Compton Valance: Origin Story
I LOVE doing school events and readings at bookshops. I love chatting about Compton Valance and time travel, I love reading bits from Compton Valance and I especially love talking to readers and answering their amazing questions.
One question that I am asked a lot is how did I come up with Compton Valance and the story of the time machine sandwich. Well, funnily enough, there’s a story attached to that…
If you’ve ever read a superhero comic or seen a superhero film you’ll know that every superhero has an origin story. An origin story tells you how a superhero came to have their superpowers. Like how the radioactive spider that bites Peter Parker and turns him into Spiderman. Or how the radiation that changes Carol Danvers into Ms. Marvel. Or how the baby Kal-El leaves the dying planet Krypton and heads for Earth where his dense molecular structure gives him super powers. Well, Compton Valance is no different as he has an origin story too, only his origin story is also my origin story…
When I was a kid I saw a whole load of crazy movies. I loved the really, really, really old comedy stars of Hollywood like Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd. I remember one scene in one old, black and white movie that was the biggest CUSTARD pie fight I had ever seen. Another film that I remember seeing over and over when I was younger was Back To The Future. It’s about a school kid who TRAVELS BACK IN TIME in a car. And every Saturday night I would sit down and watch Doctor Who. I’d usually watch his TIME TRAVEL adventures from the safety of my sitting room sofa with my hands over my eyes!
When I was about eight we lived next door to a civil servant called Bob. I had no idea what he did until someone explained to me that a civil servant is someone who carries out work for a Government. Bob used to wear a BOWLER HAT.
I pretty much like to eat anything and everything. Now I’m grown up I love trying new and weird foods. However, the one thing that I tried a few years ago and I found utterly revolting was a PICKLED EGG. It nearly made me sick!
The idea for a time travelling kid came to me one afternoon as I contemplating whether or not to have a custard cream with my cup of tea or a hobnob. The CUSTARD CREAM won out.
I was on holiday when I wrote Compton Valance: The Most Powerful Boy In The Universe. We were staying in a house that was full of CLOCKS. There were clocks in the bedrooms, in the bathroom, in the hall, in the kitchen, in the sitting room, in the downstairs loo and even in the attic. Everywhere!
When I was writing The Most Powerful Boy In The Universe my own sons were pretty small. One thing I thought, and think, about a lot is how I can be the best dad possible to my boys. The notion that they might want to CHANGE THEIR DAD for a better version has occurred to me.
Sandwiches are my favourite food. Not just any sandwiches though but really, really, really, really good ones. When I was in school I used to make myself a SANDWICH every afternoon when I came home. My after-school sandwich went like this; bread, mustard, ham, mayo, cheese, ketchup, pepper, bread, mustard, ham, mayo, cheese, ketchup, pepper, bread. It was known as a double decker and it rocked. Now I’m older I have many favourites like a fried ham and cheese sarnie, or a peanut butter and jam one, or a Marmite and cream cheese special. You could say that I’ve been a bit preoccupied by things in bread my whole life.
Hang on a minute.
Go back and look at the words in BOLD and you’ll see that I have used a lot of things that I love (and hate) to create Compton Valance, Bryan Nylon and the world of Little Hadron. Have a read yourself and see if you can spot my life in the book! 😉