Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Trains, Ships and Transportation Nerdisms: A guest post by author Chris Ward!




Hello readers! Chris Ward is here today, and he has the added special award of being my 1000th post! Huzzah!

In case you missed it, I reviewed his book The Tube Riders over the weekend. In a word? UNIQUE. This is a book that will pull you out of your reading slump, and draw you in. Mega Britain is an amazing setting. The characters are well drawn out. It's just wonderful to read!

Beneath the dark streets of London they played a dangerous game with trains. Now it is their only chance for survival...

Mega Britain in 2075 is a dangerous place. A man known as the Governor rules the country with an iron hand, but within the towering perimeter walls of London Greater Urban Area anarchy spreads unchecked through the streets.

In the abandoned London Underground station of St. Cannerwells, a group of misfits calling themselves the Tube Riders seek to forget the chaos by playing a dangerous game with trains. Marta is their leader, a girl haunted by her brother’s disappearance. Of the others, Paul lives only to protect his little brother Owen, while Simon is trying to hold on to his relationship with Jess, daughter of a government official. Guarding them all is Switch, a man with a flickering eye and a faster knife, who cares only about preserving the legacy of the Tube Riders. Together, they are family.

Everything changes the day they are attacked by a rival gang. While escaping, they witness an event that could bring war down on Mega Britain. Suddenly they are fleeing for their lives, pursued not only by their rivals, but by the brutal Department of Civil Affairs, government killing machines known as Huntsmen, and finally by the inhuman Governor himself.

Chris is here today to share a little bit about how he decided on writing his book, and also to share a copy with you wonderful people! So read on, and comment away. Leave some love.

*****

On Trains, Ships, and Transportation Nerdisms 

Back in 2008, I had just finished writing a comedy novel about a group of students and decided I wanted to try something a little different for my next literary adventure. I hunted through my old short stories looking for something interesting and found a story about a group of kids that hung off the sides of trains for fun. After a session of brainstorming, Tube Riders the novel was pretty much mapped out. 

I wanted to try to be original and thought I had a unique concept in tube riding, something I had never seen done before. Central to tube riding, of course, are the London Underground trains which Marta, Switch and the others like to hang from. As the novel developed, however, I realised it would be easy for the initial thread of tube riding to be pushed aside in favor of a more conventional chase novel, taking away the novel’s originality. Therefore, I made a great effort to involve as many trains in the novel as I could. And from this I found myself trying to see how many different types of transportation I could fit into the book. 

Apart of the trains, of course, you have cars, taxis, buses, John Reeder’s barge, a tractor, and the spaceship Paul sees crashing early on in the novel (whether any of the Tube Riders will end up on one of those spaceships later on in the series, I’m yet to decide …). Some of these were added subconsciously, others for my own amusement. It has since become a challenge to see what forms of transport I can fit into the second book in the series. At the moment I’d dead set on having a hot air balloon or at least an airship, while I’m also hoping to have some kind of cable car in there. None of these ideas have yet gone past the drawing board, however. 

While of course a writer’s aim is to entertain, the first person a writer has to entertain is his or herself, otherwise nothing gets written. During the writing of Tube Riders I developed an almost anorak love for trains, and no doubt further books will draw out all sorts of strange transport-based obsessions. Incidentally, I wrote this post during a break from a new short story I’m writing about a boy obsessed with merchant ships. The largest ship ever built was a super tanker called the Seawise Giant, so big at 458m long it couldn’t navigate the English Channel because of its fully laden “draft” (the depth a ship’s hull sinks below the water’s surface) which was just over 24m. Can you imagine that? What a monster. Is there any way I could possibly fit a super tanker into the Tube Riders series? You can guarantee I’ll do my best.

*****

Thank you Chris!

Now a giveaway! Up for grabs is a digital copy of The Tube Riders. Be advised that this does have some adult language and violence. It is an amazing read though!

Giveaway is open everywhere and will end July 5, 2012. Good luck!


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