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David Solomons: A New Beginning


This is supposed to be a writing starter, but my latest book is an ending, not a beginning, so hmmm…

The beginning was a book entitled My Brother is a Superhero, which started a lot of things for me, among them a new career as a children’s author. But back to the end.

My Cousin is a Time Traveller is the fifth and last in the series (though it’s not essential to read them in order), and my main thought prior to and during its writing was to finish with a bang. As a result, there are a number of endings in this book.

The End of the World features heavily, as per usual. This time it’s a threat from the future, relayed to my narrator/protagonist, Luke Parker, by his cousin Dina, who, it transpires, has been having time-travel adventures in parallel with Luke and Zack’s superhero shenanigans. Dina’s back from the future to warn them about the rise of the machines. Domestic appliances, to be exact. In the near future washing machines, microwaves, toasters (particularly toasters) and the rest have become so smart that they’ve decided to end the dominance of the human race. But if our plucky heroes can work together there’s a chance of averting the toaster-takeover before it’s begun.

The next ending is Zack’s. He’s Star Lad, the superhero brother of the original book, but in this one he’s thinking about the end too. He decides to give it all up and have his superpowers removed. Though it’s not as straightforward as he thinks.

But perhaps the most important ending is the fate of my narrator, the Not Chosen One, Luke Parker. The boy who went for a wee in the first book at the worst possible moment and thus missed out on his greatest wish – to become a superhero. Whenever I hear from readers of the series, they want to know if I’m ever going to grant Luke his wish. I’ve always said that if he gets that wish it would be the end of the story – so does he get powers in this one?

Every book has been fuelled by Luke’s indignation at missing out on superpowers and his desperation to obtain them. Which leads me to the best story starter advice I can give. Find a ‘want’ in your protagonist so deep that it informs every line, every chapter, every book. It’s not an easy thing to come up with, but when you do, you’ll know. Luke’s obsession is the engine-room of the entire series and has carried him (and me) from a tree house in the back garden of his suburban house to…

… the end.

Now, onto the next one and a new beginning…