S Williams has always taken stories seriously. At six he broke the back of his wardrobe with a hammer attempting to get into Narnia. He’s fairly certain he succeeded, and has a Victorian iron street-lamp in his bedroom. Since the publication of his first novel he has attempted to get a slightly more secure grip on reality. Not the easiest thing to do whilst wearing his trademark bowler and frequenting the stranger parts of London
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and congratulations on the incredible success of your debut novel Tuesday Falling (one of my top 10 reads in 2015 btw). For those who haven’t met Tuesday yet can you please tell us about the book and where the inspiration came from?
Hi, Tracy, and thank you for giving me another opportunity to spread the word about Tuesday Falling.
Tuesday lives in the abandoned tunnels and stations beneath London. She is an avenger of wrongs: crimes against other young people and against herself. Her extreme actions lead to her being hunted by the police as well as by the lackeys of an uber-villain. But Tuesday is way ahead of the game… . The narrative aims to take readers on an exhilarating ride through a multi-levelled London people may not have seen before, and along the way it takes a hard look at some of the social ills prevalent in any big city today.
The character of Tuesday was inspired by an actual girl. It was late at night on a nearly empty tube station platform. I was heading home after an evening of gin and good company. Sitting on the platform was a girl in ripped combats, black nails and f-ck off hair. Her docks were unlaced and she had stay-away eyes. The was that push of air you get when a train is coming, and I looked back up the platform to watch it’s light appear out of the darkness of the tunnel. When I turned back to the girl she had gone. A girl-ghost. I looked up and down the platform but she was nowhere to be seen.
Fantastic. All my journey home I started working out where she could have gone. By the time I got of the train Tuesday had formed in my head.
As you know I am involved with THE Book Club on Facebook (TBC) and we started a campaign to #bringbackTuesday. Are you writing a sequel and if so what can you tell me about it and when is it due out?
And very grateful I am! Love that campaign. It is fantastic that Tuesday has had such an effect on so many people.
Not allowed to tell you much about sequels. I have prepared an outline for Bk 2 which both my agent and my original editor for Tuesday Falling think is great. Complicated situation, though. Watch this space.
We have some Super Fans on TBC who have some questions for you – would you mind answering these please:
From Sharon Bairden – As a huge fan of Indie 80s music, tell us about the influence of the 80s on your writing style?
Hi Sharon, and thanks for the Tuesday tweets!
Joy division. Duran Duran. Scary Monsters. Rude Boy Ska. The Clash still ripping it up. Crimpers. What’s not to love!? Annie Lennox in a suit and red crewcut just does it for me. And don’t get me started on 4AD. The diversity was incredible. A melting pot of ideas and ideals. From questions of gender identity to the pantomime of Stand and Deliver. From Grandmaster Flash to the Waterboys. The sheer mash-up of it all. When I write I try to name-check as many songs as I can. I hope you spotted them all?!
From Karen Lee-Roberts – I loved exploring the forgotten, disused tunnels and storage areas. Will crossrail bugger any of them up in book 2?
Actually, It has opened up a rather rich vein of alternative settings, because large portions of central London are being made derelict? reduced to rubble. Cityscapes for ghost-girls.
To begin with I was worried about Crossrail, but there are just so many underground settings! I hardly even began to touch on them in TF.
From Sally Kirton: I think the thing that really caught my interest is the ghost stations of the Underground, do the locations mentioned all exist, and by chance were any reconnoitre visits able to be made?
Yes they do. One of them was used in the film V for Vendetta. Another was used for a play, as described by Tuesday. There are strange access points to them: some just behind innocent-looking doors in unused alleys; others accessible only from the current network. There are urban explorers who map out all the extant tunnels and stations, citadels and exchanges, but I really couldn’t comment!
From Ellen Devonport: I think Tuesday Falling would make a fantastic movie who would you like to see in the lead role?
So do I!
All I can say on this one is that I was taken not long ago to a venue so media-sharp it could slice and dice you as it served its unhappy, but on-trend food. There I met a girl (an actor whose name I can’t mention), an agent, and a person from within the media industry who were all very keen on Tuesday. The actor in question was rocking a wicked pair of DMs and she would make a brilliant Tuesday.
UPDATE: I can now reveal that STV Productions have optioned it for a TV series. This is only an option, but never-the-less very exciting!
We met in Harrogate last year (photo above) and you are obviously a very shy and private person! I have searched high and low to find some “dirt” on you on the internet but you are rather elusive – tell me about YOU the man behind the bowler hat?
There is no man behind the bowler. The face is stitched on and the body is clearly stolen from someone much younger.
I’ve mentioned the bowler hat, what is so special about that hat and would you consider wearing a Fez or Balaclava instead?
Ah, the bowler.
From A Clockwork Orange via Sally Bowles. From Charlie Chaplin to John Steed. Not forgetting The Tiger Lillies and Oddjob.
A Fez? Well, Fezs are cool (anyone get the quote?).
Balaclava? A bit ‘enter through the window rather than the door’ for me.
I have a Smoking Hat made by the same company that my bowler comes from: Lock and Co.
I love a man who wears black eyeliner – what do you use to take your make-up off at the end of the day?
Take it off? Take it off? Never take it off! Just wake up in the morning, reapply over yesterday’s, and you’re good to go! That’s how to achieve that lived-in look as if you reside at Tom Waits’ Home for Heartbroken Ladies of the Evening.
Alternatively, gently wash away using the tears of dead angels.
Take your pick!
Finally, what have you got planned for 2017 and will you be at Harrogate in July?
I’ve just finished the 1st draft of a manuscript (no, I’m not telling) which I very much enjoyed writing.
The German edition of Tuesday Falling will be published in autumn 2017 and, given that the Czech edition went to No 1 in the Czech e-book charts last year, beating the likes of Lee Child and Robert Galbraith, I ‘m really looking forward to seeing how Tuesday goes down in Germany/following Tuesday’s German adventures this year. And more foreign-language deals for her in the pipeline, I’m told.
I’m just completing the script for a ghost evening which I’m performing around Halloween (see, totally ahead of the curve, there!).
I’m working with a code-girl, who interprets non-binary in their own unique way. They want to publish a story on a blockchain, where the text itself is currency. If anyone knows what I’m talking about feel free to get in touch.
Harrogate?It was my first time last year, and I was pretty much an observer. This year I’m hoping to jump right in.
Thanks, Tracy, for the questions, and the best of luck with the new website.