It's been a busy spring with more first time novels coming online and more to come over the next few months. Here's another... from first-time novelist Bob Eslami, called Booked! It's currently available on Amazon and will be distributed globally over the coming weeks.
Bob has attended a couple of the Ottawa Writing Workshops over the years and has written several YA short stories. I had the pleasure of coaching him through the process of writing his first full-length novel. Here's my interview with Bob...
Where did the idea for Booked! come from?
I was thinking how popular young adult fiction in novels has become this decade, and I felt why not contribute to this genre with my own ideas? That is why I came up with the story of how one teenage boy on the verge of entering adulthood is put in a terrible situation during a crucial moment of his life. He is framed for something he didn’t steal and must work with his significant other in order to find out who was behind the crime. It's a classic adventure mystery story with emphasis on writing itself, as well as on the true struggles of teenagers, especially those who are trying to redeem themselves like my novel’s main protagonist. With this idea, I symbolize how commitment and actually following through with goals is what highlights the change within teenage characters.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing your novel?
Trying to find the right pace of the storyline was difficult, as I did not want my characters constantly targeting each other and constantly searching. That's why I made a clear outline and gave realistic imaginations for my protagonists to use in order to solve the case. I also felt there was an overwhelming number of characters in the story and had to make sure each one contributed to the plot. Because I had two main protagonists, I had to make sure they each had their backgrounds explored. It had to be done thoroughly and precisely, as they are high school characters and therefore complicated individuals.
How did you come up with your characters?
I looked into the background of different high school students from popular culture and decided to come up with my own unique characters. I found inspiration from Mean Girls, The Breakfast Club, and even Californication, the latter revolving around writing people. I thought why not have a couple of high school students that are interested in writing be part of an adventure together?
The main protagonist would be overwhelmed with trouble but always finds a way through the help of a friend. I did not want to make it cliché but I did include an authoritarian antagonist capable of doing things other characters could not. My main character Robert Spiritt is based on adventurous novelists like Hank Moody and I was eager to combine teenage drama with the genre of ‘writing within writing’ in this novel.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Various television shows regarding teens and especially writers as well. The life of a writer can be exciting even for one that is still a teen and aspiring.
Now that your first novel is done, what’s next for you?
Preparing for my next novel!
Do you have any tips for writers who want to write their first novel?
Get your imagination on the computer screen. Always keep writing.
Check out Booked! today.