Friday, May 11, 2018

"Orphan Monster Spy"

Matt Killeen was born in Birmingham, in the UK, back when trousers were wide and everything was brown. Early instruction in his craft included being told that a drawing of a Cylon exploding isn’t writing and copying-out your mother’s payslip isn’t an essay “about my family.” Several alternative careers beckoned, some involving laser guns and guitars, before he finally returned to words and attempted to make a living as an advertising copywriter and largely ignored music and sports journalist. He now writes for the world’s best loved toy company, as it wasn’t possible to be an X-wing pilot. Married to his Nuyorican soul mate, he is parent to both an unfeasibly clever teenager and a toddler who is challenging his father’s anti-establishment credentials by repeatedly writing on the walls. He accidentally moved to the countryside in 2016.

Killeen applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Orphan Monster Spy, and reported the following:
I’m a bit sceptical of the concept behind this, mostly because text and layout vary between editions, however page 69 of the UK edition of Orphan Monster Spy is indeed a bit pivotal. It’s the moment that The Captain is confirmed as a spy as a result of Sarah’s investigations…
“Some things, I don’t know what they are. But you’re a spy.”

“That so?”

“If those things weren’t locked up I wouldn’t have been sure, but they were hidden, so they’re secret. That makes you a spy.”

It’s also the moment she is given her little monster identity, the start of her journey to become a spy herself.

Sarah opened the card. There she was, standing against the hall wall, with the name Ursula Bettina Haller. Most miraculously of all, the papers were unstamped. There was no red J, no police station attendance stamps. Ursula was German and she wasn’t Jewish.

“Why are you doing this?” Sarah felt something – an itch in the corner of her eyes, and it left her breathless. It took her a few seconds to recognize the emotion, so long had it been since she’d been grateful. It made her feel vulnerable and she was immediately suspicious of it.
She ceases to be the orphan from this point on. It marks the end of the “origin story” and the start of the mission. I used to read this bit on my author visits…I’ve been advised to go for a more high-octane bit.
Orphan Monster Spy is on Jenny Kawecki's list of seven YA titles with undercover spies.

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Writers Read: Matt Killeen.

--Marshal Zeringue