Wellingborough in 1972, Georgia was brought up with her two older brothers in a
sleepy Leicestershire village until at the age of fifteen, her parents decided
to move abroad, taking her with them. A new country and a new language helped
her come out of her shell and for eleven years, she lived and worked on the
beautiful island of Menorca.
Georgia wrote short stories and poetry from an early age but her real passion
for writing didn’t truly emerge until she was 31. Writing for her own web site
and articles for magazines helped to support her and her daughter.
Georgia felt there was a need for a strong British female heroine. She also
wanted a main character that had a normal family, with problems that most
teenagers/young adults in this country might be experiencing and could relate
to. And so Val Saunders, daughter to Mike and Susan Saunders, was born.
Georgia spends time with her daughter in their home in Leicestershire and her
life is filled with promoting her books and writing.
No-one performs on the circus trapeze like 16-year-old Remy Brunel. But
Remy also leads another life, prowling through the backstreets of
Victorian London as a jewel thief. When she is forced to steal one of
the world’s most valuable diamonds, she uncovers a world of treachery
and fiendish plots, and makes a friend of a nice young police
us a little bit about yourself?
Hmm. Well, I’ve been writing for a
long time. I always wanted to write fiction, but I also had to find a way of
supporting myself. I started out when I was a teenager – I found a book in the
library about how to make money from writing, and took a lot of advice from that.
I began writing articles for a local magazine in Tunbridge Wells while I was
still at school, and then they took me on as a staff writer during my gap year.
I also wrote book reviews and occasional features for a national magazine.
Then, when I graduated from University, a company called Titan took me on as a
staff writer, and I eventually got the opportunity to write some non-fiction
books for them. Then I went freelance and did all sorts of things such as
working on audio dramas (which was great for sharpening my dialogue skills!) and
sub editing for magazines as varied as heat
and Doctor Who Adventures. So it’s
been a long, circuitous route to fiction publication.
young adult title: The Diamond Thief – what’s it all about?
It’s a steampunk-ish adventure set
in Victorian London, and follows the exploits of a young French circus artist
called Rémy Brunel. She’s one of the best trapeze and high-wire performers in
the world – and she’s also an excellent jewel thief. She’s brought to London by
the master of her circus to steal a famous diamond called the Darye ye Noor,
but she doesn’t bank on running into Thaddeus Rec, a young policeman who’s
determined to keep the jewel safe. Together they discover dark and nefarious
deeds going on right in the heart of London.
there be a sequel?
Yes – I delivered it to Curious Fox
a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m nervously waiting for notes. It’s called The Ruby Airship, and it’s due to be on
shelves in February 2014.
you pull from your own life experience’s to write your stories?
I think all writers do that to a
greater or lesser extent, although I have absolutely no experience as a trapeze
artist… or a thief, I might add!
you have a favourite character in your book and why?
It’s hard to think of one favourite,
as I love them all. I do like J, the street urchin who ends up firm friends
with Rémy, which is funny because he wasn’t a character I’d planned on having in
the story at all. The Diamond Thief
was originally written as a digital version of a choose-your-own-adventure
story for a great publisher called Fiction Express. The idea was that each
week, I’d write a chapter and there would be three distinctly different choices
of where the plot could go at the end. The readers then voted on what they
wanted to happen and I’d go off and write it in time for the following week. At
the end of the second week, the readers chose something completely different to
what I’d had in my head, which threw Rémy into a situation where she was on her
own. It made sense for her to have someone to interact with, so that was where
J came from. He turned up in my head fully-formed, as if he’d just walked up to
my desk and tapped me on the shoulder as I wrote. I wish that happened more often.
do you think of names for your character?
I find character names really
difficult, actually. With Rémy, I literally looked up lists of French names and
went through them until I found one that I thought would fit. It’s unusual
enough (for British readers, anyway) that it sounds a little exotic, but also
short enough to reflect her no-nonsense character. With Thaddeus, I wanted
something that was distinctly Victorian, and that name fit the bill perfectly
for me – it’s a bit florid, a bit archaic. Calling J by just one letter
reflects how his life is – he’s nothing, really, just another ragamuffin from
the streets who has come from nowhere and has nowhere to go. He’s of such
little significance to the world that no one even knows his name – probably not
you were a character in one of your books would you be good or evil?
