Join Skool Girl’s Editor Tee Cee and YouTuber TomSka in the FIRST interview of a new Skool Girl TV series called ‘Author’s Corner’ a chance for you to get to know more about the author behind the book.
In this interview, TomSka talks about his new comedy book ‘Sam Kills Christmas’ available from November 8th.
Describe your general book writing process
My writing process is a mess if I’m being quite honest. I usually just take a blank piece of paper and just scribble all over it like it’s a notebook. I doodle ideas, thoughts, individual lines, I get all the ideas out of my head and onto one piece of paper and then I will usually type up all of those ideas in some sort of an order and then slowly flesh it out and build things up a bit.
What I did first is plan out every page that I wanted to have in the book, every main beat and then I worked with my friend and co-writer Eddie to turn those beats into little poems which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I thought it would take a couple of days, but it took a couple months…I’m very good at what I do, I promise!
When did you realise your desire to become an author?
If I’m being honest, I never really planned on being an author. I’m a writer but I write comic scripts, but in the wake of all the YouTuber books that were coming out like ‘Girl Online’ from Zoella, there was a party and I wanted to be invited so I got a book deal as well and I had to spend a lot of time thinking about what I could create that I would actually be proud of, that maybe only I could contribute and this is what came out, an edgy, kids Christmas picture book type thing.
What would you say makes your writing style unique?
It’s kind of hard to say what makes my writing style unique in regards to this book because we were limited to writing all of these rhyming couplets, where each line was exactly 11 syllables, so it was really down to what words we could fit in there. One thing we did do to try and set it apart is, we didn’t want to have swear words in there we wanted people to actually be able to enjoy this without getting upset or offended. So we replaced all the implied swear words with Christmas words.
What are your top three book recommendations?
I mean I’ve got to be honest with you really I’m not a very strong reader, books were never forced on me as a kid and I didn’t have any interest in picking them up so I would just read a lot of comics or watch cartoons. I do like comics a lot and currently reading a series called the Descender, Saga, I am a hero, Blade of the immortal…A lot of things.
“I had to spend a lot of time thinking about what I could create that I would actually be proud of, that maybe only I could contribute and this is what came out, an edgy, kids Christmas picture book type thing.”
Who are some of your favourite authors and why?
Following on from the last question, I’m not very big on books, I’m just straight up literature but you know, I do love comic books and I do love cartoons and movies but it’s kind of hard to tell where the writing ends and the director begins. I love a lot of the world’s created by one of my heroes Rebecca Sugar who created the cartoon Steven Universe and Pendleton Ward who created Adventure Time. These are the people I look up, I’d like to be them basically.
From your personal experience, where are the best places, people of things to find inspiration?
When it comes to coming up with ideas I do have a lot of techniques one of them is mind mapping or brainstorming depending on which phrase you like to use, where you just take a word and you write all the words associated with it. Sometimes I go online or I flick through newspapers and I just pull out random words that wouldn’t actually come into my head and just try to build up a list of things. When I see all those words together inspiration may jump out. I do sometimes listen to people in public (that sounds really creepy doesn’t it?), I’ll be on the bus or on the train and hear someone chatting and you’ll be hearing things they say out of context and therefore you create stories to fill in the gaps of what they’re talking about and sometimes those stories are probably much more interesting than the truth so I write them down and make something out of them. Another thing I do is just come up with a lot of ideas when I’m doing absolutely nothing, like when I’m stuck commuting somewhere or cleaning or even exercising (not that I do that very much) but these are some of the best way I find for ideas to pop up.
What advice to you have for aspiring authors?
One piece of advice I would say for aspiring authors is to trust yourself. Sometimes I don’t go anywhere with a project because I’ll be so worried that it’s not good enough and I’ll really worry what people think and I’ll send it out to my friends for their opinions and they’ll have criticisms and then that will just make me not want to work on it at all. I think you need to trust the stuff you’re doing is good and it is unique to you. If you send it off to your friends and they give you feedback that matches what you already think about it, like ‘this line doesn’t really work’ or ‘maybe this could be a bit better’ and you agree with that then yeah act on those notes but otherwise trust yourself, have faith in yourself and don’t let projects just go nowhere because you’re paralysed by fear.
’Sam Kills Christmas’ by Thomas “TomSka” Ridgewell out on November 8th!