“I always said I’d write wherever my head takes me and it’s brought me back here.” – An Interview with Phil Earle

You’ve returned to YA with a new book at Barrington Stoke. What’s it like to be back?

Feels like I’ve never been away! I always said I’d write wherever my head takes me and it’s brought me back here.

Your new book Mind The Gap tells the story of a boy called Mikey and how an un-named narrator lost Mikey when Mikey lost his dad. Where did this concept come from?

I liked the idea that the narrator was nameless, that it places the reader in his shoes. That the narrator could be me or you, or any reader.

At the end of the book, you say that the story was inspired by a story of a woman whose late husband announced tube stops on the Underground, and his voice can still be heard at Embankment Station. What kind of impact did this story have on you?

Huge. I carried the newspaper cutting in my pocket until it disintegrated. I fell in love with the wife’s devotion to her husband, that hearing his voice kept him alive for her. It moved me immensely.

Are any qualities of Mikey or the narrator qualities you draw from you own life?

I’d like to think that I show the same devotion to my friends. Im lucky to have friends I’d do anything for.

Was this book tough to write in anyway?

No more than any other book! Every book has its challenges. Barrington Stoke made it easy. They are a joy to work with.

What do you hope that readers take away from Mind The Gap after reading it?

Enjoyment I guess. And maybe a lump in their throat.

On a slightly different note, how has it been to be BookTrust’s writer-in-residence?

Fabulous. They gave me a wonderful platform to bang on about something that I really believe in. It felt like a fabulous gift.

What tips do you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up your day job, but write as much as you can.

Phil’s new book Mind The Gap is out now from Barrington Stoke. You can follow Phil on Twitter @philearle