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Alan Gibbons, Author
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When did you first decide that you wanted to become an author?

I always liked writing stories, even when I was five or six, but I never for once dreamed that it might become a career. I suppose the first time I thought about it was when I was a student and I tried to get poetry published but it only became a serious ambition when I was a schoolteacher in my thirties.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?

I didn't really! I am from a Methodist chapel background and it is frowned upon to get over-excited or too proud of yourself. I did finally tell my wife what I was up to though (big of me!).

How do you decide what to write about?

Most of the time I just go with my own obsessions. I either write about the things I liked when I was a kid or else I pick up on something I have read, seen on the movies or the TV, something I have overheard in a conversation.

My Hell's Underground series came about because my publishers thought I could be much more ambitious about a horror story I had given them. They suggested a time slip tale over several books and I said, yes please, being a big Doctor Who fan. So that was basically a 'kick up the bottom' stimulus.

How long did it take you to write your last book?

It was about six months from beginning to end. There were a couple of weeks planning, a few months writing and a month redrafting.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am two hundred pages into the fourth book of the Hell's Underground series. It is called Witch Breed.

What advice do you have for budding authors?

I can't think of anything very original. You need to read a lot. You need to practice. You need to show your work to people your trust and ignore people you don't. You have to be disciplined, hard-working and ready to take criticism - even if you disagree with it.

Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite book?

I love reading like most authors so I will have to indulge myself by mentioning a few people. My favourite novelists for adults are Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Balzac, Dickens, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Stephen King, Steinbeck and Harper Lee.

My favourite novels are To Kill A Mocking Bird, Jane Eyre, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Stand. My favourite teen novels are Stone Cold, Noughts and Crosses, The Machine Gunners, Rose Red Snow White and Tunes for Bears to Dance To.

My favourite writers for teenagers are Robert Swindells, Philip Pullman, Malorie Blackman, Robert Westall, Marcus Sedgwick, Beverley Naidoo and Robert Cormier. My favourite writer for younger people is Roald Dahl. My favourite poets are Shelley, Blake, Shakespeare, Patten, Henri, McGough, Rosen and Zephaniah.

Tell us something unusual about yourself.

I am a Manchester United fan who lives in Liverpool (I'm not a Scouser).

Alan Gibbons has been writing children's books for eighteen years. He spends much of his time working with schools, libraries and colleges and is a popular speaker at the Edinburgh Festival, the London Book Fair, the Northern Children's Book Festival, the Hay-on-Wye Festival and the Cheltenham Festival.

His book Shadow of the Minotaur was the winner of the Blue Peter The book I couldn't put down Award in 2000 while in 2003, Caught in the Crossfire was shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize.

The Edge was shortlisted for both the Carnegie Medal and Booktrust Teenage Prize in 2003 and won the 2004 Angus Book of the Year. In 2005, The Lost Boys' Appreciation Society was shortlisted for the South Lanarkshire Book Award, the Leicester City Book Award and was highly commended for the Southern School's Book Award while The Defender won the Stockport Book Award.

Hold On won the North Lanarkshire Catalyst Book Award in 2006 and was shortlisted for the 2007 Angus Book of the Year.
The Night Hunger 

There is nothing unusual about a fourteen year old boy suffering from growing pains but why does it affect him the most on the night of the full moon?

Caught in the Crossfire 

The activities of the Patriotic League set Oakfield's communities on a collision course following September 11th and six young people are caught up in a series of tragic events.

The Demon Assassin

Paul Rector finds himself in the middle of the London Blitz. and an assassin is on a mission to kill Winston Churchill and bring the country to its knees. Can King Lud, Lord of Demons, change history forever?

Scared to Death

Paul Rector has just met somebody at Whitechapel Underground station but he's fooling himself if he thinks it's going to be a fun night out. Make no mistake, he's literally in for one hell of a time.

Julie and Me and Michael Owen Makes Three 

It was love at first sight for Terry and Julie but can a Man. United supporter ever get along with someone who supports Liverpool? The sequel is Julie and Me: Treble Trouble.

The Edge 

Danny and his mother arrive on the Edgecliffe estate having escaped domestic violence but thing's aren't any better here, especially with the vicious Chris Kane on their trail.

The Lost Boys' Appreciation Society

Gary, John and Dad have to rebuild their lives when mum dies in sudden car accident but are they prepared to meet this challenge?

The Dark Beneath

Sixteen year old Imogen's world is turned upside down when she meets Farid, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan. Can she evade those who are keeping an intense eye on her?

The Defender
Everything changes when two strangers knock at the door. Set in a volatile Northern Ireland, can a boy and his father survive danger?

Shadow of the Minotaur 

Phoenix's new virtual reality game is a little bit too real. As he becomes Theseus and is pursued by the Minotaur, he ends up in a life and death struggle. "Vampyr Legion" and "Warriors of the Raven" complete this trilogy.

Setting of a Cruel Sun  

The Helati rebels think that they have broken the demon lord's power but as the slaves prepare to fulfill once-forbidden prophecies, the Darkwing returns for the final onslaught and this time, no power can stop him. The sequel to "Rise of the Blood Moon".

Blood Pressure

Your life is a lie and the man who brought you up isn't your real father. As you are plunged into the Liverpool Underworld, you witness gun law, drugs and vendettas. At fifteen, do you have the strength to cope...?
We asked Alan...
Here are just some of Alan's books...
Image courtesy of Neil Kendall
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