Today I’m fangirlling quietly in the corner and handing the blog over to James Dawson; author of Hollow Pike. I was literally getting a bit over excited about this book even before it’s release date so I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour and to let James give you a little look into one of the characters. One Mr Danny Marriott.
Let’s start by saying that Hollow Pike is a book about the strength of friendship, but it was never even a consideration that (main character) Lis London wouldn’t have a love interest. Of course she does – she’s a teenage girl! In Hollow Pike, the love interest comes in the lovely form of Fulton High’s rugby star, Danny Marriott.
I love writing Danny scenes. Firstly, as he fulfils the Lois Lane role of being ignorant to the main plot, those scenes are a break from the terror and drama. In fact, Lis and Danny’s first date is almost comic relief! Moreover, he’s a very different ‘voice’ to the rest of the cast. I almost wanted Danny to divide readers. Yes, he has to be loveable, but I also wanted him to be fallible. I felt that teenage boys are perhaps under even more pressure than girls to conform to social norms.
At the start of the book, we know that Danny broadly fills the role of ‘jock’, only later do we learn he has fallen into this clique by mistake and, underneath it all, he’s a geek at heart. Where Danny falters is his reluctance to ‘be himself’ – he spends much of the book ‘playing’ at being popular, much to Lis’s annoyance. I felt that Danny has more to lose than Lis – he has known being popular and a geek, and has no desire to slip down the social ladder. This stumbling block hopefully eradicates the pitfall of ‘instalove’ as I believe it has become known.
I hope it emerges though, that Danny is a kind, decent guy. Capturing the awkwardness of first love was my goal. Danny Marriott is far from a player. In fact, he makes a right old mess of his flirtation with Lis. He isn’t a vampire or fallen angel, he’s a clumsy sixteen year old from Yorkshire. While arguably less sexy to some, I love Danny’s realness, and I hope readers do too.
The ‘love’ scenes, as I tentatively call them, were among the hardest to write. My editor and I spent a long time getting them right. It’s difficult. The ‘Sex in YA’ debate is so massive it deserves a blog post all to itself, but needless to say, writing a realistic relationship between Danny and Lis is tricky. Hopefully, we’ve achieved something that is touching and tender, without being icky, but also something that honours the raging hormones that Lis and Danny are experiencing.
In the end, what I like best about Lis and Danny is their innocence. Neither of them know what they’re doing – after all they’re so young. They aren’t bitter, they aren’t jaded, they aren’t hard. They’re naïve, and I think that’s fine. They take me back to an easier time when holding hands and first kisses were a big deal. Maybe those simple things should be a bigger deal, because you never forget them.
I should, of course, mention that no-one in Hollow Pike is quite what they seem. There’s a murderer on the loose, and as any horror fan knows, the boyfriend is always, always a suspect…