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Guest Author - Peter Jay Black

Peter Jay Black loves gadgets, films and things that make him laugh so hard he thinks he might pass out. He went to Arts University Bournemouth and a career in IT followed. One day, a team of super-skilled kids popped into his head and he brought them to life in a Hollywood apartment. Peter lives in Dorset and in his spare time he enjoys collecting unusual artefacts like Neolithic arrowheads, ancient Egyptian rings and fossilised dinosaur poo.

In ‘Urban Outlaws’ are any of the characters based on real life people?

None of the characters are based on real people, as such. However, they are each a piece taken from my own personality. For example: when I’m feeling adventurous or a bit sarcastic, I’m SLINK. When I’m quiet, thinking logically and planning everything out, I’m JACK. When I’m feeling a bit mischievous, I’m WREN. But, if I’m lazy, I’m Obi. Lastly, when I’m imagining clever gadgets, I’m Charlie. The only exception is that Charlie’s gadgets themselves are inspired by my late father, who was an inventor!

You wrote ‘Urban Outlaws’ in Hollywood, I’m sure that was amazing! Were you inspired to start writing the book while out there?

I’d planed Urban Outlaws here in England. But then I decided I wanted to go somewhere amazing to expand the story and write all the cool gadgets and action scenes. I rented an apartment in Hollywood and it was the best thing I have ever done. Being surrounded by film-makers and actors helped me come up with some fun action scenes.

If you could give one piece of advice to our young writers what would it be?

I believe there’s no such thing as a perfect sentence. So, my advice is to not concentrate too much on the words to start with (that can come later when you edit) but to have FUN! Enjoy it! Let your imagination fly. . . And above all else, never give up?

Have you started thinking about or writing your next novel yet?

Urban Outlaws is book one in a series of five and I’m busy writing those at the moment. But I have a lot of book ideas for the future.

You collect autographs and your favourite one is by Christopher Reeve (Superman). We have a Superhero Stories creative writing competition open at the moment, what kind of superhero would you create?

Oh, wow, good question! I would love to be able to fly like Superman. Ooh, and the Rocketeer is awesome! Which means the first thing my superhero would be able to do is FLY. I like gadgets, so a high-tech helmet with radar, night-vision and X-ray vision would be a must. Last, I’d give my superhero a special mechanical suit that made him super-strong to defeat his enemies. Oh, and lasers, gotta have lasers, too!

Apart from your all time favourite book ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens, do you have a modern favourite as well?

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I’m a fan of science fiction and this has it all – plenty of spaceships, technology and aliens, not to mention the tactical fight scenes.

After failing GCSE English you decided to teach yourself creative writing. How did you go about doing this?

It was VERY hard and I wish I’d stopped daydreaming in school and got on with my work! But, I played a lot of fiction audiobooks and listened to how sentences were structured. I read a few creative writing books, looked at articles on the internet, attended a couple of short creative writing courses. Above all else, I wrote. A lot. I practised and practised, studied sentences to see why they worked or why they did not. What sounded good and what didn’t. And, I never gave up.

Do you have any advice for any of our audience that are about to start taking their GCSEs?

The harder you work and study now, the easier life will be.

What are your current hobbies?

I collect unusual artefacts, autographs and I also collect 1/6 scale movie figures. For example, I have one of Iron Man testing his suit. I’m about to start model making the dioramas for them all, so I can display them properly.

What are your plans/hopes for the future in your career as an author?

Now I’m published, my hopes for the future haven’t really changed: my aim is to reach as many kids as possible with some fun action stories. Something they can enjoy and talk about with their friends.

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