5 Questions for Martyn Ford

Where did you write The Imagination Box?

I wrote the majority of it at home, at a desk in my room. However, I also sometimes sneak into work (a newspaper office) at the weekend and write in there. It’s nice and quiet. Although sometimes the cleaner comes in and, for a terrible moment, I think she is a burglar and she thinks I am a burglar. But luckily neither of us are burglars. Actually, she might be a burglar. I can’t vouch for the woman. Hardly know her.

Who is your favourite character in The Imagination Box and why?

Although I do love Phil and really like writing the things he says, I would have to say my favourite character is Dee. She is relentlessly rational and operates with pure, cold logic. I wish I could be more like her. She doesn’t worry about things. She believes all problems can be either ignored or solved. If they can be solved, great – solve them. If not, then they have to be ignored, so ignore them.

How long did it take you to write The Imagination Box?

Like a million years? Really, it takes ages and it’s hard to put a time on it because of editing, tweaking and so on. But probably about six-ish months of actual writing, then a few more months of editing and faffing. The first book was an exception though, because I started writing it in 2010 and it came out in 2015. I was tinkering with it on and off between those times too.

What advice do you have for young writers?

Keep all your ideas somewhere in your mind. Every single one. I had the idea for The Imagination Box when I was a child and, without even realising, I safely stowed it away in my subconscious. Then, when I was grown up, it was right there on the shelf, all ready for me. Also, finish things. Lots of people are very good at writing just the beginning of a story. But you’ll learn so much by actually finishing.

How would you describe yourself as a child?

Strange. I remember worrying loads about odd things and not feeling particularly comfortable in the world. I still often feel more an observer of the universe than an actual participant. But that’s actually a good thing, I think.

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