Tuesday 13 September 2016

Spynosaur Blog Tour: The Roald Ahead by Guy Bass

We're really looking forward to reading Spynosaur by Guy Bass, so we're delighted to host a post from him talking about his love of Roald Dahl.

The Roald Ahead

Comics were my thing. Like most children, injustice drove me up the wall, and superhero comics, despite their shades of grey, were generally about good vs. evil … the fight against injustice. 8-year old me consumed comics by the lorry-load, but there was something about books that bothered me. Maybe it was because I had to read them at school – I tended (very quietly) to resent being told what to do. But honestly, I still don’t know what it was about books – they just overawed me.

Then I found Roald Dahl, or specifically, George’s Marvellous Medicine. I read it again and again, relishing each magical moment and insane ingredient. Books were demystified and defogged before my eyes. Suddenly, I could see the road ahead. Like the story’s hero, George Kranky, I could touch “the edge of a magic world”. Without George’s Marvellous Medicine, I don’t think I’d writing about dinosaur spies (or anything else) today.

To stay with 8-year-old me a bit longer; I was far too studious to be called a dreamer (curse my biddable bones) but every assembly – I mean, every assembly – I would fantasise about floating up from the floor and flying around the hall before zooming out of one of the windows. I’d will it, hold my breath and wish so hard to fly that the rest of the world disappeared. Sometimes I’d even manage to imagine myself soaring over the school before we’d have to stand for a hymn and my flight of fancy was brought crashing back to reality. Part of it was wanting to be noticed, since I was quiet and generally felt quite invisible. Don’t play the harps yet – I expect half the kids in that assembly were also feeling invisible and having daydreams of their own. That’s something Roald Dahl tapped into brilliantly. Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably the most obvious “everychild” (especially juxtaposed with the dreadful Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop and co.) but many of Dahl’s heroes and heroines are seemingly unremarkable, and rewarded for being good, selfless and just. I was grateful for that. The idea that doing the right thing is reward enough was immensely satisfying (it’s a major theme running most of my books, especially Stitch Head) … even though it was probably more satisfying that the villains got their comeuppance.

Which brings me back to George Kranky. While Charlie is the boy I wanted to want to be, George is the boy I really wanted to be. He takes as much as he can from his mean, sinister, spiteful granny, and decides enough is enough. There are no half measures – it’s not called George’s Reasonably Impressive Medicine, which gives his granny a belly-ache – this potion is off-the-scale. Revenge is a dish best serve marvellously. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to confront the needless injustices of childhood with a medicine of my own. Well, I could but it’d take ages.

When I write, I try to remember 8-year old me and the satisfaction I got from George’s Marvellous Medicine. I try to make sure justice is done – I like to the see the evil (or at least spectacularly misguided) criminal mastermind Ergo Ego vanquished by Spynosaur, a hero who dedicate his every waking moment to battling tyranny (and making bad puns.) And I don’t want my hero to be reasonably impressive – I want him to have secret skis and jump in and out of helicopters and battle ninja snowmen and blow everything to smithereens. And I want him be a dinosaur. Marvellous!

For more from Guy, check out his Twitter account and website and this BBC video, in which he reviews George's Marvellous Medicine!

And of course, don't miss the rest of the stops on this brilliant blog tour!

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