An Interview with Simon Mason


We told you our interview with Simon was coming soon! Here it is! Today, for the YA Shot Blog Tour, we welcome Simon Mason to the site to talk about his books!

First of all, where did you get the inspiration for the book from?

A daydream. Also a friend of my son, who reminded me (if I can put it like that) of the boy who became Garvie Smith, the main character in Running Girl and Kid Got Shot.

How did you plan out Garvie’s character?

As above. My son’s friend (inadvertently) helped. Garvie is rude, dishonest and cocky. He smokes weed, lies to his mother, plays truant from school and gets into trouble with the police. He has a bad attitude. He’s generally his own worst enemy. He also helps people (though he is careful to hide it), puts himself in danger to see justice done (though he denies it) and loves his mother (though he would never talk about it). I relished taking the part of someone so rude. But I am sympathetic that he can never bring himself to take the credit he deserves.

“Highest IQ ever recorded at Marsh Academy. Lowest ever grades.” What was your thought process behind this?

Bright but lazy teenage boys are very well represented in life but less so in fiction. Boys who would lie to their mother to hide the fact they are trying to save someone’s life interest me. In a world which seems to favour those who boast about their own achievements, I’m drawn instead to those who completely fail to draw attention to their heroism, who would rather deny it, who seem hell-bent on strangling any praise that might come their way.

Why did you write a mystery novel? Do mysteries interest you?

Yes, they do. And ways of telling them – the ancient art of literary hypnosis, as practised by Homer and Stephen King alike.

The next Garvie Smith novel is coming out shortly. Are you excited?

No. Apprehensive. Vulnerable. A bit queasy.

What has your experience of the YA community been like?

I’m 54, it’s not my world. I’m an interested and grateful day-tripper. The readers I’ve met have been extraordinarily bright, well-read, curious, sparky and generally very good company. They are more in the world than I ever was or will be.

Would you like to keep writing novels? What’s next for you?

I find it hard to stop. I’m beginning to plot out a new Garvie Smith novel. I’ve been writing texts for picture books, and trying to complete some novels for older readers.

What tips do you have for any aspiring authors?

The advice I know is on the website of Mick Herron, a crime writer living in Oxford: 1. Give up. 2. If you ignore 1, don’t give up.