I think all realistic characters,
like real people, have the capacity to be both. I’d like to think I’d be good,
but it depends what situation my character found itself in…
inspired you to write?
Well, my parents read to me and
taught me to read at a very young age. We didn’t have a TV until I was a
teenager, so that probably encouraged me to make up my own stories. I remember
an author called Nigel Hinton coming to my primary school, which was probably
the first time I realised that ‘A Writer’ was something that you could actually
be. In my secondary school I was lucky enough to have a teacher called Penny
Sampson, who had greater faith in my abilities than I did myself, and was very
encouraging. So the answer is all of those people, as well as the hundreds of
authors I read growing up.
was your favourite childhood story?
I loved Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
advice would you give to budding authors?
Try to get words down every day.
Remember – even if you only write 200 words a day, if you do that every day for
a year, that’s a manuscript. Also, don’t edit - just get it down. Once it’s out
there, in however messy or skeletal a form, you can work on it. If it stays a
perfect idea sealed away in your head, it’s no good to anyone.
Single answer questions:
Dark or Brown chocolate?
Sunday Roast or Fish and Chips?
Rock and Roll or Heavy Metal?
Rock and Roll.
Bright and flowery or Dark and
Dark and mysterious.
Scooby Doo or Garfield?
Where can we find your books and
more information about you?
The Diamond Thief is in various bookshops
and is also available on Amazon. I’ve got a Facebook page under Sharon Gosling
for anyone who wants to know what I’m up to!
I came to writing after careers as actor, advertising executive and theatre manager.
In that journey, there was an appearance in DR WHO (the Peter Davison Years), and
amongst my TV writing credits are episodes of ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, BERGERAC,
and THE BILL. My books for young people have been published by The Bodley Head, Bloomsbury,
Red Fox, Scholastic, The Oxford University Press, and now Skyhorse. A return to
acting began with a part in the Granada Kids series, “My Parents are Aliens” ...
Photograph by Lucin Marshall
us about Wanderer?
Wanderer is a YA novel set far in the future in a world where just
about everything is broken. The action takes place in a massive valley which is
very hot and which holds two kinds of people: the Wanderers, who roam the
valley scavenging; and the Arconites, who rarely venture out of their pyramid
city, in which life is more sophisticated. However, there’s a price to pay for
that. It’s a restrictive, tightly controlled society, while the Wanderers have
greater personal freedom. We follow a teenage Wanderer, Kean, and a girl in
Arcone – Essa. Kean is a self-reliant guy and Essa chafes at the restrictions
of her life and begins to get a little too adventurous … Their paths come
together when conflict looms between the Wanderers and the city dwellers. If
there’s a message it’s about the power of the human spirit and how you need
people around you.
you want to write for a YA audience?
I don’t have a whole, perfect answer there. Just a fragment of an
answer. Which is that I remember so clearly how much pleasure I got from
reading when I was a teenager. I still enjoy books, but since then they’ve
never had quite the same impact on me. Other than that, it’s a mystery to me
that these are the novels I write.
inspires you to write?
Don’t know about being inspired to write. I’m compelled to write –
that might be the way to put it. Needing to communicate … Wanting an audience,
trying to say something. Hoping to entertain as I’ve been entertained … Wanting
to reach someone … That’s magic, the
idea of having a reader somewhere who’s immersed in something you’ve put
together, a stranger, far away. And – let’s face it – there’s also the
knowledge that if I don’t ‘do writing’ I might have to do something I
definitely don’t want to do.
If you could
be one of your characters which one would you choose and why?
In ‘Wanderer’, I’d be Hawkerman. He’s closer to my age than the
two lead parts and I’d like to be as cool as he is. He’s tough and practical
and great at what he does – which is to lead a team whose only aim is survival.
It’s quite late on when you discover that deep down he’s a caring sort of man.
like to live in the world you’ve created for your reader?
Absolutely not. Too much danger, too much heat. But I like reading
books where the characters have to struggle against the elements as well as
each other. Did you ever do that thing of reading a book set in the snow or the
North Pole or somewhere and you’re all warm by a fire? Brilliant.
