Tag Archives: Jonny Wilkinson

How I write 1: Getting help from Jean Valjean & Jonny Wilkinson

When you have a book coming out, it is a good idea to re-read it. Doing so helps you to remember what you had to find out to be able to write the book. It can reveal forgotten obsessions you had a year or more ago. Or experiences you created for yourself that have changed your life in other ways.

Here are some of mine.

In early 2014 I was obsessed with the musical Les Miserables. It was the only thing I would listen to on the car CD player. I sang along. My Les Miserables obsession was partly why I wanted to set the book in Toulon. The film begins in the docks of Toulon with Jean Valjean and other convicts – heaving a boat in from the sea. I named the book’s heroic French fly-half Jean Valjean.

I read Jonny Wilkinson’s autobiography. It astonished me. It was extremely honest. Wilkinson wrote about how he struggled with everything he did needing to be perfect. He exposed things about his behaviour that he did not need to expose. That is why his book is the best autobiography I have read. That is why I based the hero of Surface to Air – Rory – on Jonny Wilkinson.

It’s the Rugby World Cup later in 2015. Taking place in England and Wales. One of the reasons I wrote the books was to exploit that. If ever a publisher was going to agree to a rugby series for kids then it was now. Credit to Barrington Stoke for being that publisher.

Read How I write 2 and How I write 3 here.

Find out more about Surface to Air here.