Four years ago on a planet not far away from here (okay it’s actually here but you know go with me on this) as I was just starting my blog I stumbled across a book in Waterstones that really appealed to me. Imagine if you will the most superhero obsessed boy – that’s Luke by the way – missing out on being bestowed with superhero powers by an alien just because of a badly timed wee. The thought of this made me properly chuckle and I couldn’t resist buying a copy for my school library and having the first read. Immediately I knew that this book would be hugely popular at school, it was totally hilarious and completely irresistible. Fast forward into the long and distance future (okay actually now, but let’s not split hairs) it was with a heavy heart that I sat and read the finale in the series, ‘My Cousin is a Time Traveller.’ And for me it confirmed what I always suspected that David Solomons is indeed a comedy genius. There were so many hilarious moments , I laughed so much and even shed a tear. This explosive finale turns Luke and Zack’s world upside down when they go to battle with a toaster that wants to take over the world. Nothing is what it seems and as the stakes get higher it seems that they may have finally met their match during an epic battle with their deadly enemy. I don’t want to give too much away but I can confirm that the ending is just so clever, utterly brilliant and deeply satisfying. I have loved everything about this series and if you haven’t had any chance to read any yet, well lucky you because you have five whole books to look forward to.
Let’s find out what David has to say about the final countdown…
And Now the End is Near. But not that End – David Solomons
Let’s start at the beginning, because it got away from me too. My first attempt at writing a novel for children was a disastrous error of judgement. It was meant to be a fun, exciting ghost story, but I chose a character to narrate it who was, in effect, a middle manager in a dead-end job going through a mid-life crisis. Turns out kids (and children’s publishers) aren’t so interested in that.
My ghost story didn’t connect with its intended readership (although I suspect that out there somewhere is an audience of world-weary middle-aged executives who’d find it hi-la-rious). But the experience pointed me in the right direction. My next attempt was the first book in the My Brother is a Superhero series. When his older brother is bestowed with superpowers and told to save the world, Luke Parker is outraged! An eleven-year-old boy furious that he isn’t the Chosen One? Something about that seemed inherently funny. And it gave me an angle – a way in to every scene. I knew immediately I had something to work with.
And now, five books later, I’ve come to the end. My Cousin is a Time Traveller is the final instalment in the series. In the near-future, following a 30-degree Eco wash, a smart washer-drier becomes self-aware and instigates a very domestic apocalypse. Learning about the potential fate of humankind from his cousin and eponymous time-traveller, Dina, our hero, Luke, along with the usual gang, has to contend with an uprising of appliances, a deadly celebrity-authored children’s book, and a villain from the past.
So, here’s the thing. This was not the ending I envisaged. Way back at the beginning I sketched the final outing for my characters. But I didn’t really know them back then. They are loud and insistent and made me do a rewrite to suit the people they’ve become. And I’m glad I listened. Yes, I could’ve forced my original ending on them, but they would’ve sulked and it would’ve rung hollow. Writers are often asked if they are ‘planners’ or ‘pantsers’. I am a ‘hopper,’ bouncing from one to the other as the story – and my protagonist – demands.
I’ve written myself into this book too. Early on, there’s an author visit at Luke’s school, except that he mishears and thinks that the writer’s name is Arthur Veezat. But it’s me. This way I get to bid farewell in person to my lovely cast of characters. They’re rude about me to the end. Thanks anyway. It’s been amazing.
Thanks to David for this really interesting guest post, I definitely get the impression having read the whole series that the characters are very forthright about getting their own way. I have to say that the Arthur Veezat mix up is a real highlight of the books that made me laugh out loud so much during the story.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more guest posts and reviews.
Thank you to Clare and Nosy Crow for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and for sending me a gifted copy of the series finale. ‘My Cousin is a Time Traveller,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.