Competition Questions and Answers

Q. Tom, Alice and Grimalkin are they inspired by real people or are they totally invented ?
Alice and Grimalkin are really just inventions from my imagination. Having said that, when I was a young teenager I knew a girl who was very pretty but had an exceptionally broad accent. Maybe that’s where the ‘ain’t’ in Alice’s speech comes from!

Q. At what stage did you decide in the end Alice should be where she ended up being? I mean we have read how Alice was a challenge for Tom at the beginning. Shortly after, a friend and also a romantic interest. On the other hand, we have witnessed Alice growing as a person, deciding her own fate by not pursuing her parents’ ways. However, it was a twist for me how she ended being on the other side with respect to Tom and what he stands for. That is why I am asking if this was your plan from the beginning.
No it certainly was not my plan. I discover my plots and characters as I write and I had no idea that Alice would end up with Lukrasta at one stage. But, of course, that is not the end and the story of Tom and Alice continues through the ‘Starblade Chronicles’ and now ‘Brother Wulf.’

Q. Will Slither appear in any future books?
At the moment I think that is unlikely but he is an interesting character that I enjoyed writing about and if the opportunity arises I will certainly include him in a future book.

Q. If Tom was able to bring only one person back to life to show them all that he has done and receive further guidance from between his Mother, Father and Master, who would it be?
That is an almost impossible question to answer! Imagine how Tom would feel faced with that! But because of his lamia self (which John Gregory knows nothing about) I think he would choose his mother!

Q. I’ve seen your last post from instagram and I couldn’t help myself from asking. I’ve read somewhere, but I can’t remember well, that the Wardstone Chronicles were inspired by your native village and the legends related to it. Is that true?
Yes, my inspiration came from my village which is called Stalmine. That village once had a boggart which was dealt with by the local priest. That incident from a folk tale was written up in my notebook and eighteen years later it became the first inspiration for ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’.

Q. The question I wanted to ask concerns about the Wardstone chronicles and how they lead into the Starblade trilogy. Why did you decide to give the Spook’s Revenge the ending you did? After reading the starblade books it all made sense but I was not expecting the wardstone series to end like that and it frustrated me a little. With Tom hating Alice and Tom’s master to die mid-battle without a proper way to go. I always expected his master to die in this glorious moment but we did not get to see it. I apologize if this offends you in any way but I’m a student filmmaker and one of my passion projects are to adapt the Spooks books into a series for Netflix or HBO and so I want to understand all I can about it.
I hope that one day you get your chance to adapt the Spooks books into a TV series. At the moment the film people still own the rights to the book but soon, hopefully, that will change! I suppose I was trying to be realistic about the Spook’s death and avoiding a moment of glory. But taking his life as a whole, he had many moments of glory but being the man he was would not have dwelt on them or even considered them glorious. He served the County and saving people from the dark was what he really cared about.
As for Alice and Tom, their story continues – in the new Spook’s book, ‘Brother Wulf’’, they have moved on from those dark days and are together. But of course, there are new threats to their happiness!

Q. What is your inspiration for your colorful characters and are they based on past experiences or people that you’ve met?
Most of the characters come straight out of my imagination but a few aspects of Mam are drawn from my own mother. For example, Tom does not want to become a spook’s apprentice but she tells him it is a duty and forces him into the role. I was an apprentice also and I hated the job. My own mother made me go to work. I wasn’t even allowed a day off when I was ill!

Q. What was the inspiration behind the character of Grimalkin? I always found her to be a very interesting character.
Grimalkin came out f my imagination quite suddenly. I was asked to write a collection of short stories to be called ‘Witches’ and I thought it would be a good idea to feature the witch assassin of the Malkin Clan. Then a short sentence popped into my head ‘ ‘I am Grimalkin’. Then she told me all about herself and how she became an assassin. Eventually that short story was extended into the ninth book in the Spook’s Series.

Q. If you were in Tom’s shoes, a 12-year-old boy presented with the opportunity to become the Spook’s apprentice, would you take it? And why?
I certainly would not take it because the role of a Spook’s apprentice is far too scary and dangerous! About one third of John Gregory’s apprentices died violent deaths whilst learning their trade. Others ran away. Had I started as a spook’s apprentice I would soon have run for my life – probably just moments after John Gregory left me in the haunted house!

 Q. Hello! My question is – Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few (or selected) people will find? Thank you!
No but I wish I had. Then we could have run a competition about that!

Q. What made you keep writing after being turned down over 90 times as you mentioned on your website? Also are you currently working on a book involving Tom or Alice ?
I like writing and I am an optimist so I kept at it. I am working on ‘Brother Wulf Two’ at the moment. Wulf is the narrator but both Tom and Alice play big parts in the book.

Q. When did you began to think about the Wardstone Chronicles ? And are u characters inspired by real people like friends or family of you ?I first began to think about the Wardstone Chronicles about the year 2001 and it developed slowly from then. The character of Mam was based lightly on my own mother but the others are totally made up.

 Q. Would you still consider grimalkin one of your favourite own characters?
Yes, Grimalkin is still one of my favourite characters and she plays a large part in ‘Brother Beowulf Book Two’ which I am working on at the moment. She is strong, ruthless when necessary and is totally independent.

