How Did You Get the Idea for Black Taxi?
I had been feeling for a while that I would like to try some new things with my writing. In particular, I wanted to try something light-hearted. After all, all of my other YA novels are pretty serious. It is a real challenge to sustain humour through a book.
Over the Christmas holidays, I like to lounge around and read books. One Christmas, I seemed to read a lot of crime novels, some of which were written with a real sense of fun. In particular I read some books by Janet Ivanovich about a character called Stephanie Plum and some books by Lindsay Davis set in ancient Rome and featuring a detective called Falco. I also came across the novels by Donna Leon, set in modern day Venice which might also have helped me out.
For Black Taxi itself, well, the story is completely original, but like all such stories, the various characters and incidents have been gathering in my mind for twenty years.
Is There Any Special Meaning in the Title?
In some parts of the world, (eg. Mexico) a ‘black taxi’ is an unofficial taxi. At peek times, waiting for a taxi can be frustrating and so some enterprising drivers who see someone waiting will ask them if they want a lift. They agree on a price for the journey and away they go. I made this part of the title to begin with, but I didn’t explain it in the story because it is not really relevant to the story as it finally appeared. However, Rosie is an unofficial taxi driver for her old people, isn’t she?
Of course, I made sure the Mercedes Benz was black as well.
Is Rosie Based on Anyone You Know?
No. However, my older daughter was about Rosie’s age as I was writing the novel and when friends started reading the manuscript, many of them commented on how much like my daughter Rosie sounded. But really, my girl has led a very different life from the one Rosie is leading.
Perhaps, I unconsciously picked up the voice of Rosie from all my daughter’s friends when they came round to visit her and talked their heads off (like most girls)
How Can A Middle Aged Man Like You Write About a Teenaged Girl?
As I just mentioned above, having so many lively (and loud) teenage girls around the house from time to time gave me plenty to listen to. The topics of conversation were fairly standard – boys, who was hot, who was on the outer, clothes, parties, school troubles, relationship worries. I don’t want to sound insulting, but teenage girls are pretty easy to work out. They don’t sit around and talk about politics and the environment and how to bring about world peace. Hey, life’s fun.
There have been two covers for Black Taxi, one in Australia on the left and one in the USA on the right. Which cover do you like best?
Let me know your preference. firstname.lastname@example.org