Today, I am proud to feature an interview with author/screenwriter Darrin
Grimwood. Thank you so much Darrin for agreeing to the interview and for
sharing your thoughts!
The ultimate robot-combat game show. One remote tropical island. Eight teams. Two hundred and fifty concealed killer robots.
Fifteen year old inventor Toby Badernoch has noble plans for the $10,000,000 prize money – finding a cure for Matt, his terminally ill brother. But his robot is targeted by arch-rival Ray De Coza with lethal consequences. The sabotaged robot rampages, slaughtering the show’s presenter and forcing the TV crew to pull out, leaving the competitors and their super-aggressive robots stranded on the booby-trapped island. Mutual mistrust leads to violence and soon Toby and his best friend, Caitlin Steel are fighting for their lives…
You can find this book available for purchase
Darrin Grimwood has been a science fiction and horror film fanatic ever since he was a child, making his own movies on Super 8 film. He made the transition from fan to professional six years ago when he was commissioned by The Film Consortium to write SOUL HUNTERS, a human cloning sci-fi thriller. Since then he’s made a living as a screenwriter with commissions from Hammer Films and Maze Films amongst others. His horror screenplay, CORNERED! starring Steve Guttenberg and James Duval was released in June 2010. Destroy All Robots is his first novel.
When did you first know that you had a writing career ahead of you?
I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, ever since I can remember. My first experience of writing was when I used to make home-made Super 8 movies with my brother Nick when I was about twelve. I discovered an old manual typewriter in the loft and used to bash out these short film scripts. Writing these scripts gave me as much pleasure as actually filming them. I left school with no qualifications and tried to continue writing, but nothing of worth came out of it – I guess I didn’t have enough life experience to have anything to write about. I drifted into care work which I did for fifteen years, ending up doing night-shifts in a care-in-the-community hell hole in Whitechapel. The experience was so horrible and surreal I felt like I was starring in my own one-man play. So I decided to write it up as a play, a black comedy called Black Aspirins. It got picked up and was produced for the London stage in 2004. It got pretty good reviews and gave me the confidence to continue writing.
How did you decide on a genre you wanted to write?
My favorite genres in books and films is sci-fi, horror and action/adventure. They’re rarely combined which is why I thought I’d have a crack at it.
Did your book turn out as you had imagined it would when you first started writing?
My first draft was very busy, way too much stuff going on. I realized the story needed to be told in two, maybe three books. But when I finished outlining I realized the story naturally lead on to a second story, another trilogy. So the one book became six! I’m currently writing books 2 and 3.
Are there any occupational hazards that you have found being a writer?
None that I can think of. A lot of writers talk about it being a lonely occupation but I’ve never found that. I guess I enjoy the solitary life. I was on the set when my movie Cornered! was being filmed and it did my head in! I’ve the utmost respect for directors, dealing with so many people on a daily basis.
What was the most difficult part of writing “Destroy All Robots?”
I’m used to scriptwriting where brevity is a virtue. Everyone loves it when you turn in a script with a lot of white paper on it. Effectively describing a scene in a couple of pithy sentences is an art form in itself. Essentially you are sketching an outline and relying on the cast and crew to fill in the details. It was quite a shock when you realize that as a novelist you have to do everything yourself! You’re the set designer, wardrobe department, art director, the works. But ultimately it is more satisfying for the same reason.
If you were asked to sum your book up in twenty words or less, what would you say about it?
Set it up, smash it up, blow it up.
How do you feel about the changes to the publishing world and reading market?
It’s a great time to be a writer now. The internet has leveled the playing field as the traditional gatekeepers (agents and publishers) can now be bypassed. The unfortunate flipside of that is that there’s a hell of a lot of crap stacked on the virtual shelves. There’s no slush-pile in cyberspace!
If you could be a character in your own book for one day, who would you choose to be and why?
Probably Caitlin. That cyber-prosthetic hand with extendable blade would be pretty handy getting a seat on the tube.
Is there anything about your publishing journey that you would have done differently?
No. All of the journey was stepping stones to where I am now, which is where I want to be. It’s been a long haul but I’ve been lucky enough to be rewarded with little nuggets of success along the way. There’s a good chance I would have given up otherwise.
What is the best book you have ever read?
Probably Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. The amount of emotion packed into such a slender volume is phenomenal. Best short story, The Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov.
Any advice for other authors?
Recognize when writing stops being fun. The only guarantee you have is the pleasure of creating the work and not necessarily the pleasure of seeing it in print or earning an income from it. Don’t be afraid of taking a break if writing is turning into a chore. The world’s a beautiful place, do something else creative to recharge your batteries, Enjoy yourself, you’ll go back to writing when the time is right.
What people might not know about your book that you would like them to know?
Please check out the website to see more about the robots in the books. It’s www.destroyallrobots.co.uk. And drop by to say hello – I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anything else you would like to say to your audience?
Thanks for listening and I hope you have as much fun reading the books as I had writing them.
My thoughts on “Destroy All Robots”
So, this is not my usual reading material. I read books about a lot of different things, but I have always preferred to watch my sci-fi. I am the first to admit that I have a massive collection of sci-fi movies from the sixties, seventies and early eighties. Therefore, I expected to dislike this book. I was so wrong! From the very first page author/screenwriter Darrin Grimwood had my attention. The twists and action in this book don’t stop until the very end. I thought this plot was a pretty original idea. The author has combined his love of robotics, sci-fi and horror together with startling precision, making this quite the adventure.
The characters are realistic and fun to read about. I felt the entire book had a lot of dimension; which made it a fast read. Oddly, when I make a negative comment about any part of a book it is usually about the end. That was not the case with Destroy All Robots. The last couple of chapters were ultimately my favorite part of the book. Here, the action comes together and you wait, holding your breath to see how the characters will get themselves out of the predicament they are in. I don’t think the end could have been better.
The reason for the four-and-a-half star rating, rather than five, is that I think there are a couple of kinks relating to which age group I would recommend this to. Although overall it is a pretty clean novel, there is some violence and some of the action scenes may not be totally appropriate for all kids younger than 13, depending on their maturity level.
I would recommend this book for those who like to hear their own heart pounding while they are finishing a book! Excellent!