Author Simon James Green told students about his writing career, love of comedy and his LGBT characters during a recent visit to Brooke Weston Academy.
The author, who has penned three books, with a fourth due out this summer, also read extracts, answered questions and led writing and comedy workshops at the school.
He said: ‘Life is full of embarrassing, mortifying and sometimes horrible moments and my books are all about awkward kids doing awkward things; awkwardly messing their lives up and then doing their best to try and sort it all out again.
‘The star of my first two books is Noah Grimes. At a party, he ends up having a kiss with his best mate, Harry, and spends the rest of the book trying to work out how he feels about that. That is far from the only thing he is dealing with. Life is pretty crazy and he is trying to hold his life together. In my latest book, Alex in Wonderland, Alex knows that he is gay at the start of the book. It isn’t a book about sexuality … it is a book about friendship and how, if you can find the right people to be by your side, you can make life a lot easier.’
He recounted details of his school life, adventures growing up in a small village and education that led to him studying law at university, before becoming a theatre director and writing comedy, which features heavily in his novels:
‘You can use comedy to put a point across without it sounding like a lecture. I set my stories in small towns because it makes the characters feel like everyone is watching them all the time and they can’t get away with doing anything without people gossiping.
‘All of my books contain characters who identify as LGBT. I really wanted to write about gay characters who are happy and living their lives, just like everybody else. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you are going through, who you might or might not like or fancy, because everyone, ultimately, is going through the same sort of stuff. Life is full of ups and downs, romance, heartache, tragedy and, sometimes, nice things.
‘All the books are celebrating working out who you are and being yourself, but also they are about finding the people to go on that journey with you. It is really about the power of friendship.’
His first book, Noah Can’t Even took five years to write, then after finding a literary agent and publishing deal he had just eight weeks to write the sequel ‘Noah Could Never.’ His latest book is ‘Alex in Wonderland’ while ‘Heartbreak Boys’ is due out in June:
‘Being an author is a really fun career and I absolutely love doing it. The best thing is to think about all those mean people who were horrible to you in school - you get to put them in your book and make terrible things happen to them. It is the best sort of revenge!’