I am thrilled to have the lovely and talented Tamsin Cooke on the blog today with a special guest post as part of the blog tour for her latest book ‘Stunt Double.’ I’m a huge fan of Tamsin’s first series ‘Cat Burglar’ and ‘Mission Gone Wild’ so I was intrigued to find out if ‘Stunt Double’ lived up to my high expectations and I can confirm that it has in fact surpassed them. When Finn is recruited as a stunt double he’s so desperate for fame that he doesn’t notice the warning signs that things are not exactly as they should be on the set of the film. Why would the notoriously eccentric director Novak hires a young boy as a stunt double and why is she demanding him to do more and more increasingly dangerous stunts. Pushed to his limits he’s in too far to back at now and finds himself mixed up in a deadly plot beyond the realms of his imagination. Full of danger and the unexpected this fast-paced action drama will leave you breathless. Tamsin Cooke really knows how to write thrilling and dramatic storylines that leave the reader wanting more and yet again she leaves us with an exciting hint of what’s to come next.
In this special guest post we learn more about she has developed these wonderfully, fascinating characters who make this story so compelling.
Out of your comfort zone – Tamsin Cooke
Characters are the life-force of a story. They drive the plot forward and evoke emotions. You can have the most exciting story in the world, but if the reader doesn’t care about the characters or relate to them at all, everything will fall flat. This is why I spend so much time thinking about all the characters in my book, major and minor, making sure I know their backgrounds. Life experiences shape us, so I want to know where they grew up, what are their likes, hates and desires. Each character needs a motivation, something that drives them forward. Most of this will not be put in the book, but I know it.
I knew that I wanted a school age teen as my protagonist, but through research I’d learned you have to be 18 to be a stunt double (completely understandable considering the risks involved). So I needed someone slightly rogue, who was wiling to break the law. That’s when Finn Gibson came to me.
Have you ever wanted something so badly it hurts? Finn is a fourteen year old boy desperate to be an actor. Having won a scholarship, he’s spent his weekends and holidays at drama school. His mum scrimped and saved to pay for his karate and Free Running lessons, all in the hope that he can achieve his dream.
Finn only ever gets the role of an Extra. Jealousy eats at him from the inside. This is something I think we all can relate too – it’s an emotion we try to keep hidden from others, possibly even from ourselves. Finn’s envy is inflamed by the fact that his nemesis, Blake Saunders, born to Hollywood royalty, is the major star of a popular action movie franchise.
Finally Finn gets his big break, but it’s not what he was expecting. He becomes Blake’s stunt double.
On the surface, these boys look as though they have everything. Blake is a Hollywood superstar. Boys want to be him, and girls want to date him. But insecurity gnaws away at him. Hating that people think nepotism got him the role, Blake wants everyone to realise that he got the part because of his talents not because of who his parents are.
And now Finn is living the dream too – he’s a stunt double. He’s brave, adventurous, and physically very able. But when you dig deeper, he is also filled with self-doubt. Desperate to prove himself, Finn will do anything the Director asks of him. Anything!!!!
So while I needed a teenage boy to break the rules, I also wanted someone to employ him. Therefore, I needed an even bigger rule breaker. I’d just read an article about filmmakers fed up with Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). They thought it was cheating and not pure authentic movie making. This gave me the perfect opportunity to develop Novak.
Novak is ‘old school,’ a director yearning for the golden years of cinema when human talent, props and set building were created and used. Since men over 18 are too bulky to be disguised, women are often stunt doubles for children. Wide angled lenses are used to hide female curves. Novak is thrilled to have an authentic child stunt double, especially with Finn’s skills. Now she feels like her film is more authentic. But just how far is she willing to go to get that perfect shot? More importantly, how far will Finn allow himself to be pushed?
I throw these children into a dangerous world, and like Novak, push them to their utmost limits. I suppose that means they wouldn’t like me very much, but they learn a lot about themselves. Their experiences change them and help them grow. And that is true of all characters, whether real or make believe. When we’re thrown out of our comfort zone, that’s when we really discover what we are made of!
Thank you Tamsin for giving us a real insight into the characters in ‘Stunt Double’ Also thanks to OUP for inviting me take part in the blog tour, why not join in with the rest of the tour for reviews and more exciting guest posts.