The Tenerview with Daniel Blythe

May 25, 2014 by

It was one of those awful sleepless nights. I tiptoed out of my bedroom, careful not to wake my husband, and found that familiar spot on my couch where I go when the clock reads “ungodly” and I wait for morning. I grabbed my laptop and searched through my twitter feed.  I don’t know how, but I stumbled upon author Daniel Blythe. I looked at his website and thought he’d make a good interview, so at 2:58 AM PST I sent him an email asking if he’d be interested in doing a Tenerview. Nearly an hour later, at 3:52 AM, he responded with a ‘yes’.  Who knew a sleepless night could be so productive and fortunate?

About Daniel Blythe

Author Daniel Blythe


Dr. Who

Daniel Blythe was born in Maidstone, Kent, and was officially educated at Maidstone Grammar School and St. John’s College, Oxford, although he probably learned a lot more about being a writer by reading, staring into space and spending unhealthy amounts of time on his own on a creaking, rusty swing. He’s the author of 14 published books, including a handful of the official “Doctor Who” novels and the best-selling “Encyclopaedia of Classic 80s Pop”. His books have been translated into lots of other languages. He’s lived in Yorkshire for almost 20 years, and is married with two children.

About the Books:

Firecroft Bay. The town’s name comes from the Old English meaning ‘wickedness’, and when 12-year-old Miranda May moves there with her mum and her little brother, she thinks at first that it is just a quiet, windswept little end-of-the-world harbour. But forces are stirring in Firecroft Bay, and Miranda’s new teacher, Miss Bellini, may have something to do with it all… For the Bay is a place where ancient stories come to life, where supernatural curses are very real, and where the dark shadows Miranda sees at the edge of her vision also creep into her dreams. What is the mysterious Shape? Who is the girl in the burning forest who haunts her nightmares? And what does it all have to do with her strange new friends – a bunch of children and teenagers calling themselves the Shadows? They could be Miranda’s allies in a terrifying fight against the darkness – but can she really be sure who she can trust?

  1. What inspired your latest book or book series?

Shadow Runners (or Breakers … depending upon what side of the pond you live.)

Shadow Runners“, my latest print book, was a story I’d always wanted to write, although along the way the “team of investigators” aspect became less important than the character of Miranda herself. I didn’t grow up by the sea, but I did grow up in a small village which I always thought needed livening up, so perhaps it is my reaction to that. I wanted to write an adventure story for younger readers which I’d have enjoyed reading myself at age 10/11/12, and so “Shadow Runners” and “Emerald Greene” (my new e-book, out after it but written before) are both responses to that urge. As I recall, I pitched “Shadow Runners” to my agent as a sort of junior “X-Files”. (I should mention that US readers will find it on sale as “Shadow Breakers”, for reasons not interesting enough to go into.)

  1. If I were to ask the main character of your latest book what you least understood about her or him, what would he or she say?

Miranda would no doubt say that I don’t really understand what it’s like being a 13-year-old girl, especially one who has to deal with being part of a secret organisation battling demonic forces!

  1. What lessons has writing taught you about life in general?

That it’s very hard to balance what you want to do as a writer with what you need to do to stay alive and actually have a career as a writer; people who find those two harmonising in one book, or series of books, are very lucky indeed. That you are only as good as your last book. That readers are lovely but it can be quite sobering to realise the vast majority of people don’t love or hate your book, they just don’t care – in fact, they don’t even realise it is out there, no matter how hard you promote it. That very few people who aren’t writers actually understand the craft or the business of being a writer, and you will get numerous well-intentioned suggestions about how to “promote” yourself from well-meaning friends in more conventional jobs, which you just have to ignore gracefully. That a great agent is worth his or her weight in gold. (I have one!) That real writers will do it, will persist no matter what, because they have that urge to tell their stories. That being a writer is in many ways the best job in the world, but the financial insecurity is agonising and frightening.

  1. What’s your favorite quote?

I have lots, but I often recall this one: “Am I going to die?” “Yes. But not today.” I can’t remember where it’s from, though.

  1. What is perfect just the way it is?

A cup of tea can be, especially with shortbread. Nothing worse than a badly-made cup of tea. (Well, of course there are lots of things worse than a badly-made cup of tea. Leprosy, for example. Or global thermonuclear war. Or Jamiroquai.)

  1. Prince or Michael Jackson?

Not a huge fan of either, but I probably find Prince’s music more interesting on balance.

  1. In five words or less, what do you most want people to know about you?

Writer! Insecure! Confused! Not old!

  1. What song best describes your current mood?

Well, right now I am listening to “To The End” by Marsheaux. They are a Greek female electro duo, which may sound a bit Eurovision, but they really aren’t. They often suit my writing mood.

  1. From Proust, which living person do you most admire?

On a global scale, I’d probably have to pick someone like Barack Obama (leaving aside some recent dubious foreign policy decisions) for what he’s achieved, or that Malala girl who stood up to the Taliban. But on a more personal scale, my children are the people whose achievements I get most opportunity to admire. I’m amazed on a daily basis how normal and busy and happy they seem. I’m wondering what we are doing right.

  1. What question didn’t I ask that you wish I had and what would your answer have been?

I’m just grateful for any chance to promote my work! We all have to do it… So I’ll take the opportunity to ask “Where can I get hold of Daniel Blythe’s wonderful books and why should I read them?” To which I reply, “Please get yourself forthwith to where you will find links to everything Daniel writes, his social media stuff and his visits to schools.” Also, if any teacher or librarian wants to book me for a school, they can read testimonials there and get in touch with me via the email link on the site. I’ve done days in over 250 schools now, both primary and secondary, so I kind of feel I know what I am doing, but it can be very hard indeed to generate new contacts!

Thank you, Daniel, for dropping by the Tenerview!  It makes my insomnia worthwhile.  You can find Daniel on twitter and Facebook at any time of the day, including after a good night’s sleep!

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