What is your
Mmn. I’m circling a few. The trouble is I write for various formats
and I’m always hopping between them. If there was enough encouragement, the
thing I’d like to do most is to start another book. In the meantime I’m
reworking a YA novel that hasn’t yet been picked up by a publisher but which
(of course) I believe in through and through. It’s a kind of modern Gothic
horror story, quite dark and disturbing, set in London. I’m making notes for a
stage play, too, far too slowly, and a radio play. Meanwhile I’ve got a play
being considered by a couple of theatres in the UK and an idea going forward to
Radio 4 and a ten minute film waiting to be made in New England. If all that
sounds very busy, well, really it’s not half busy enough and there’s no
guarantee that any of these things will happen or pay off. So what I’m really engaged in is a process I call
‘Fiddling while Rome burns.’ That’s a phrase that comes from the legend that
the Emperor Nero set light to Rome and then watched the conflagration while
playing his violin. Or whatever the Roman equivalent was.
would you give to budding authors?
Write what you want to write. Something that excites you, so you
can get up in the morning (or settle down in the evening) and do it. With (a lot of) luck, what you
want to write will be what people want to read. Leave the ‘what sells’ kind of
thinking till later. That’s not how to start being a writer. It’s just so
important to come out of the blocks doing your own thing.
people get your book and find out more about you?
Though it’s published by Sky Pony Press in America, in England
‘Wanderer’ is available in hardback from online booksellers including the usual
suspects, and as a Kobo e-book, and as an audio book. In America you can get it
online, as an audio book and in a Kindle edition. I don’t think it’s giving
away too much to say that the story is set in the States. It needed a big
country and there are kind of frontier values in it. As for finding out about
me, that’s not too easy, though there is my website at www.rogerdavenport.co.uk. There’s
quite bit of info. there, and even an email address, but basically it’s very
static. So far I’ve not got into social media. They seem to be such a consumer
of life. I bet if Nero had been on Facebook and Twitter he’d never have had
time to set fire to Rome.
tall, muscular, dark-haired figure made his way down the brightly lit corridor.
The nods of approval from his colleagues were a visible reminder of what he had
just achieved: capturing the one person he had considered not only a best friend,
but the brother they weren’t ever meant to have.
Eleven!” a fellow guard called out.
turned slowly, still aching from the fight that had taken place just hours
Warden wants to see you in his office, now.”
He sighed, changing direction. As he approached the young guard, he could see the
spark of speculation in his eyes. “I know my way,” he said dryly, in an attempt
to deter any attempt at conversation, hoping the guard was too shy to start the
‘Tell me all about your escapades’ quiz and clever enough to realise he was
bruised and weary, with neither time nor patience for frivolous questions.
inquisitive young guard’s eyes sparkled. “Is it true you just captured Twelve
and the Princess of the Ranswars?”
he wasn’t as shy, or as clever, as Eleven would have liked. “Yes, but everyone
is innocent until proven guilty, so your opinion on these prisoners should stay
in your head.” He gave the guard a stern scowl.
The young guard took the hint, shifting direction and kicking his boots
together in annoyance before heading back to his quarters.
Eleven passed the teleportation bay a petite woman in a black suit exited. Held
captive by her tiny hand was a colossal creature, deep green in colour, with
three bony arms on each side, each covered in talon-like claws. Its fur standing on end, it grappled with thin
air, roaring and spitting deep blue mucus that the woman deflected with her
free hand, holding it, he noted with the same ease as he would hold a plasma
Eleven, have you made your paperwork available to me?” She enquired. “You know
how I like to keep your workload up to date.”
expression changed to one of affection. “Yes Collector, I wouldn’t want to get
into any trouble.”
she replied a twinkle in her eye. Nodding farewell, she continued on her
journey, whilst the creature continued to fruitlessly howl, writhing and
struggling in its attempts to escape. When Eleven arrived outside the Warden’s
office, he could clearly hear angry sounds, loud enough to carry through not
one, but two walls. Making his way in, he found the Warden’s assistant sitting
at her desk looking at a screen, apparently completely oblivious to the ranting.
here to see the Warden,” Eleven informed her.
looked up at him. “Bracelet?” she
lifted his sleeve to reveal his bracelet. Its metal worn and battle scarred
from too many arrests. It always served as a reminder to him of how long he’d
been a guard.
scanned it. “You can wait over there. He
will want to see you next,” she instructed, then looked back down at her
Eleven stood waiting by the wall, the roar from the Warden’s office gradually became
a muffled rumble, then slowly petered out. At last the door opened and out came
a shocked looking extractor, her eyes searching the room for the exit, and the
fastest route to it.
the Warden’s voice called out.
strode into the office. He’d been here many times due his successful career as
a guard. However today wasn’t a day when he felt any sense of achievement or
pride in his work. “Warden,” he greeted him, bowing his head in respect.
would like to congratulate you on your successful arrest of the traitors,
Twelve and the Princess Lailah…” The Warden scratched his beard in agitation.
you.” Eleven made his response, feeling numb.
