Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Blog Tour: Q&A with author of Goodnight, Boy

Today I'm a part of the Goodnight, Boy blog tour on Twitter which I'm sure lots of you have heard about on twitter or through the blogs of many book bloggers including the lovely Chelle at TalesofYesterday from Nikki Sheehan

So, what is Goodnight, Boy all about? 

The kennel has been JC’s home ever since his new adoptive father locked him inside. For hours on end, JC sits and tells his dog Boy how he came to this country: his family, the orphanage and the Haitian earthquake that swept everything away.
When his adoptive mother Melanie rescues him, life starts to feel normal again. Until JC does something bad, something that upset his new father so much that he and Boy are banished to the kennel. But as his new father gets sicker, JC realises they have to find a way out. And so begins a stunning story of a boy, a dog and their journey to freedom.

I really enjoyed this story and was really glad I picked up a copy. I'll be posting more about my thoughts next week but without further ado...

Q and A with Nikki Sheehan

1) Goodnight, Boy in itself is a very unique story about a refugee boy forced to live in a kennel. What was your inspiration in writing the story?
Friendship. I always start from the point of view of theme, and weave the story around the thread of the emotion. I’d been through a bit of a tricky time a few years ago and

it struck me then just how powerful friendship is in the face of difficulties. I suppose I could have just given JC a human mate, but friendship with a dog is of a very pure kind. Dogs love you entirely unconditionally, so it struck me as a good way to explore the relationship in an extreme setting. The pressure of the kennel bring out the worst and best in JC, but it brings out the best in the dog every time, so I suppose he’s a kind of idealised friend. I’m not sure exactly when I decided my character would be shut in the kennel, but I had certainly read about children in America who had been put in dog houses and other tiny places as punishments, and so the idea was born.

2) The writing style of Goodnight, Boy is very unique in that there's no chapters used throughout. What made you decide to write in this style and did you find any difficulties?
I hadn’t really thought about the lack of chapters until you asked this. I suppose it’s not really an issue because chapters tend to mark the passing of time, and in this book time is expansive and slow, and I show it through the physical emptiness, with big line drops, and sometimes pages with just one or two words on.

3) Why did you write in second person?
The vast majority of books are written in the first or third person, but I wanted to bring the characters closer as they’re all each other has. A long time ago I read an amazing book called The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which was in second person. I thought back to that and realised that if JC is speaking directly to Boy, he is in essence making the reader take the role of the dog (as they both listen passively) and let the reader feel like they’re within the story.

4) What was the hardest part of writing this novel and why?
Knowing when to stop tinkering with the writing. When you’re using fewer words it feels even more important to get them exactly right, and although the book looks quite chunky, it’s actually very short. Just before final edits, in a fit of madness, I began editing all of the more direct conversation with Boy so that it had an iambic rhythm because it sounds nicer. I knew that no one would ever notice, but once I started it became addictive and I couldn’t stop!

5) What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
I actually enjoyed all of it. The research around the story, and the earthquake in particular, was sometimes harrowing, but it also reminded me that kids are incredibly resilient and how they often find what they need, wherever they happen to be.

6) The voice of JC is so strong; you've captured him so well. How do you write from the perspective of a boy with such an insight? 
Thank you. I’m not sure really. I have two sons, one of whom is now JC’s age. But mostly I write from my young self, and the fact that I’m a girl doesn’t seem to matter!

7) The bond between JC and Boy (his dog) is a touching one and a much more unique one for novels. What made you write about a relationship like that?
I have two dogs, mother and daughter labradoodles, who are right next to me, hanging out during the day while I work. The bond between us is a strange thing, that almost feels magical, or telepathic at times, so I was able to mine this, and, of course, study my dogs’ behaviour really carefully to make sure I got it right. Boy is a sort of amalgamation of my dogs, but probably more like the very sensible, well behaved older one. When he’s being daft though I draw on the clownish behaviour of the younger dog. I have told them of course, that they star in my new book, but they remain unimpressed, as they prefer nature programmes on the telly.

 Well that's the end of my Q and A with Nikki Sheehan a big thanks to Cailin at RockTheBoat (OneWorld Publications Ltd) for organising the Q and A and for asking me to be a part of the #GoodNightBoyTour and to Nikki for answering all of my questions.

Goodnight, Boy is released tomorrow (6th July 2017).

Any questions/ enquiries or just a message to say hi you can comment, tweet me (@brokefrombooks) or email me at

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