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Marcus Sedgwick Visits RHS Students

21 October 2016


On the 18th of October, Year 8 and 9 were lucky enough to meet world–famous author Marcus Sedgwick. He has written many books (he has had 38 books published) but you may have heard his name because he was recently nominated for the GDST Book of the Year - and his thriller She is Not Invisible was RHS’s favourite!

When everybody had found a seat and were ready, the lights were dimmed, the curtains drawn and Marcus began. He started by asking us if we thought being a writer would be a cool job. It looks as though the English Department are successfully doing their jobs as the majority of people in the room agreed that it would be!

We then proceeded to think about why it would be so good. Ideas ranged from lying in and having a short commute (up fifteen stairs, in Marcus’s case) to getting to tell people that you’re a writer at dinner parties! Marcus is also lucky enough to live in the French Alps and has the most fabulous mountain view from his office window.

Unfortunately, with all positives come negatives, and Marcus divulged how writers only get paid twice a year, and that while it can be tempting to ‘blow it all on dancing ponies and juggling dwarves’ (his words, not mine!) you have to show some restraint.

RANDOM PIECE OF TRIVIA: He once got writers’ block for 2 years! (Not good when your living comes from writing books!)

Marcus then told us about some of the ‘critiques’ he had received (he complimented the audience member on her choice of euphemism!), and his worst reviews. One email he received “annihilated the book piece by piece, then ended by saying, “…you should go round the world and burn every copy of your book so no one else has to go through what I did. Then go back to college and rethink your life choices”. It then ended with: #Roasted. Another email was a little more concise – it had the subject line Revolver (the book’s title) and the main text: “Dude, your book sucked. Like, really sucked.”’

As well as being haunted by haters (not very many we hope) Marcus is also haunted by, bizarrely,… the number 354. He told us about a series of strange things that he experienced after being nominated for an award in America and that he has hidden the number 354 in many of his books. It’s most obvious in She is Not Invisible.  So keep an eye out and see if you can spot it!

Marcus then consented to answer some questions. He told us that he found an empty gun cartridge just lying on a street in Russia and that that inspired him to write his bestselling novel Revolver. Nightmares have also sparked new stories in Marcus’ brain and so have seemingly random objects. He keeps a plastic skull with dollar bills in its mouth next to his computer – a reference to his new novel Saint Death which is a thriller set on the US/Mexico border. Mrs Manners describes the book as “brilliant, really powerful”.

Marcus said that he never ‘set out to inspire people,’ but what made him become a writer was that he felt that some stories needed to be put down on paper. We heartily agree.

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