I have bad news.” He stood, his thickset shoulders looked stiff with stress and
Eleven could see that his hands were still unsteady from his earlier outburst.
slammed his fist down on the desk, which groaned under his strength. “Twelve
how? We only got here a few hours ago!” Deep furrows of confusion dug into Eleven’s
extractor reported that he just wasn’t there. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous?” The
Warden sat back down and started to move his hands over the desk, causing
charts to appear on screens on the desks top. “An informant seems to think he’s
here.” The Warden touched a dot on the screen, enlarging it. “They call it
Earth.” He glanced up. “This is classified information.”
nodded. “Yes, Warden.” He knew his job; he’d been a guard for over four hundred
“There’s another issue with this
situation. We sent one of the Old Ones there; if Twelve finds him we could have
a serious problem.”
are the chances? And what’s our next move?” he asked, knowing in his heart he
wasn’t going to get time to have that rest he’d been planning.
going to Earth; you’re going to get Twelve back again. And this time I will
extract him myself,” he growled.
I take Boden and Hadwyn with me?” He really could do with the backup; Twelve hadn’t
been an easy arrest the first time.
this isn’t a job for the Magrafe. However, I will make them available to you if
you feel you can't cope.”
will be my contact?”
will be none. We’ve no trustworthy contacts on Earth so this will be a solo
mission. A judge and his companion are due to investigate, although after previous
visits to the planet, he has informed us it’s too primitive to be of any danger.”
The Warden’s hands shifted over the desk with ease, opening new screens faster
now. Finally he stopped. “Memorise these co-ordinates.”
inspected the images carefully. “Yes, I have them stored.”
you have any problems, use them to get back here. You will also need a human
name.” He pushed more screens to the side. His hand hovered over an image of a man
with wings. “You will be called Gabriel. To the humans he’s a messenger from
their God. They are more likely to trust a man with such a name. Now go, don’t
waste another minute.”
knew you were only given a name when it was totally necessary. His companion, Hadwyn,
would be disappointed - he took great pleasure in mocking Eleven because he had
never been given a name. The High Judges believed that it made you more of an
individual, and the prison worked hard to maintain the ethos of the collective.
Warden.” He bowed once more in respect and turned to leave the office. “Gabriel.” The Warden stopped him. “Bring him to justice or leave him where he
dies.” His tone was bitter. It must have been a hard blow. Twelve had been one
of the best guards on the prison. Losing a guard was never easy. This would
cause a ripple of questions through the others, and that was not good.
you order.” The new name would take a
while to get used to and as he left, he felt the weight that had been temporarily
removed, descend once more upon his shoulders.
made his way to the Distribution office to collect his equipment. Showing his
bracelet to the mechanic, he was informed that he would require no extra
equipment to go to Earth, that on Earth their technology was so basic that they
were of no danger to him, his usual weapons would be enough. His biggest
concern on Earth would be disease, so he was given a vaccination. The mechanic also gave him enough nutritional
supplements to last him for the next cycle.
he walked back to the very portal at which he had arrived earlier that day, he
wondered how Twelve had escaped so quickly? And why Earth? He also thought it
odd that Twelve had left Lailah behind, knowing how much he was under her
control. That vile Ranswar. He’d known there was something suspicious going on
from the minute he laid eyes on her.
collector was standing by her portal; she must have been informed he was
leaving. She’d been his collector since his first journey. She was stern and
liked to do things correctly, but he knew she had a soft spot for him and he
could trust her to make sure he arrived at the correct coordinates. “Seems I’m
going away again.” He shrugged his shoulders as he reached her.
not right, you have just arrived back.” She shook her head in annoyance. “Luckily
Earth’s a very basic planet. You will make an arrest in no time I’m sure. Have
you been to the mechanics?” she chuntered as she opened the shimmering portal
in front of him.
no need to worry.” His lips rose into a crooked smile. “Anything else I need to
she stood to one side, then held him on the spot with a light touch of her tiny
hand, as if in thought, “…well yes...” Their eyes met. “I like the name you
have been assigned.”
