Hey everyone! As part of the UKYA blog tour, I have Andy Robb on the blog today! I’m a huge fan of his Geekhood books and I’ve been lucky enough to meet him. You can see another one of my interviews with him and Holly Smale HERE.
1. Hi Andy! Welcome to Queen of Contemporary! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your novels to begin with?
Hi to you – and thanks for having me aboard. I’m Andy Robb and I spent most of my adult life working as an actor; another form of telling stories. When you are an actor, a lot of your time is spent unemployed so you find other jobs to fill in the gaps. I scan cook a bit and found myself working as a chef on a film set, where I met the writer of the film – an author called Alex Garland. At that time, I’d started writing and asked him for some advice. To cut a long story short, he referred me to his agent, who now represents me.
So far, I’ve written two of the Geekhood books. They’re about a self-confessed Geek, Archie, and his mates. Although they’ve been described as funny books, I’ve tried to cover some serious topics in them – humour’s a good way of getting those points across without getting too heavy. So far, I’ve been told that the books are a romance, given that they chart Archie’s Geeky attempts to win a girl, and that they’re a bromance, because the focus is on how Archie and his mates support each other through difficult times. But they’re definitely written about – and for – Geeks!
2. What would you say to people who use ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ as a derogatory term?
I think I’d say what Matt says in Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind:
“Everyone’s a Geek of some sort. Football, films, music – it doesn’t matter what the interest is; if you’re fascinated by it, then you’re a Geek. Simple as that. In fact, the people who are the best at what they do are all Geeks. Scientists, sportsmen, actors, musicians – the best ones are Super-Geeks; they’ve turned their obsession into a career, doing things they love. What’s wrong with that? ”
In fact, there’s a movement online, spearheaded by Stephen Fry, to change the definition of the word and remove all the connotations that suggest social ineptitude and focus on the passion for a chosen subject.
In my humble opinion,Geeks are those who can see beauty where others can’t and want to explore it.
3. Can you name a few of your favourite UKYA novels?
So many to choose from! But I’m a huge fan of the Mortal Engines books, by Philip Reeve; they’re works of genius. I also love the Bartimaeus books by Jonathon Stroud. And one from my youth: The Borribles by Michael de Larrabeiti.
4. Has your writing process varied with each novel you’ve written, or do you have particular habits that you’ve always stuck to?
Music plays a huge part in the way I write; it can really take you back to a specific time and place. Geekhood: CEoTGK was written with Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds on repeat and Geekhood: Mission Improbable was written against Deacon Blue’s Raintown. I don’t have any real habits other than that; just open the laptop, give my head a scratch and go! I probably ought to do a bit more plotting, but I enjoy the discovery side of things; chasing an idea that comes to you and seeing where you end up.
4. Apart from the writing, what is your favourite thing about being an author?
I’m loving the whole festivals thing; you get to turn up, meet nice people and talk to people about what you’ve written. School visits tick the same boxes. I suppose what I really enjoy, though, is meeting other authors and bloggers. So far, all the authors I’ve met have been impossibly nice people and it’s fun to chat about what they’re doing. It helps if you’re a fan, too; I’ve met Philip Reeve a few times now and I still can’t believe it! And the bloggers I’ve met have been wonderful, humbling lunatics; they’re support has been overwhelming.
6. What’s next for you?
I’m two-thirds of the way through my next book. It’s not Geekhood – I’m waiting for that to be signed-off – but it’s going well at the moment. There’s also a secret Geekhood something bubbling away, but I’ll let everyone know about it as it comes together.
Thanks for having me on this fabulous tour – hope I didn’t waffle too much. It is a problem of mine…