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Interview with Mass Movement Magazine

The following interview was printed in Mass Movement Magazine. It was conducted by Jim Dodge Jr and is reproduced here by kind permission of the editor. Where did you first come up with the idea for School’s Out? I know your bio says that your time spent in boy’s schools only minimally affected the story but I’m not so sure. What’s the real story behind the story? The thing that established writers always tell aspiring writers is ‘write what you know’, so when it came to pitching a storyline for Afterblight it just seemed natural to set it somewhere I knew intimately, both as pupil and, briefly, teacher. Boarding schools are a very particular environment, full of weird rituals, power struggles, festering resentments, unspoken loves, vicious vendettas and strong friendships. It’s very fertile ground for stories, as the Jennings and Harry Potter books ably demonstrate. Another truism is that every writer’s first book is in some way autobiographical. And while I never crucified any of my teachers, or shot a prefect in the head, I‘d be lying if I said I hadn’t daydreamed about doing it when I was at school. All. The. Time. I was not a happy boarder, to put it mildly. I had – still have! – issues with authority, and being in an environment where I was subject to the whims of teachers I didn’t respect, and prefects I didn’t like, was very hard for me. I ran away more than once, came close to expulsion several times. And yet, bizarrely, was made a prefect myself at one point. I was a terrible prefect, too young to...