Author interview with David Logan

Author interview with David Logan

The League of Sharks is the lastest YA/Childrens book by award winning author David Logan, whose first book, Lost Christmas received some rave reviews. When I read the synopsis of The League of Sharks I knew it was a book for me. Mainly in the childrens section of fiction it is hard to come up with an interesting story that hasn't been told or isn't relayed to much to other published stories. And this is just what David Logan manages to do. The League of Sharks is a action packed, rivitting adventure story ready for the big screen!!
Author bio:
David Logan grew up on the south coast of England. He pursued a career in the film business and has worked as a screenwriter for the last thirteen years. In that time, he has worked for most of the major American studios. He lives in Hove, East Sussex. Quercus published his first novel, Lost Christmas, in 2011.


Hi David, welcome to The Book Plank and for taking your time to answer these few questions for us.
DL: It's my pleasure. Thanks for asking them.

BP: First off, could you give us a short introduction as to who David Logan is, what are you likes/dislikes and hobbies?
DL: Let's see. I'm married to an amazing woman called Lisa, I have three wonderful children, Joseph, Grace and Gabriel, and a very cool dog called Harper. I always knew I wanted to be a writer, from the time I was 8 years old, and focused on screenwriting. I've always loved films. I've been earning a living writing for film and TV for about 15 years now. I work a lot. Absolutely love it but I have film projects, TV projects, a stage play and of course the League of Sharks trilogy. What with a hectic family life on top of all that there's not a lot of time for anything else so I don't have a lot of hobbies. I'm learning to speak Italian but have been for about three years now and I still can't hold a conversation. Other than that I love to cook. A good roast and a few bottles of red and some friends over is hard to beat. What are my dislikes? There's not much. Life is there to be enjoyed I think. I can't stand reality TV but then I don't watch it so it doesn't really matter.

BP: Lost Christmas was your debut back 2011, can you still remember the moment when and where you decided that you wanted to become an author?
DL: Like I said I’ve been writing for film and TV for a while now. I always wanted to write a novel but it’s not easy to stop doing the work that pays the bills in order to write a book that takes time and commitment. When the idea to turn Lost Christmas into a novel was first suggested, I jumped at the chance. The director and my co-writer of the screenplay, John Hay, and I had written something like 17 drafts of the film before I started writing the book. I knew the story and the characters inside out. It made the job so much easier.

BP: Lost Christmas was well received among critics, did this add pressure for The League of Sharks.
DL: There was a gap between the time I got a book agent (a lovely woman called Eugenie Furniss) and the point when we had worked out all the legal issues involved in adapting the screenplay of Lost Christmas. While I was waiting, I started writing The League of Sharks. I think it was only the first 3 chapters but I knew what happened in the rest of the book and the big moments of books 2 and 3. So after Lost Christmas came out and did well, I already felt quite confident about The League of Sharks when I pitched the idea to Roisin Heycock (my editor at Quercus). The only added pressure is now really, when the reviews are coming out for the new book. Fortunately, like yours, they’re mostly positive, which is a relief.

BP: If you would have to sell The League of Sharks with a single sentence, how would it go?
DL: I’m rubbish at this sort of thing. Have to do it all the time with films. You would think I would have worked out how to do it effortlessly by now but here goes: “The League of Sharks is a rollicking adventure story about one boy’s quest to find a nightmarish creature who snatched his sister and destroyed his life.” See what I mean. I’ve only just touched upon the first 3 chapters with that. The book’s about so much more and you won’t believe where it goes in book 2.

BP: having gained expertise in writing Lost Christmas, were you able to use this when you were writing The League of Sharks?
DL: Well, as I said I’ve been writing for a long time. I think there’s an assumption that writing a screenplay has no literary merit and while it’s true that a flowery screenplay full of dense prose is a bad screenplay it’s still all about using words to elicit an emotional response in a reader. With a screenplay I’d need to be more contained. Less is more. With Lost Christmas the novel, I was conscious of not going too far the other way and rabbiting on endlessly about nothing in particular just because I could.

