Andy Mulligan’s next book Liquidator (David Fickling Books, 1st October), is about a group of students who discover an unscrupulous plot to test energy drinks on children in the third world.
What was your inspiration for Liquidator?
When I was a teacher many of the children I taught used to do work experience where they were seconded to a firm for a week. Whilst they couldn’t be more excited, 99 out of 100 of them would come back disappointed, saying they weren’t allowed to do anything. It was awful how all that optimism was squandered. So in this book I decided to write it so the kids end up in control.
What happens is that the heroine, Vicky, is interned with a lawyer and discovers there is a dodgy level of deceit high in the business. She finds out the lawyers are marketing an appalling drink that is being tested in the third world, to the detriment of many children’s health.
Many of your books are thrillers. Why do you like writing in that genre?
I love books that are plot driven. I’m most comfortable writing for that 10+ age group and when writing for younger people I want to have a fast plot with lots of thrills and spills.
How do you come up with the characters?
The characters I create are usually based on kids I taught – sometimes I take a couple of kids I know and merge them together! If I’ve got the face and physique in my mind I can suddenly hear that kid talking.
Is there a message in your book?
I’m wary of talking about any kind of moral in my stories but I like to think that in all my books there is a sense of not running away from a crisis. There is usually a close group of friends who come together, determined to right a wrong, and they cut through a whole load of bullshit. They short-circuit hypocrisy and lies, they don’t waste time and take lots of risks. I love making my characters break health and safety restrictions!
What else are you working on now?
The next book is on my desk right now. It’s a departure from what I normally write because I’m dealing with some animals – it’s about a really interesting dog and his relationship with a child. There are also some film companies who are interested in the film rights for Liquidator, so the agents are working on that.