Tom’s debut, Boys Don’t Knit, was release at the end of January by HotKeyBooks and it’s fantastic.
1. Of all of the activities you could have picked for Ben’s punishment, why knitting?
Because knitting is usually seen as a feminine activity. When Ben begins knitting he feels he can;t let his friends know about it because they would mock him. He is terrified of his father finding out because he knows his father will not understand. Though Boys Don’t Knit is a humorous book, it really wouldn’t work without the tension building as Ben concocts increasingly elaborate lies to hide his woolly secrets.
2. It’s unusual to see a male protagonist’s story in diary format. What made you decide to write Ben’s story in that way?
I’m a fan of the diary format. It allows for short, punchy chapters, each ending on a mini-cliffhanger. Keeping a diary is something girls tend to do more than boys, and the parallel between Ben’s love of knitting and his love of writing in intentional. Ben is a complex character. He’s sensitive and introspective, but has a laddish side to him as well. Though he despairs of his idiotic friends, he loves being part of the gang. He is as secretive about his diary-keeping as he knitting.
I enjoyed writing the scene at the All UK Knitting Championships where all the various threads come together. Giant knitting needles, rampant goats, gang warfare, television cameras, Home Office officials and a green-dyed hoodie disguised as a sheep. Poor old Ben, how can he possibly concentrate on his stranded colour work with all that going on?
4. Literary idol?
5. Favourite story world?
Other than our own? Can I have two? I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, and in the sci-fi genre: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Universe.
6. Current read?
I’ve just read Train Dreams, a novella by Denis Johnson. Beautiful and heart-breaking. Next on the TBR list is by Sebastian Faulks – A Possible Life.
Thanks Tom! Go read Boys Don’t Knit!