Chris Page is the YA author and the author of The Iron Golem, the first in a new series called Monster Squad. The series revolves around the efforts of 4 children with access to a fantastic collection of powers to stop an evil that threatens to consume the world.
The Christian Page Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
That I wrote a book was actually quite a surprise to many. I work in a very technical job for a large company and most people don’t know I have a creative side (or that I am English major surrounded by engineers!). Writing has actually been a passion of mine since I was 12 and read my first Shannara book (by Terry Brooks). The first book I ever tried to write was “The Adventures of Murray Slovack” about a slacker-day dreamer and his happy-go-lucky loose friend Goober, aka The Goob.
Are the names of your characters important to you?
Yes. In my last job I worked at a large educational games company where a quarter of our staff were teachers. Building products that not only were entertaining but had real educational value was foundational to us. The characters in the book are all based on classic Gothic literature (or at least really good Sci-Fi and Horror movies from the Classic Cannon) and will hopefully inspire kids reading the book to learn more about them – Mina Harker, Ian van Helsing, Lon Cheney, the Brothers Grimm, Ichabod Crane, Edgewick Stoker, Shelley Merry, even the Monster (who is based on the robot from The Day The Earth Stood Still) – each draws from famous works of fiction or authors (Washington Irving, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, classic Horror, classic Sci-Fi, classic Fairy Tales). I hope kids read the book, go out on the internet and learn more about characters they thought were cool and think it’s even cooler they have a rich literary tradition and history behind them.
How did you choose a title for your book?
My process is come up with a cool concept for a world or a premise. Witches/Wizards, Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies seem to be in vogue but I was wondering – what about the rest of the Monster cannon? How could you introduce them to readers in a way that was modern and meaningful much like Twilight, Harry Potter, The Walking Dead have done? I started writing chapter 1 with this in mind and struck on the idea on a group of kids who discover they are heirs to these powers. A lot of outlining and editing later, the name Monster Squad stuck with them (particularly given the WWII background story). It wasn’t until much later I re-discovered the movie of the same name from when I was a kid (I never saw it, though)… but I still thought the title was catchy and did a good job of connecting the background and modern day story lines in the book.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
Get ready for a lot of editing. I thought I was just about done when I wrapped the rough draft (and had been doing editing along the way, even with a paid editor). However, that was just the beginning. Literally, getting to a draft ready for agent pitches was less than 50% of the work. Editing takes a REALLY long time and can get discouraging… but if you keep at it you will eventually get to a good place. It’s almost like carving – your rough draft is not so much the finished product, but more the stone you will make the finished product with – the great story is in there, you just need to chip away and get to something pure.
Where do you find your inspiration?
A lot of it has to do with my kids and writing something I think they (and other kids) would enjoy hearing read aloud at bed time. My kids are 7 and 9 and we still read to them at least 20 minutes every night. I really enjoy books that are fun to read aloud and act out – characters that have distinct voices, fun action the narrator can get behind, crazy scenarios you wouldn’t see everyday yet still grounded in characters that are approachable. Basically, I started writing the book as a way to entertain my kids and took a lot of feedback from them about what was working and what wasn’t. We expanded to a much broader reading group as we went but at my core, entertaining is my biggest inspiration.
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
“It’s not the things you know but the people you meet.” By far, the biggest impact for me at school were the lifelong friends I met and the inspiration I got from talking and learning from them. I don’t think you fully realize that when you go away to university but 20+ years later I definitely don’t dwell on too much about what I learned in Multi-Variate Calculus and Linear Algebra or the Coins Of Alexander The Great… but I definitely treasure the 5-6 close friends I still have from school and the crazy memories of those days.
What is the book that you wished you had written?
Wow… I think anyone who invents a new genre is genius. Tolkien definitely ranks there – what he did with The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings was almost unprecedented. I also think what JK Rowling did with Harry Potter was basically reinvent the modern fairy tale. That is no small accomplishment. Lastly, Rick Riordan basically found a completely new way to get kids hooked on what was before a stale old history topic, Greek Gods. I wouldn’t take anything away from any of those greats and say I could have even approached what they did but certainly reinventing genres is a stellar feat and worthy of admiration.
What is your favourite TV moment of all time?
I have an eclectic sense of humor that often bends to the Pop Cultural. I think basically anything Matt Stone and Trey Parker do is genius. I also really like Eric Kripke and his twist on modern monster stories – the original series end to Super Natural where Sam jumps into the abyss and seals the pits of hell and the narrator finishes typing his chronicle of the brothers revealing himself as God and the series as the next chapter of the Bible was pretty genius (for a great story arc).
Where can I find out more about Christian and his book?
You can find The Iron Golem in Kindle format here:
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/.