Today I am over the moon to be part of the fab blog tour for Stanly’s Ghost by Stefan Mohamed.
Stanly’s Ghost is the third book in the fantastic Bitter Sixteen Trilogy and was published on the 15th March 2017 by Salt Publishing.
If you like Sci-Fi, Superheros and evil villans you need these books in your life!
For my stop on this fab tour I have had the honour to put some questions to the author himself Stefan Mohamed about the trilogy, superheros and writing!
Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize for new writers A Times Children’s Book of the Week A Guardian Top Teen Read of 2015 “Happy birthday, Stanly. We hope you like your present…” Cynical, solitary Stanly Bird is a fairly typical teenager – unless you count the fact that his best friend is a talking beagle named Daryl, and that he gained the powers of flight and telekinesis when he turned sixteen. Unfortunately, his rural Welsh home town is not exactly crying out for its very own superhero. London is calling – but what Stanly finds there is a good deal weirder and more terrifying than anything he could have imagined. Perhaps he should have stayed in Wales …
Stanly is frustrated. Having set himself up as London’s protector, he’s finding that the everyday practicalities of superheroism are challenging at best, and downright tedious at worst. So it’s almost a relief when an attempt is made on his life and Stanly finds himself rushing headlong into a twisted adventure, with enemies new and old coming out of the woodwork. However, even with his friends and his ever-increasing power behind him, he may have bitten off more than he can chew this time. The monsters are coming …and nothing will ever be the same!
Cynical, solitary Stanly Bird used to be a fairly typical teenager – unless you count the fact that his best friend was a talking beagle named Daryl. Then came the superpowers. And the superpowered allies. And the mysterious enemies. And the terrifying monsters. And the stunning revelations. And the apocalypse. Now he’s not sure what he is. Or where he is. Or how exactly one is supposed to proceed after saving the world.
All he knows is that his story isn’t finished.
Not quite yet …
Hi Stefan! Thanks for joining me today on Tales! I am super excited to have you here and to read the third book in the Bitter Sixteen Trilogy Stanly’s Ghost!
Can you tell us a little bit about your main character Stanly Bird?
Stanly is a slightly socially dysfunctional, hot-headed, sarcastic pop culture junkie from a small rural Welsh town. He also happens to have the powers of flight and telekinesis. He is trying his very best to be a superhero but things keep getting in the way – things like his own foibles, and basic practicality. He was sixteen in the first book of the trilogy, and as of the beginning of the final instalment, Stanly’s Ghost, he is eighteen (or thereabouts).
What inspired you to write The Bitter Sixteen Trilogy?
I wrote the very first draft of the first book when I was sixteen, and at that point I was just writing away, trying to finish something – I was pretty guileless, never having written anything longer than about a thousand words, so I didn’t really know what I was doing! I was just attempting to tell a story. In terms of other media, inspirations would include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Donnie Darko and the work of Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman.
Can you tell us a little bit about Stanly’s Ghost, the third book in the trilogy?
Hard to say anything specific while still avoiding spoilers – let’s just say that the shit continues to hit the fan for Stanly. But while flying towards the fan, the shit is also becoming exponentially weirder and more stressful. And he’s not necessarily getting better at dealing with it.
Can you tell us about Stanly’s best friend Daryl?
Daryl is a talking beagle with a sharp tongue and a love for films (his favourite is Casablanca – he always cries at the end, like any self-respecting living creature with a heart). He is incredibly loyal and very quick-witted, and you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him because he punches (and bites) well above his weight.
Have you used any of your own experiences to tell Stanly’s story?
A lot of it is based on my struggles with my own superpowers, mastering their infinite complexity, fitting in with non-superpowered types, trying to set up a superhero business in a flat-lining economy. And Stanly’s early days in Wales are very much based on my childhood and teenage years – his town is basically the town where I grew up, just with the names changed! I also spent a lot of my teenage years up in my room watching films, or sitting at the back of the school bus hating everyone around me. You know, fun teen stuff.
In five words – what should people expect if they picked up this trilogy?
Humour… action… darkness… talking beagle.
Who is the best superhero ever?
I think it has to be Superman. Apart from having the best skillset, his attitude to superheroism is the best. No angst, no moral greyness. Just a decent guy trying to do good.
You have won the Dylan Thomas Prize for new writers, and been made a Times Children’s Book of the Week and a Guardian Top Teen Read of 2015 since releasing this trilogy – was this something you ever expected to happen?
Absolutely not! It’s still kind of mind-blowing that people enjoy reading the books, let alone feel compelled to give them awards and titles and stuff like that. It’s an amazing feeling. Totally bizarre.
We would love to know a little bit more about you! Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Stefan Mohamed?
I really like carrots, like a lot.
I once played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, except it came after writing about Stanly playing Romeo in Bitter Sixteen.
I can’t iron, I just can’t get my head around it, it’s very frustrating.
Colin Murray off the radio once told me to f**k off.
And when I was at sixth form – which was part of my secondary school – I ran for Head Boy using ‘Vote For Stefan If You Like Cats’ as my campaign slogan. That was basically the whole campaign, that slogan, and I didn’t win, but I was made Deputy Head Boy, which was actually better because it came with a small amount of power and zero responsibility.
Any sci-fi / superhero book (or TV/film) recs that you would highly recommend?
My favourite recent SF books were All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders – wonderful, inventive, lyrical story about a friendship between a witch and a scientist, and the wackiness that ensues – and The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – brilliant low-key sort of blue-collar space opera with definite Firefly vibes.
Film-wise, this year has been pretty good so far – Logan was fantastic and I really liked Kong Skull Island, good smashy monster fun.
TV-wise, Legion for superheroes and Westworld for SF.
Is this last we have seen from Stanly Bird?
For the moment, yes. I could happily write more about him but I think I need to leave him alone for a bit, try my hand at some characters who aren’t adolescent superheroes. However, I’m hoping that a few shorter spin-off stories set in his world will appear at some point in the not too distant future.
What are you working on next? Any exciting new projects you can tell us about?
I have a couple of other novel projects on the go, a standalone piece that’s more adult orientated, and the beginning of another YA series. No solid news on either, but I’m cautiously optimistic (I think – depends on what day it is!).
Thanks so much for joining us today and answering all my questions Stefan!
You can buy a copy of this fab trilogy here or from your local book shop!
About Stefan Mohamed
Stefan Mohamed is an author, performing poet and sometime journalist. He graduated from Kingston University in 2010 with a first class degree in creative writing and film studies, and later that year won the inaugural Sony Reader Award, a category of the Dylan Thomas Prize, for his novel Bitter Sixteen. Bitter Sixteen is out now from Salt Publishing. Stefan is also the author of a novella, STUFF, part of Salt’s Modern Dreams series. He lives in Bristol.
You can find out more about Stefan on his website – www.stefmo.co.uk
Or why not follow him on twitter – @stefmowords
You can catch up of follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!
A huge thank you to Stefan for answering all of my questions! And to Salt Publishing for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!
Have you read any of the Bitter Sixteen Trilogy? What did you think? Are you intrigued to go and grab copies? Who are your favourite superheros? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!