10 Questions: A J Grainger

10 Questions: A J Grainger

1. Sum up your book in three words.
Trust no one.
 
2. Where did the initial idea come from?
The idea for a kidnapping story had been rolling around in my head for a long time. Then in the space of a few weeks, I moved into a flat so small that the bathroom was actually under the stairs and (in a completely unrelated incident) got invited to Downing Street. The three things just collided in my head, and the story of Robyn, the stubborn and resourceful daughter of the British prime minister who is determined to escape from the tiny room in which she is being held captive, was born.
 
3. How was the title chosen?
I wanted to explore the idea that it isn’t just physical incarceration that makes us feel trapped. The main character, Robyn, is famous because she is the daughter of one of the world’s most powerful men. This means that she feels trapped even before she is kidnapped − by the constant press attention, by the expectations placed on her as her father’s daughter and by the security services, who are obviously trying to protect her, yet still impact on her freedom. The title Captive seemed to encapsulate all those various aspects while (hopefully!) being engaging and intriguing.
 
4. What's your writing routine?
I have a full-time job as a children’s books editor, so I (try to) get up and do an hour’s writing before work. I’ll then do another hour in the evenings. I seem to write best when it is dark outside.
 
5. Which book do you wish you’d written?
The Secret History by Donna Tartt.
 
6. What’s your favourite word in the English language?
Rhythm, because it doesn’t have any vowels in it and so seems like it should be an impossible word!
 
7. Who’s your favourite fictional character?
I have two – Matilda in Roald Dahl’s book of the same name and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.
 
8. What was your favourite book as a child?
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. It is one of my dad’s favourites too, and whenever he read to me at bedtime, this was the book I chose.
 
9. What book are you recommending to everyone at the moment?
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
 
10. What do books and reading mean to you?
For me, books are escapism as well as being how we find ourselves and how we understand one another. A book can change the way you view the world and the people in it. Books also just make a bad day better and a good day great.
 
Captive by A J Grainger is out today (29th January) from Simon & Schuster Children's Books for £6.99.