BP: Personally for me Young Adult book are either make it or break it deals. They are either good or bad. (The League of Sharks for me falls in the former category!) How did you went and plan how you wanted to write the story of The League of Sharks to make it catchy for the younger readers?
DL: I never try to talk down to younger readers. I do obviously avoid certain more colourful phrases (though there is some very coarse H’rtu spoken by Cascér in The League of Sharks). Lost Christmas because of its subject matter touched on things that some people may not think appropriate for a younger audience (alcoholism, self-harming, dementia) but I disagree. Kids are like any other audience. They want to be emotionally connected to the characters in the story. The League of Sharks is not quite so blatantly emotional as Lost Christmas. It’s an adventure story but rooted in something real and meaningful: the search for a killer and redemption. I just made sure there was a lot of spectacle along the way: diving down to ship wrecks; carnivorous birdmen; assassin monks; hi-speed mountain climbing; fights and Twrisks (though you have to read the book to find out about Twrisks).

BP: Did you encounter any specific problems when you were writing The League of Sharks?
DL: The ending. This will answer your next question as well. I knew what needed to happen but it was really hard to get the balance right. There were more changes to the final two chapters than the rest of the book put together I think. The League had a very different compound at one point and Cascér managed to get inside. We went to Tremmelleer and saw the Twrisks at home in another draft. This won’t mean anything to anyone who hasn’t read the book yet but it’s not giving anything away either. All this has changed.

BP: What was the hardest part to write in The League of Sharks?
DL: See above.

BP: Besides the hardest part of the book, which part did you enjoy the most in writing?
DL: Honestly, all of it. I love what I do for a living. I make stuff up. How great is that?  It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and I loved writing this book. It was a pleasure from beginning to end. I remember writing the very first line: “Junk Doyle was twelve years old when his mother stopped loving him”. It was (unsurprisingly) the very first thing I wrote and (a little more surprisingly) it never changed. This is unusual. I’m a firm believer in rewriting. Things are not so much written as rewritten. Usually it can always be improved but I remember writing that line and liking it. It was a keeper.

BP: The League of Sharks is planned to be released in a few weeks, if you were able to retract the book and revise a part of the book, would you do so? And if yes, which part?
DL: Right now I’d have to say no. I’ve just delivered the first draft of book 2 (called ‘The Nine Emperors’) to my editor, Roisin, and my head is very much focused on the next part of Junk’s journey. However, ask me that question again when all three books are done and I may have a different answer.

BP: Everyone enjoys fantasy in their own way, what do you like most about reading and writing fantasy?
DL: I think I’d have to say the world-building aspect of it. The very best writers, such as Philip Pullman, do it so effortlessly. Creating a world that is sufficiently different enough to make it wondrous but at the same time giving it foundations that make it feel real and substantial. I’m not sure how well I did that in The League of Sharks. I’ll be able to look at it more objectively in time but on the whole it seems to be doing the job as far as I can tell from the feedback I’ve got from people like yourself.

BP: The League of Sharks is the first book in a new series, can you give a sneak preview of what is in store for the rest of the series?
DL: I wish I could. I’m itching to talk about it having just finished the first draft. Obviously I can’t give too much away. Book 2 - The Nine Emperors picks up right where The League of Sharks left off. All I can say is, in the first book, Junk’s journey took him somewhere very unexpected. Well, that’s nothing compared to what happens in book 2. Lots of questions are answered but even more are asked. Some old faces return. Lots of new characters. There are Samurai, dinosaurs and Spitfires.

BP: besides writing the sequel to The League of Sharks, do you still have other projects that you wish to pursue in the near future?
DL: Writing for film and TV is still my day job. John Hay and I are working on several TV projects together, a stage play and a couple of films. I also still work now and then for American studios and I’m writing a couple of cool heist movies for Fox International. As for other books, I’ve got an idea what I’d like to try after I finish books 2 and 3 but that’ll be in about a year’s time so who knows what I’ll want to do by then.

BP: And just lastly, if you would have to list your top 5 favourite books, which would they be?
DL: My top 5 of anything - books, films, songs - could easily change from one day to the next. Depends how I’m feeling. There are just too many great ones to have a definitive five. However, today my top 5 books would be…
1.    His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
2.    The New Confessions by William Boyd
3.    The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
4.    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5.    What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg

BP: Thank you for your time David and good luck with writing the sequel!
DL: Thank you. All the best and have a happy 2014.


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