Today I'm excited to welcome Peadar O'Guilin to the blog, author of the chilling new novel The Call!
Hi Peadar, welcome to The Queen of Teen Fiction! Can you tell us a little bit about your novel, The Call?
Thanks a lot! It's great to be here.
teenager in Ireland will be Called -- kidnapped into a world of
horrors, where the Sídhe, the Fairies, will hunt them down. A small
number make it home alive. These are the strong, the lucky and above
all, the quick. Unfortunately, Nessa Doherty was lamed by a bout of
polio she suffered as a child. She won't be able to run when her turn
comes. Everybody is just waiting for her to die.
Nessa, however, intends to surprise them all...
What was it that inspired you to write the story?
of the inspiration came from that famous thought experiment,
Schrödinger's Cat. I had an image of people just disappearing, their
clothing falling to the floor. And everybody who sees this happening
knows there's a 90% chance their friends will come back dead. Or worse. I
loved this idea, especially because there's a small possibility the
victims will survive and that's enough to keep everybody checking their
watches until the three minutes of the Call are up.
You weave Irish mythology into the story. What sort of research did you have to do before writing?
had to do very little extra research. I grew up with the mythology,
after all. But I was never keen on just retelling the old stories,
anyway. They're already perfect and need no help from me! Mostly, I was
interested in finding a modern, "rational" explanation for the origins
of the fairies and for some of their creepier behaviours. That's why,
even though this is basically a fantasy book, you'll find a few mouldy
old science fiction tropes in there too. They've probably started to
smell a bit...
Tell us a bit about your main character, Nessa! What do you think readers will love about her?
not a moaner. She's an ordinary girl desperate to live when everybody
else has written her off. They can't even be bothered to hide their pity
for her. I do think readers admire courage, I know I do!
What were the best and worst parts of the writing process for you whilst working on The Call?
best part was all the day-dreaming I did about the story. I was
tremendously excited by the ideas and loved testing some of the scenes
in front of audiences in Boston and Belfast and Luxembourg. It seemed to
go down really well.
But then, there were entire weeks
of being stuck with the plot; when every solution seemed childish or
amateurish. That's the writer's life, I guess!
Did you always intend for the book to be YA, or is that something that happened after writing it?
didn't grow up expecting to write YA, but again and again, my natural
love of fast-paced adventure with strong central concepts, kept dragging
me down that path. Years ago, when I submitted my first novel to my
agent, he was the one who said, "You know what, Peadar? This book is
YA." Turned out he was right.
What were your own favourite books to read as a teenager?
Science Fictional. Harry Harrison's "Deathworld" series. Tanith Lee's
"Silver Metal Lover" and "The Books of Paradys". And of course, I read
"Lord of the Rings" a dozen times.
Finally, would you survive The Call?
I'm writing this with a fractured collarbone right now, because, apparently, I can't even survive a simple bike ride! If
I were Called, the Sídhe would probably catch me within minutes of my
arrival in the Grey Land.
But luck definitely plays a part. Anything
could happen as long as you don't give up.
Huge thank you to Peadar for the awesome interview! The Call is available to buy here. Be sure to check out the other blogs taking part in the rest of the tour, and check back here later this week for my thoughts on the book!