For anyone who doesn't know, YAShot is a one day YA festival taking place on Wednesday 28th October in Uxbridge, London. Andy is taking part in the Make ‘Em Laugh: Using humour to create empathy and understanding panel at 4.40pm – 5.40pm – Chaired by Matt Whyman with Ben Davis, Andy Robb and CJ Skuse.
So in order to look at the humour and fun of Andy's work (not to mention the geeky love of comics), we did something a bit different to normal Q&As. Hope you enjoy!
First up Andy, what inspired the Geekhood series?
The series was actually inspired by my first crush. I fell hopelessly in love with a girl in my class. In my eyes though, I didn’t stand a chance. The one saving grace was that we got to walk home together every day. As far as she was concerned, we were just friends. But for me, she was the dictionary definition of ‘perfect’.
I was a bit odd: a curious mix of introvert and extrovert. At the time I was discovering drama and took every opportunity to be on stage. Amongst my friends I was the opposite and very withdrawn. It was a peculiar dichotomy that set the templates for Archie’s Inner and External Monologues.
If I wasn’t rehearsing for a play, you’d find me bolted-up in my bedroom painting D&D miniatures or reading.
I also loved Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Marvel Comics and Lord of the Rings.
All very mainstream now.
What’s your geekiest secret?
There was the time I dyed myself green with food-colouring to go to a carnival as the Incredible Hulk. Great idea in theory but when the food colouring doesn’t wash off after 3 days and you look like a palid pea in school, the novelty tends to does wear a bit thin…
What role do you think humour has in creating/ understanding characters?
I think humour is something intrinsic to us all: we all need to laugh. In creating a character, you want your readers to be able to relate to them and humour is one of the most communal aspects of the human psyche.
Also a clown once told me that “laughter is a universal language” and I think there’s truth in that.
The first book that made me aware that words could be funny was ‘Help! I’m a Prisoner in a Tooth Paste Factory’ by Jon Antrobus which I heard read-aloud on Jackanory.
I loved it’s madness and cracking one-liners. His ‘The Boy with Illuminated Measles’ was another proud favourite of mine.
From then on I was a worshipper at the altar of my local bookshop. Which was independent.
Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects?
I’ve got a couple of things on the go, but the one that’s taking pole position at the moment is a YA.
Hopefully, it’ll be funny, but I also want to throw some horror into the mix. My research has taken me to some pretty interesting places, one of them being a morgue!
Thanks so much to Andy for taking part in this Q&A with me! All the illustrations were done by him with a bit of colouring in by yours truly. If you are around the Uxbridge area and are free on Wednesday, you should definitely stop by Andy's panel and more events at YAShot. It's going to be an incredible day!