Thank you so much to talented and local to Suffolk writer Sophie Green for her blog post today! She is utterly lovely and her trilogy, Potkin and Stubbs, is gaining the attention it deserves! This is a trilogy not to be missed! She has kindly signed a copy of the third book, Ghostcatcher, and I am hosting a giveaway on twitter! Good Luck! Read on for a guest post from the charming Sophie Green!
Potkin and Stubbs: a three-book story
Potkin and Stubbs is the tale of Lil Potkin, an aspiring teenage reporter on the lookout for a big scoop. One rainy night in Peligan City Lil meets Nedly Stubbs, a mysterious boy that only she can see, and finds a story more extraordinary than she could have imagined and an adventure that will change both their lives forever.
When I started writing it back in 2012, the first time I pictured Nedly he was sitting alone and ignored in the bus station where Lil would soon find him. Not long after that I imagined a pivotal scene from near the end of their tale. For these particular children, in that kind of city, the arc of the story felt inevitable. I knew what had to happen at the beginning and where it would lead Lil and Nedly and why, long before I understood how they would get there.
I had to solve some of the mysteries myself as I pinned the plot down, but as I started to map out the road in between those two moments I soon realised that it would take three books to tell the whole tale. I was lucky that my publisher saw it the same way.
It wasn’t all roses; in this golden age of children’s books it is a competitive and crowded market and books are easily forgotten if there is too big a gap between release dates. I had taken five years to write the first book, now I had less than one to write the second and only six months for the third, but even though it was hard-going the speed was exhilarating too, like a Rocky training montage.
One of the benefits is the total immersion in the story; there’s no time to think of anything else. I lived and breathed the rain-soaked air of Peligan City.
In the years I had spent writing the first book I had invested a lot in really getting to know and love Lil, Nedly and the battered old detective who helps them, Abe Mandrel, and once your characters become real and believable to you then half the battle is won. You can put them into any situation and predict their reactions and what they will do next. They drive the story forwards, usually following your story map, but not always.
Three books gave me plenty of time to enrich their story world; introduce more minor characters and let them develop, to create substantial arcs and subplots, it gave me space to explore new locations and ideas and delve deeper into Peligan City’s history.
I soon discovered that writing books in quick succession is also a big help in maintaining the style of a story and the characters voices, quirks and abilities, and remembering practical details especially in terms of the geography, so there is less chance of continuity errors. It’s good for keeping track of loose ends.
But the cycle of book creation and publication means that authors are often promoting one book while writing its sequel so fear of spoiler alerts haunts my every Q&A. I’ll be over the moon when all three books are out and I can talk about the whole story freely.
My years of hanging out with Lil, Nedly and Abe, have been amazing and I got choked up more than once when I was writing Ghostcatcher, in part because I knew this would be the last adventure we would have together. I’m sure that there are many stories of Peligan City left to tell; I’ve had some great ideas for future books from readers; focusing on other characters, or skipping forward or back a generation, but for me now it’s time to begin a new story, somewhere completely different. . .
Ghostcatcher (Potkin and Stubbs 3) will be published on March 5th2020 by Piccadilly Press
Peligan City is still haunted and City Hall’s initiative to solve the problem is an outfit called Ghostcatcher. Every night they patrol the streets with their high-tech equipment, following reports of spectral activity. But they are only hunting one spook now; the Herald calls it the Final Ghost and it is public enemy number one.
But to Lil Potkin he is Nedly Stubbs, her investigative partner and best friend.
Now an apprentice reporter for the Klaxon, Lil manages to talk her way into a job shadowing intrepid journalist Marsha Quake, who is writing a feature on Ghostcatcher.
And so, with Lil’s help Nedly is able to stay one step ahead of the game, but for how long?