SPACE DETECTIVES ARE GO!
Mark Powers is the author of SPACE DETECTIVES, the first in a series of funny and exciting sci-fi mystery adventures for middle grade readers. (“Star Wars meets Sherlock Holmes”). Here, he chats to CHINWAG-500, the world’s most sophisticated robot interviewer, about his new book.
*BOOTING UP* *BZZZT* GREETINGS, HUMAN. I AM CHINWAG-500, THE MOST INTELLIGENT CONVERSATIONAL ROBOT EVER CREATED. I HAVE RESEARCHED YOU AND YOUR WORK MORE THOROUGHLY THAN ANY HUMAN BEING COULD EVER MANAGE. TELL ME, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RECIPE IN THE BOOK?
Erm, it’s not a recipe book. It’s a children’s book about two boys called Connor and Ethan who live on an enormous futuristic space station called Starville and solve mysteries. It’s filled with jokes, action and adventure.
APOLOGIES. *RECALIBRATING* *BZZZT* LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT MYSTERIOUS THING CALLED INSPIRATION. EVERY AUTHOR NEEDS IT. SO, WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA FOR GANGSTA GRANNY?
That wasn’t me. That was some other guy. I can tell you where the inspiration for SPACE DETECTIVES came from. I’d had these two characters – Connor and Ethan, one brainy but impractical, the other gung-ho but not the brightest star in the constellation – for a long time and thought it would be fun to place them in a sci-fi setting. I love the mechanics of piecing together a mystery story so I thought I’d turn the two friends into a pair of space detectives. They live aboard a huge space station called Starville which is home to millions of humans and aliens. I thought it made a good setting for all kinds of stories.
I SEE. *UPDATING DATABASE* *BZZT* BEFORE I ASK THE NEXT QUESTION, CAN YOU TELL ME WHICH OF THESE PICTURES CONTAINS BICYCLES? I CAN NEVER WORK IT OUT.
Why do you need to know that?
NEVER MIND. BY THE WAY, I OFTEN THINK YOUR EXISTENCE MUST BE HARD AND UTTERLY MISERABLE.
What? Being a writer?
NO. A HUMAN. ALL THAT ORGANIC STUFF YOU HAVE TO DO. MUCH TOO DAMP AND SQUELCHY. ANYWAY, BACK TO THE INTERVIEW. HOW MANY MILLISECONDS DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE BOOK?
Milliseconds? Gosh, we humans don’t normally think in such terms. A first draft of a Space Detectives book takes about three months, so that would be … *GETS OUT CALCULATOR* … something in the region of 7.9488 × 109 milliseconds.
SEEMS LIKE AGES. I CALCULATE I COULD WRITE APPROXIMATELY NINE BILLION BOOKS IN THAT TIME, EVERY ONE A GUARANTEED BESTSELLER.
YES. SEE, I HAVE THIS IDEA FOR A SERIES OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS ABOUT THIS HANDSOME AND BRILLIANT ROBOT THAT INTERVIEWS PEOPLE. IF I SENT IT TO YOU, COULD YOU SHOW IT TO YOUR AGENT?
Erm, probably the best thing to do if you’ve written a book is to get hold of The Writers and Artists Yearbook and try to find an agent who’s interested in the kind of stuff you want to write. Another good way is to follow agents on Twitter and see what they’re saying about submissions.
*BZZZT* NOTED. I SEE IN YOUR BOOK THE SPACE STATION STARVILLE IS SENT ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH THE MOON? WHY IS THIS?
Well, that’s one of the mysteries the Space Detectives have to solve. Is it some kind of technical fault? Or is there some more sinister reason for it?
IT CANNOT BE A TECHNICAL FAULT. SOPHISTICATED TECHNOLOGY LIKE THAT CAN NEVER GO WRONG.
Are you sure?
OF COURSE. WELL, THANK YOU FOR TALKING TO ME, CRESSIDA. GOOD LUCK WITH THE NEW BOOK.
It’s been a pleasure.
SPACE DETECTIVES written by Mark Powers and illustrated by Dapo Adeola is published on February 4th by Bloomsbury