Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Topp’

 

cody

 

In the previous post you can see my review of the new YA novel Hucking Cody which I thoroughly enjoyed so I am delighted to have the author Aaron Topp as a guest on my blog today.

I asked just a few questions so we can get to know the author a little better. Enjoy!

The novel carries a sense of authority on the subject of biking. How much research did you do or does it come from your own experiences?

I subscribe to the rule of ‘write what you know’ so I guess I’ve been ‘researching’ the book for the last 35 years! I received my first BMX when I was 6 and have never stopped riding a bike on dirt since. Even now at 40 years old I reckon I’m still getting faster (although my 12 year old son disagrees!) I love the whole experience of riding a bike down challenging terrain, so much like Robert Frost once said ‘no tears in the author, no tears in the reader’, when you’re passionate about something as a writer, that passion translates pretty easy to the page.

Betrayal is a strong theme throughout your novel. Was this something you planned at the start or was it something that just evolved with your characters?

I wanted to explore the themes of unconditional love (most often) found between brothers, and even amongst best mates. I liked the universal idea of the older brother, Zane, pioneering new ground at the expense of the younger brother, Cody, because it produced this interesting juxtaposition of ‘awe versus contempt’ within him. Does Cody accept the huckster tag his brother gave him, or has Cody got it within himself to overcome it without losing a brother along the way? What about when a mate’s involved? And the new girl Cody seems to have a special connection with – is that the same or just a reality of life? This is the journey I wanted to take the reader on.

Were you keen on writing as a teenager?

Yes, but the urge to write was suppressed by me, which was really silly looking back now. The few times I’d let the urge win, I’d write in secret and away from the dangerous eyes of my fellow boarding school mates. The next day pieces of writing were discreetly handed to English teachers for them to give feedback on. These days one of the first thing I tell students is ‘embrace the natural desire to write, celebrate it. It’s who you are.’

What is the strangest job you have ever had?

Does writing count?

I think this novel will appeal to both male and female readers and not just those into mountain biking. Did you have a reader in mind when you wrote this?

While I’m stoked when any teen reads my books, just like my first book, Single Fin, I wanted to write a book that teenage males would want to read, about something they were doing in their own spare time anyway. That’s always been an objective of mine. Reading is still so important for a young man’s development, but the competition for a teenager’s attention is far greater than it ever has been. And from their feedback, I knew they didn’t always want another book about vampires, boy wizards or any of the multitude of dystopian books taking up shelf space. Real life fiction is relevant, always will be to them, although finding the right vessel of interest to carry the story is still important. What better way to do it than on a bike!

How long did it take you to write – from idea to publication?

I take small bites of writing due to having a day job and a young family. Having a routine is great for this and mine is a strong coffee at 7:30pm and then write at least 500 words before 10:30pm. Not exactly rock and roll, but it works for me. Over a few years Hucking Cody saw the light of day in various different forms before it finally settled on what Barbara Else calls ‘a very handsome production’.

And for all those keen writers out there, what advice would you give.

Read, find a routine, write when inspired, and above all else, follow your bliss.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Aaron.  And if you want to read even more about Aaron check out the New Zealand Book Council site

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Hucking Cody

By Aaron Topp

ISBN 9780473326685

Mary Egan Publishing

 

 

cody

Cody’s life is good – well it is if he is on his bike, otherwise life just keeps throwing him curve balls. Tormented regularly by a group of rugby bullies Cody finds solace on his mountain bike. It gives him the freedom to soar, to defy gravity and be at one with the world.

Right from the start we are on Cody’s side and as the action builds so too does our connection to Cody. He is a likable teen with good ethics which are tested as the novel moves along. He admires his older brother Zane for his bike skills and ability to outshine everyone else on the trails but at the same time he struggles with his brother’s off-the-rails antics which pull the family apart. The writing flows effortlessly  making it very easy to be drawn in to Cody’s world of mountain biking. 

 “It’s about having the ability to fly. The sensation of it, you know, defying gravity by hitting something with speed.

It’s then about mixing it up, having a good time while you’re up there. Going faster and higher than before, or than other riders”.

This is a quality novel for teens based in the real world where brothers sometimes mess up. While many will enjoy this novel for its insight into mountain biking, others will enjoy it for it’s realistic characters and story of betrayal. I am not the sporty type at all, in fact my idea of sports is turning the pages of a good novel and these pages I turned easily, thoroughly enjoying the story and getting to know Cody and keeping my fingers crossed as he met each new challenge.

I especially like the glossary at the back of the book which explains some of the terminology of the sport.