Hello everybody! Today, I’m back again with another blog post, which is part of the blog tour for the Ship of Doom this time. I got the chance to interview the author of the book, so I really hope you enjoy reading her answers. Onto the post!
1. Hello, thank you so much for being here today! First of all, could you describe the Ship of Doom for us in 5 words?
Time-travelling Titanic bound adventure
2. The Butterfly Club series focuses on a group of time travellers who go into their future to find certain objects, so in the case of the first book they travel to 1912 and board the Titanic. Where did the idea for the books come from, and what made you choose this setting for the first book?
I’ve always been interested in the fate of the Titanic, because my Granny was born on 15th April 1912, the very day the great ship hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank. But the direct inspiration for the book was the fate of Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the wireless radio. The legend is that he missed the Titanic because his kid was sick, and he travelled to New York on the Lusitania four days later. Of course, his child’s illness saved his life. But what made his story even more interesting was that one of his first wireless radios had been installed in the Titanic’s communications room. At the inquest into the ship’s sinking, Marconi’s invention was credited with saving the life of every single survivor. So you have two things going on – Marconi missing the boat, and Marconi’s radio saving all the survivors by calling a rescue ship to their aid.
3. Now, the characters in your book aren’t travelling INTO the past in their minds but they are of course in our past. So, if you could travel to any point in history, which would you choose? And what object would you be looking to obtain?
Oo good question! I’ve always been a bit of a Shakespeare nut, so I think it would be Tudor England for me. I’d go to the first night of Romeo and Juliet; or Much Ado About Nothing, if I felt like something less heavy. I’d probably bring back a playbill.
4. Since the characters are travelling into the future from 1894, I was wondering what you would want to do if you got to visit the future, 18 years on?
What do you think the world would be like? And would it match up to what you would want it to be like? Hmm. I would hope to find a society a little less divided than it is now. It seems like every issue in the news has everyone very polarised. And maybe I’d like to see a little less dependence on tech. We are all so addicted to social media right now, so it would be nice to see some more off-grid living. Maybe more reading of books and less scrolling. But I think that’s a bit optimistic!
5. Your characters are members of the Butterfly Club, and so I was wondering if you have ever been part of any interesting clubs or societies?
I’m a member of the Society of Authors, which I think is pretty cool. And I get to go to BAFTA things, but that is a bit of a cheat because it’s my husband who is the BAFTA member, not me! 6. And to expand on that last question a little, are there any fictional clubs or societies or organisations you’d love to be part of? I went to a school recently where a very enterprising librarian ran a Time Traveller’s Club. It was a really imaginative way to get the kids to engage with history. So I’d like to be a member of that.
7. This is your first middle grade book, as you’ve previously written YA. What was that shift like for you? What were the main plus points and challenges of writing for this new age category?
I like that this age isn’t cynical. For Middle Grade you can just go, ‘Three kids get on a Time Train, and they travel forward 18 years and end up on the Titanic,’ and they’re all like, ‘Yeah cool.’ Young adults would say, ‘Wait, What?’ Another good thing about writing for younger kids is that you don’t have to think about romance or relationships. But the bad thing about writing for younger kids is that you can’t get into romance and relationships!
8. Another question I always like to ask writers is: what’s your writing routine like, if you have one? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks?
I write with daytime TV on. Jeremy Vine, This Morning, Loose Women, you name it. I’m not really listening to it, it just quacks away in the background. It sort of recreates the atmosphere of sitting in a café – people are talking around me, but I don’t hear them. Some people write to music, but I can’t do that. I also have a weird superstition that when I finish a book, the last word that I write has to be what the book is about. So when I wrote STAGS, the last word had to be ‘stag’, and in SHIP OF DOOM it had to be ‘ship’, etc. And finally, when I finish a book I always play the same triumph song, which is the Country hit ‘Born to Fly’, the Lauren Alaina version. No idea why! I’m not even a big Country fan, but I love that song. And of course now I can’t change it, in case my luck changes too!
9. Finally, before a few quickfire questions, what can you tell us about the next book in the series and maybe also what you’re working on right now?
The next book in the series is called THE MUMMY’S CURSE, and it takes the time thieves forward to 1922, when they travel to the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in an attempt to steal the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun. But opening the tomb sets free a terrible curse, and their lives are in danger until they learn, once again, to do the right thing.
Right now I’m working on the fourth book in the BUTTERFLY CLUB series, which is called THE TRIP TO THE MOON. It takes the time thieves further forward than they have ever been, to Texas in 1969, where they attempt to prevent a terrible accident happening during the Apollo 11 mission.
Favourite flower, in honour of spring? Daisy daisy daisy daisy!
Since I believe your YA series features quite a dangerous game/competition, what’s your favourite game to play?
I like a bit of archery. I can be quite lethal when I have my eye in.
If you had to choose only one: stags, dogs, foxes or tigers? (As in the animals!)
I’ve got a soft spot for foxes. For one thing they’re redheads (like me!) and for another there’s a very friendly one on my street. I even dedicated my book FOXES to him!
Top 3 books you read in 2021?
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad and Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton
3 books you’re excited for this year?
I’m having a glut of gothic classics, so although they are not new I’ll be revisiting Frankenstein, Dracula and Jekyll and Hyde.
The Ship of Doom (The Butterfly Club series) by M.A. Bennett (£6.99, Welbeck Children’s) available now.
Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any books by this author, or are they still on your TBR? Which period of history would you most like to travel into, and which artefact would you want to bring back? I’d love to chat with you in the comments!