My third book, and the one with the most structure, 11:42 is more grown-up than the others, with difficult subject matter and a lot more swearing(!)
I was in Crete, and it was the first time I’d ever taken my laptop on holiday. As the red-hot sun went down over the turquoise sea, cicadas chirping in the background, I completely surprised myself by writing the opening line of something in a gloomy street in Huddersfield. Why? Who knows. But within a few days I had the first chapter cranked out.
Two years later, the first chapter is unrecognisable, but the elements are still there: A dark street just before midnight. A troubled boy. A mysterious girl with a mission the boy doesn’t know about yet, but which will change his life.
I must admit, it was hell to write this book after the others. I spent lots of time mentally walking down a fictitious street in Huddersfield in the middle of the night.
Noah had no name throughout the first draft. I had it in my head that this would be a good device. It wasn’t. The poor lad wanted a name and it really had to be Noah – if you read the book you’ll find out why.
I wanted Rachel to be odd and unpredictable for the first part of the book, and I hope I succeeded. At first I made her too harsh, and my writing buddies were worried that readers would abandon her. ‘If they carry on, they’ll understand,’ I said, but I changed her in the end. Consequently, the Rachel in the book is a toned down version of what she originally was, just so you’ll like her enough to read on.