Author Interview with Kerry Drewery
We caught up with YA author Kerry Drewery ahead of the release of her latest novel Cell 7, an intense dystopian novel.
Firstly congratulations Kerry on your latest novel, Cell 7! Ahead of the release, can you tell us where the inspiration came from?
Thank you! I'm really excited and really thrilled. Cell 7 didn't come to me in a lightening bolt moment, or in one piece; it evolved slowly in my head. I've always been fascinated with death row. Not in a macabre sense, but wondering how people on death row deal with it - what do they think? Are they repentant? Scared? Do they think about death or block it from their minds? And it fascinated me how different societies and people think of the death penalty. I wanted to put a character onto death row and explore it, and I wanted it to be a teenager.
Thing is though, there are no teenagers on death row! And I wanted to set it in the UK, but we have no penalty anymore. That got me thinking of how, when and why the death penalty was abolished here in the UK and what would've, or could've, happened if it hadn't been. How would it have evolved, especially in the media-influenced society we live in? Eventually, through lots of thinking and long dog walks, the idea for Cell 7 came together.
Tricky task but are you able to sum it up in just three words?
Gosh, that's a hard question...*thinks*... Justice. Media. Fear.
"It's one of those books that stays in the back of your mind and ruminates"
We were intrigued to spot on Twitter you mention music influenced Cell 7, what else inspired you to write this novel? Did Orwell's 1984 play any part?
I read 1984 years ago, as a teenager, and loved it. It's one of those books that stays in the back of your mind and ruminates, so I think on a sub-conscious level it probably did. I think rather than things inspiring Cell 7, it was more that they influenced it; all sorts of things that I've read or watched (I'm a massive film fan), that sank into my brain, took seed and slowly grew new ideas and thoughts. Things such as John Wyndham's The Chrysalids, Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr Y, Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon, and films that I always go back to such as Inception, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Truman Show.
Do you have a favourite chapter/scene in the book, if so which one and why?
I love writing dialogue, so I particularly enjoy the script sections, but as for favourite...the one that sticks in my mind is where Martha first meets Jackon's son, Isaac. Part of her wants to allow herself to like him, but she's had her barriers up against people for a long time, and they're not going to come down that easily. For a moment, though, you think she's softening, but then she turns around and tells him to go away. You want to laugh at her abruptness, cheer for how she doesn't take any messing, but cry that her actions are forcing her away from someone who likes her.
When can we expect the sequel to be published and can you give away any tiny teasers?
The sequel will be published next summer. Ooo teasers...dangerous secrets people are trying to hide, a new TV show, and a dangerous position for Martha to find herself in.
Do you have any tips for aspiring authors on how to overcome the dreaded 'writers block'?
I've been lucky enough not to have experienced this (yet!). A blank page can be quite scary, and I think the most important thing is to get something down. Anything. Just because it's there, doesn't mean it has to stay there, but it can get your mind working and your imagination going, and lead you to the story you're looking to write.