I'm the final stop on the awesome #MurderOnTheBeach tour! We have the lovely James Dawson here today, talking all about his inspirations for the brilliant Cruel Summer! Enjoy! :D
I’ve always been very upfront about what inspires me as a writer. In particular, the things that I was really into during my formative teenage years seem to have had a lasting effect. Here are the things which were particularly influential when it came to writing CRUEL SUMMER:
1. Christopher Pike: What people might not realise is how bonkers Pike’s teen horror novels were, or how risqué. If people say that teen fiction is getting more salacious, point them in the direction of Gimme A Kiss, in which herpes is a key plot point. Or how about Die Softly in which the head cheerleader is also on crack. No, really. The one which came to mind when writing Cruel Summer was Weekend, in which a group of friends travel to Mexico for a long weekend. It’s not long before we delve into their secrets. Like Cruel Summer, Weekend is set in three time zones, but that’s pretty much where the similarity ends.
2. I Know What You Did Last Summer: I love this film (and the book), and feel it’s much more than Scream’s poorer cousin. Both Cruel Summer and IKWYDLS feature a key anniversary, the dumping of dead bodies and killer twists.
3. Agatha Christie: Especially the ‘shut door’ mysteries such as And Then There Were None and The Mousetrap. The idea of gathering a group of suspects in a remote location is as old as the hills, but Christie does them so well…so well in fact that she inspired both Cruel Summer and Ten by Gretchen McNeill which, is a straight retelling from what I can tell.
4. The Cabin In The Woods: I’d actually finished Cruel Summer when I first saw this, but I was struck by how Joss Whedon was similarly interested in the stereotypes we often find in teen thrillers. Cabin goes even further than Scream in analysing the conventions of the genre.
5. Carrie: The prom climax is legend, and Cruel Summer features its own dramatic prom moment.
6. Electra Heart: Electra is a persona created by Marina and the Diamonds – an album I was listening to constantly while writing the book. She informed how Ryan has also created an alter-ego for himself.
7. Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis: A satire on celebrity culture, Victor, the main character occupies a similar self-involved fantasy as Ryan in Cruel Summer. Both are somewhat morally bankrupt too, although Ryan in a more appealing way, I hope!
Yay, thank you so much James! This was a brilliant post - and it's nice to be thinking of summer when the weather is so miserable - even if said summer is cruel and, evidently, rather horror-filled! ;)
And keep up to date with MonthOfGuests on Twitter using #MonthOfGuests2013! And stop by tomorrow for a brilliant post by the amazing Katie Dale!!
James Dawson is the award-nominated author of dark teen thrillers HOLLOW PIKE and CRUEL SUMMER (Indigo – Aug 2013). He grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. He later turned his talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper.Until recently, James worked as a teacher, specialising in PSHCE and behaviour. He is most proud of his work surrounding bullying and family diversity. This autumn, his first non-fiction book, BEING A BOY (Red Lemon) will tackle puberty, sex and relationships in a frank and funny fashion.James writes full time and lives in South London. In his spare time, he STILL loves Doctor Who and is a keen follower of horror films and connoisseur of pop music.