Today, I am welcoming Chris Vick to Chouett.com . Chris is the author of “Kook”, where love, surfing and the complexities that comes with teen love are explored. His recently released debut is already making waves in the UKYA world.
I would like to thank Chris who has “kindly :)” been subjected to the usual Chouett interrogation and I am grateful that we are getting to know him a little more today.
1) Hello Chris and congratulations on publishing “Kook”. Would you share with us what it is like to see your work on bookseller shelves for the first time? How do you feel?
No-one likes a gusher, but…’dream come true,’ doesn’t even come close. I cannot lie. It’s fantastic. It’s not even seeing the book really, it’s getting reactions from young people, who have read the book and lived through the story that was once, only in my head. There is something surreal and wonderful about that. Magic even.
2) Could you tell us a little bit about “Kook” in a few sentences?
Sure. 15 Yr old Sam moves to Cornwall. He meets beautiful – but damaged – surfer girl, Jade. She’s trouble, but trouble is fun, even addictive. Soon he’s in love with Jade and with surfing.. and Jade is leading him into ever more dangerous situations. It’s a story about love, obsession and finding your limits.
3) How old were you when you met your first wave? And can you share with us one of your best surfing moments?
I was about ten when I belly boarded at Saunton. But I got into body-surfing in India in my late teens. I did it every day, for hours! That led to boogy boarding in the UK, then shortboards, and finally long boarding.
Best surfing moment? Maybe Banana point in Morocco, two years ago. It was really big, but with totally clean conditions, and really manageable. Just insane long, double overhead rights. I lost count.
But there was also a session in Hossegor, France, when it was so big the waves up the beach at le Nord were cracking louder than thunder. The whole beach shook. I surfed 2-3 hours and got maybe 2 waves. But they were maybe the best I ever had.
4) If you had to choose between writing, surfing and football, which one would you pick and why?
You got me there. You can discount footy, much as I love a kick around. It’s a toss up between surf and writing. Nothing beats a great surf sesh with your mates. It’ll keep you grinning like an idiot for days. But then writing – when it’s flowing – is pretty cool too. I can’t decide. It’s too hard!
5) What made you want to explore love in the world of teens, its intensity, its risks and contrast it to the world of surfing? Did you know that it would be a good fit?
Love and danger really appeal to me as subjects for reading and writing. Later teens take risk with both those things and that part of your life is an incredibly intense, fast burning, fierce time. Worth writing about.
As for the fit of surfing and love. It may appear unusual, but I think there’s a lot of crossover: finding your way in an ever changing world/ocean, getting out of your depth, finding
out how unpredictable things and people and life are, knowing when to trust people, finding your limits. As anyone who has read the book knows, the surf/danger and the love aspect kind of fuse together. Weird, but true.
6) Is it fair to say that surfing and the oceanic world is an extension of who you are? How does this world fit in your day to day life and with your family?
Yes. It’s part of who I am. That’s the same for any surfer. Even without surf, water’s in my blood. I come from a line of Norwegian seafarers and boat builders. I work part time for Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and I spend a lot of weekends and hols on and in the water. In terms of day to day life. Well, with work I see a fair bit of the sea! I’m lucky to have seen whales and dolphins all over the world.
My family love the beach as much as I do, plus I have a couple of good surfing mates in our village, and get away with an outrageous number of day trips and annual pilgrimages to foreign surf spots. They drive, I write in the van.
7) What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. I kind of forgot that dream over the years. But it never went away. It kept coming back. And finally it insisted that I really, really had a go at it.
8) Could you tell us “10 things” we don’t know about Chris Vick?
1) When not writing I work part time to protect whales and dolphins
2) But…some of my family were whalers!
3) I’m a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Writing for Young People
4) I once came very close to drowning
5) I hate cucumber and beetroot. They are the devil’s foods.
6) I am an atheist, but also superstitious…how does that work?
7) I have a real fear of heights (oh, and spiders)
8) My dream is to sail round the world
9) Apart from surfing and writing, I love cooking. And eating.
10) Kook is set in Cornwall, but I don’t actually live there…yet.
9) Now that you are able to share “Kook” with us readers, what’s next for you?
I’m already deep into my next book, Storms. It’s got some surfing, a love story, a whole lot of tempest and hurricane action and a very dramatic whale rescue. It’s set in the same place as Kook and even has some of the same characters.
10) What is a perfect day for you?
Dawn surf. Strong coffee and croissants. More surfing. Write a bit. Lunch with family and friends, on the beach. Write a bit more. Take my daughter surfing. Drink too many beers. Read a few pages of a great book. Sleep. Repeat. (Maybe slip in an episode of Game of Thrones).
Thank you Chris
Please also visit Kirsty at “The Overflowing Library” where Chris is giving us a little insight in the choice of the setting for “Kook”