Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will’s notebook and will do anything to get it. As Will’s memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?Fighting for survival with the help of Mi5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.
Now read an interview with Sleeper author J D Fennell!
1. For those that haven’t read Sleeper, can you tell us a little about it?
Sleeper is a pacey thriller that follows the journey of sixteen-year old Will Starling in 1941, who is pulled from the sea with no memory of the past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. The notebook is Will’s only way of uncovering who he is. But other people also want the notebook. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor.
2. Congratulations on your debut novel! How does it feel to finally have it out there?
It has still not really sunk in. When I first held a printed copy, it was the most extraordinary feeling. I sat down, opened the pages and without realising it, read it as if it was not my book. It was strange but nice at the same time.
3. The book reminded me a little of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, what was your inspiration for writing Sleeper?
Well, first up I love the 1940s period, the fashion, cars and basic technology. I am also a fan of fast paced thrillers and the dramatic setting of the blitz just seemed such a perfectly treacherous location to drop my characters into.
4. Did you always have plans to write the story as a trilogy?
I thought it might be a series. Of what length I was never quite sure. A trilogy seems about right, for now, at least.
5. As a newly published author, what advice would you give those looking to get their book published?
Work on your craft and always try to write the best book you possibly can. Get to know the agents you want to submit to, look at their other titles and ensure they are right for you. If possible, attend literary events and meet agents and other industry professionals; networking is nice, however, if you have written a great book, it will be picked up sooner or later.
6. I really love the cover for Sleeper. Did you have any input on the cover design?
Yes I did, which is quite unusual for a debut writer. My publisher and I sat down and reviewed the four proposed designs. We both agreed on our favourite, but wanted a few more changes, including the addition of the sniper scope, which finished it off beautifully. I could not be happier with the cover.
7. Now that Sleeper is released, what are you working on next?
I am working on the follow up to Sleeper. There is more to come for Will Starling.
8. And finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I’m reading Spellslinger by Sebastian De Castell, a YA fantasy with a western theme. I am doing an event with Sebastian in Waterstones Newcastle on 3rd May, to talk about our books. I am loving the world he has created. It is really terrific.
Thanks goes to J D Fennell for answering my questions. Sleeper is available now from Dome Press.