agents section in the Artists’ and Writers’ Yearbook with minimal success. As I began on the publishers’ section I found out that the story had made it to the Times/Chicken House Longlist. That was a major confidence booster but still there were no takers. Once I got interest from Curious Fox it was still a year or two before the book made it into print due to re-structuring at the company.

It has definitely been a marathon and not a sprint, although I must say that once into the flow with my wonderful editor Penny West, we seemed to make very smooth progress.

Tea or coffee?

Sweet or savoury?

Books or TV?
AAAHHH – both??

Inside or outside?

Serious or funny?

DVD or cinema?
BT box!

Morning or night?

Favourite writing snack? 
Chocolate digestive

Favourite animal?

Biggest love?

Biggest hate?

Thanks very much Malcolm for stopping by to chat.  Good luck with Jonny Jakes - me and my family are very much looking forward to reading more from you.

Jonny Jakes Investigates is published by Curious Fox.
Nifty book trailer is here and more information including the first chapter here

Interview by Kate Mallinder who blogs and tweets @KateMallinder

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