A mystery with a twist, or two!
4th Jul 19

A mystery with a twist, or two!

Cymbeline Igloo is puzzled. Someone is playing nasty tricks on his teacher; he needs to find out who. And his best friend is miserable; but why? Author ADAM BARON tells us about his brilliant new book, YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS!

YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS - the sequel to BOY UNDERWATER - is a warm, moving and also very funny story about friendships, family and secrets, with twists and turns for the reader to follow.

In the latest novel, Cymbeline and his best friend Veronique are back, this time following clues to a mystery at school and a bigger one at home, as they try to find out what has upset Veronique's beloved Nanai.

We asked author ADAM BARON to tell us more about his latest novel, YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS.

Q: Why did you want to go back to Cymbeline and Veronique's world?

A: I'm just so interested in it and I wanted to find out more about Veronique. I loved allowing Cymbeline to get inside my head and take over my personality.

Q: Why did you decide to start the book with the chapter about Veronique's piano exam?

A: I wanted the reader to get to know her as soon as possible. I like the way she and Cymbeline talk to each other.

Q: There are lots of different mysteries running through this story - the above plus Nanai's background, Billy's behaviour, who was being nasty to Mrs Martin and the school roof! How hard was it to draw all the threads together?

A: I just followed Cymbeline around and let him unravel it all for me. Writing is a big leap of faith. You set out, sometimes, with no idea where the story will take you.

Q: You spend more time with characters we met before, especially Nanai. What about Nanai intrigued you enough to want to write her story?

A: Two of my grandparents were immigrants from central Europe. I never met them but have always been fascinated by the stories of people who come from elsewhere to make up our country. She's secretive, which always intrigues me.

Q: Where did you go to research Nanai's background?

A: My memory. She's based on my own British grandmother (a bit). I used the Internet and was also given help by a fantastic woman called Nghiem Ta.

Q: We learn that Nanai escaped from Vietnam as one of the 'boat people' refugees. What drew you to writing about refugees for this story?

A: As I've said, two of my grandparents were also refugees, fleeing pogroms in Romania and Lithuania when they were children.

When I was growing up, the 'Boat People' as newspapers called them, were very much in the news. The British were reluctant to help but we treated them far better in the end than we treat refugees today - and just look at what they and their descendants add to our culture.

Also, my best friend from university works with refugees. She's actually now the assistant to the Secretary General for Refugees at the United Nations. She has always inspired me.

Q: There's a lot about Chinese New Year and the food Veronique's family eat. Are you a foodie or like Cymbeline, reluctant to try new things?

A: I love food (it's all I ever eat...). I'll try anything, though as a child I was very much like Cymbeline. For Sunday lunch I would only eat mashed up roast potatoes and gravy.

Q: There's a lot about football, too - it's one of Cymbeline's passions. Where did that stem from? And who do you support....?

A: I support Liverpool (rewarding) and Grimsby Town (less so). I coach my son and daughters' school football teams. Last year the girls' team won the league and the cup!

Q: Cymbeline also enjoys school - did you?

A: I loved school really and had some great teachers. When I was miserable it was just because of the age that I was, not school.

Q: What would you like your readers to take away from this story?

A: I would like them to believe that the characters are real (as I do). Fiction shouldn't really have messages. I hope, however, that they perhaps better understand the humanity of people who appear to be different from them.

Q: What do you feel the illustrations by Benji Davies bring to the book?

A: I love them. They are vivid and he manages to convey excitement superbly. I hope they help entice the reader into the story.

Q: Where do you like to write and what are you working on now?

A: I write at home, mostly, but sometimes in cafes where there is no Internet (hard to find these days). I'm working on another book about Cymbeline and his friends, but also on one that is completely different. I'm loving them both so far.

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