‘If Stan Pollux had known he would be spending his summer holidays in the outer reaches of our solar system, he would have put on different underpants.’
When eleven-year-old Stan gets kidnapped by the Planet Dragon, Mercury, he finds himself in a universe of dragons who once ruled the skies as gods: Mars, Venus, Saturn, and even Uranus … way out back. This is shaping up to be the best summer holiday in the history of the cosmos, until Stan discovers his stupid sister, Poppy, is missing, and that Pluto (AKA Hades) is trying to use her to destroy the Solar System. And it will be all Stan’s fault if he doesn’t get Poppy back.
So, all Stan has to do is learn how to fight like a hero in space armour, defeat the dragon god of the Underworld, Hades, rescue his sister and save the world. All before his parents realise she has missed breakfast.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
The alarm goes off about 6.45am and I turf the children out of bed, fall/run downstairs, make coffee and aim to be back in bed by 7am for half an hour writing planning. I do kids, admin and correspondence in the morning, walk the dog and then write in the afternoon (anywhere will do, if I’ve planned properly). After supper, I like to sit by the fire and edit for an hour, it’s a great way to feel like you’re finishing for the day and sets up well for the next round of planning the following morning.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
Not in the least. I use the nearest computer to hand and even my mobile. I wrote most of my first novel in a noisy swimming pool cafeteria, which taught me to block out my surroundings and get my head immersed in the story.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
Again, not really – I’d hate the idea that I might one day find I was unable to write because we’d run out of my favourite coffee or I’d scoffed all my ‘writing’ chocolate bars. btw, if there’s cold chicken or sliced ham in the fridge, my productivity drops by 73%.
– What is your favourite book?
The next one I write, usually. That almost certainly sounds big-headed but you have to be passionate (and optimistic) about your next projects – or what is the point? If I had to choose something by another author it would be Wind in the Willows – I can’t really fathom why but it’s a story that I can’t shake: it’s tone and textures, the sense of nostalgia, the humour, the friendship and Grahame’s gentle understanding of folly follow me about for days every time I read it. I grew up in the Thames Valley, where Grahame set his story, and spent a huge amount of time on the river as a boy so that might have something to do with it.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
Yes, I write books for adults and I’ve just completed my autobiography (hem, hem – out Aug 2019)
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Yes, but never wholly – that would feel like cheating somehow. Increasingly, I start with the character(s) then develop a plot around them. Before I’d do the opposite, but I’m a firm believer in character driving story these days: people are interested in people.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
I record ideas and suggestions to myself on my phone. From experience, telling yourself that you’ll remember ideas is dangerous territory, especially the older I get.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
Manga. I’ve tried.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
Great question. Thinking about it, not necessarily other writers – rather someone whose company I think I might enjoy for its own sake and I like people who do stuff: Hugh Fernley Whittingstall or Bear Grylls or the guy from Jackass – we could get into scrapes … and probably end up writing about something completely different later. On a whim.
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I once drove to the industrialised part of Belgium to research Angel of Mons, so anything would be an improvement on that. I have to be careful, I get quite sentimental and when I have written abroad, I have found myself drawn to writing about home – e.g London (LA, Venice Beach), school in Somerset (Liijang, China) and once, when I was at a friend’s wedding in Transylvania, I ended up starting a vampire trilogy (Small Vampires), but set around rural England from about 3rd century – because that makes perfect sense!
Thank you, Robin Bennett and Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the author
Robin Bennett is an author and entrepreneur who has written several books for children, adults, and everything in between. Listed in the Who’s Who of British Business Excellence at 29, his 2016 documentary “Fantastic Britain”, about the British obsession with fantasy and folklore, won best foreign feature at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, and his first book for young adults, Picus the Thief, won the Writer’s News Indie Published Book of the Year Award in 2012. Robin is also a director at Firefly Press
Twitter – https://twitter.com/MonsterBooksRaw