you. Maybe one day you’ll get one.” He patted her arm and she let him go. He
never ceased to be amazed at the power of the Collectors. They could control
beasts far bigger than themselves with no apparent effort. They crafted portals
all over the galaxy and yet they remained suppressed by the Prison. He looked
back one more time to see her watching him make his way through the portal.
landing was silent; hundreds of arrests had made him skilled in all his
actions. It was night-time here and he could see lights up ahead. Lights
created by a fire. He moved through the trees towards the populated area. As he
came close, the sounds of chanting rang out into the woods. Voices seemed to
bounce off the trees, echoing back and forth. As he reached the edge, he saw people
in a clearing, all standing around a large fire. They seemed so happy; clearly
Twelve hadn’t reached them yet. Then he saw a young woman. She was dancing
around, the reflection of the fire skipping burnt oranges and golds across her
face and body. He held his breath, watching her spinning, the others clapping
their hands to keep her going, the volume and energy rising and rising as they
seemed to reach fever pitch. He couldn’t
take his eyes off of her.
and without warning, she stopped. Gabriel realised he wasn’t breathing and took
a breath that reached deep into his chest. She was staring straight into the
woods where he was. This was impossible, he was trained, there was no way she
could see him. She must have spotted something else. He froze, holding his
breath once more. She was walking towards him now. He pulled out his Dellatrax
searching for another life form. Nothing was showing on the screen.
reached the edge of the trees and Gabriel wasn’t sure if he should stun her
before she came any closer. He had been trained to deal with prisoners and had
no problem with that, but this was an innocent woman.
she called out into the darkness. Gabriel nearly choked, surely she couldn’t
see him. “I hope you can hear me.” Her voice rang out. “You’re safe here.” She
felt ridiculous. This woman knew he was there and he was still hiding. He
needed to find out how she’d spotted him. Was he more visible on this planet?
Was it like the time he and Twelve had been on Braltar and the occupants had
smelt them from three sectors away? Her face was in shadow and he couldn’t see
her expression. He needed to make eye contact. What was the worst she could do?
He knew they were primitive. He had his weapons; he could take out the whole
village if he wanted to. He was the more advanced being.
you can stay in there all night, but it’s going to get cold.” She took another
step closer to him.
where you are,” Gabriel warned her.
tensed up. “Very well, but I am offering a hand of friendship. Your presence
does not feel threatening to me. We saw your arrival in the flames of the
you saw my arrival, then you will know I’m not here to hurt you. If you leave
now everything will be fine.” He leaned forward still unable to make out her
think about this, you’re hiding in the woods on my land. These people are my
family and the goddess has told me to come and get you. So I don’t feel like
leaving you there. I will give you a choice. You come out and prove you’re not
a threat to us, or I’ll send the spirit of my dead grandmother in there, to drag
you out screaming and kicking.” She placed her hands on her hips.
Dead grandmother? Gabriel tapped on
his Dellatrax. Death on Earth was the same as everywhere else. This was a
threat he could not comprehend, and he was wasting valuable time with this
woman. He stood up and walked slowly towards the clearing. “Fine.” He stepped
out towards her.
stepped back. A flicker of fear that surfaced briefly was hidden with the same
speed. The light of the fire now reached her profile and Gabriel was aware of her
beauty. Her round eyes, petite nose and full lips, framed by waves of dark
brown hair that cascaded down her shoulders. He took a deep breath; never had
he been so close to someone so beautiful, and so stupidly brave.
are you? And what do you want?” she asked.
am Gabriel and I have come from the stars.” He pointed towards the sky. His
words made no sense, and he had never introduced himself in such a way before.
the stars?” she almost laughed. They were just feet apart now. “Well Gabriel
from the Stars, my name is Wyetta and this is the village of Mistley. I think
you need to come with me.” She reached her hand out towards him. He looked at
it warily. On the prison physical contact was frowned upon. She was waiting for
him to take it and he felt strangely compelled to do so. As they touched, he
felt a bolt shoot through his body, like someone had just made his heart beat
for the first time. He followed her, powerless, and she led him back to the
gathering and the others, who greeted him with a depth of warmth and trust that
he had never received before. They seemed to want to befriend him, without the
slightest knowledge of his intentions. This was going to be more complicated
than he had expected.