Hal Junior History

I'm a stay-at-home dad for my two daughters, and over the years they've given me plenty of material for future Hal Junior books. I don't know who they get it from ...

The start. In 2010 I planned something different for NaNoWriMo. For each of the 2005, '06, '07 and '08 Nanos I wrote 50000 words of Hal Spacejock novels, only some of which has seen the light of day. Instead of adding even more random scenes to my very large collection, I decided to write a childrens book. (This was also my intention in 2009, but I had to skip Nano that year - I was writing and editing Hal Spacejock book 5.)

So what made me think I could write a kids' book when I'm not a teacher, librarian or childcare specialist? My work involves getting unruly computers - not children - to behave.

The answer is simple: I drew on my childhood for inspiration. My younger brother and I grew up in a small village in rural Spain, and 'untamed' doesn't cover the daily scenes of chaos and destruction.

My parents were strict but there were plenty of incidents involving fireworks, air rifles, motorbikes, camping out, broken windows, death-defying stunts ... and that was just on the way to school.

Life was one gigantic adventure, but we survived and went on to better things.

When writing Hal Junior I took all the things my brother and I used to get up to and toned them down about 80% to make them believable. I had a wonderful laugh writing this novel, and I believe my own childhood lives on in Hal's character.

In the end I split my Nanowrimo effort into two and a half novels. The Secret Signal is book one, The Missing Case is book two, and the last bit belongs to 'the Errant Asteroid', which is the working title for book 4. (Hal Junior 3 is The Gyris Mission, which was written in 2012 as a follow-on to the events in The Missing Case.)

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