 Q.  At what age did you start writing / what motivated you to go into a career as a novelist?
I first wrote when I was about nineteen or twenty but only short stories – Westerns! Then I went to university and became a teacher. I liked reading and so I wanted to write the kinds of books that I enjoyed reading – SF, Horror Ghost Stories and Fantasy.

Q. How did you find your literary agent for the first Last Apprentice book? Was it based on connections you had made before, or did you send the manuscript out to various potentials once it was completed?
I looked in the Writers and Artists Book which is published every year and has a list of all the agents working in the UK. I chose a couple but only one wrote back – that was Carolyn Whitaker of London Independent Books. Eventually, after lots of rejections (over 96 of other books I had written) she got the Spook’s Apprentice published.

Q. Where does the spook’s world come from ? Did you thought about it when you were a kid ? How did you invented the characters
I think the Spook’s world comes from the environment and folk tales of Lancashire, the county where I was born. I became interested in stories about boggarts, ghost, witches and ley lines. These are the ingredients of the stories. The characters come out of my imagination and, as they talk to each other, a clear definition of who they are and what they believe begins to form inside my head.

Q. I like to listen to books at work, is there plans for Brother Wulf to be an audiobook too? I own the whole Wardstone and Starblade Chronicles on Audible and would love to have Brother Wulf there too.
Yes I think Brother Wulf will become an audiobook. So, you will be able to add it to your collection.

Q. Has writing ever helped you at a difficult moment in your life?
Yes, the most difficult moment in my life was when my wife died in 2007. Concentrating on writing the next Spook’s book helped get me through that.

Q. How many books will the Brother Wulf series have?
I am writing the second Wulf Book now. I hope here will be three books at least. That is my plan but the final decision will be made by my publisher.

Q. Every author usually writes about certain things that they know, who’s the character from your books that you most identify with and why would you pick them?
I identify with both Tom Ward and John Gregory. I remember being a teenager like Tom and I am now about the Spook’s age!

Q. Where did the inspiration for the Spooks series come from? Where did you get such an amazing idea??
The Spook’s world comes from the environment and folk tales of Lancashire, the county where I was born with its tales of boggarts, ghost and witches. It also comes from dreams and nightmares!

Q. Would really love the wardstone chronicles adapted into a tv series similar to ‘witcher’ on Netflix one day. Do you think that is a possibility in the future? Would be amazing.
Several people have been interested in doing just that but, unfortunately, the film people still own the rights. Hopefully that will change soon. I enjoyed watching the Witcher series on TV. A series gives time to develop characters and narrative much better than a single film.

Q. Hello! 😁 If you were a seventh son of a seventh son and could choose any spook to be your master, who would you pick?
I would pick John Gregory because although tough and someone who will not suffer fools gladly, he is basically kind and also has an extensive knowledge of the dark and how to defeat it. He was the greatest of the County Spooks. I would like to be taught by the best!

Q.  Something that got stuck in my mind and it is still stuck is Tom’s father’s attitudes, mainly when he says that sarcasm is a weapon of weak men. Where did you get that from? Childhood? I always wanted to know.
I honestly cannot remember! It could have been something that I read and forgot about or a thought that just popped into my head!

Q.  Dear Mr Delaney, I would like to ask you whether you knew from the first moment that Tom saw Alice that she was the Fiend’s daughter?Definitely not! I had no idea what she was when I first brought Alice into ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’! Only as time went by did I gradually discover the identity of her true father!

Q.  Do you think bring back a seventh daughter like Jenny so we can learn more about spook girl’s abilities?
There is a possibility that could happen. There was a lot to discover about Jenny’s background and, had she lived, some of those mysteries would have eventually been explained. So it is something to consider.

Q. What is your favourite book that you would recommend to read? not just of the spooks books but your favourite book from other authors
I like the ’Lord of the Rings’ books and also the ‘Dune’ series by Frank Herbert.

Q. How did you develop the character of John Gregory and how long did it take you to full flesh out the character before writing the Spooks’s Apprentice?
I was probably working on ‘The Spooks Apprentice’ for almost two years before the final version was published. So John Gregory evolved slowly. I got to know him through dialogue – the way he spoke revealed the way he thought about things and his beliefs.

Q. Hello My question : why Tom is so attached to Alice? And why is John Gregory is so wary of Alice?
Tom is attracted to Alice because she is physically attractive with a pretty face but also a very direct way of speaking. Nobody can push Alice around! He also has little experience of girls having been one of seven brothers and confined to the farm. She was bound to turn his head!
John Gregory is wary of Alice because she has been trained as a witch and comes from a family of Pendle witches. She is his natural enemy.

Q. Why is there no scary apprentice girl ?
Sorry i don’t speak English well
There was a girl apprentice called Jenny and she appeared in the trilogy, ‘The Starblade Chronicles’. But she is not scary! I might use a scary girl apprentice in a future book.

Q.  Hello! If Tom in some situation should trust either his mother or Alice which one he will trust and why?
The answer to that depends upon which stage of his life Tom has reached. In the early days of his apprenticeship he would certainly have trusted his mother before Alice. Then as they became closer, after the adventure in Greece, it could be Alice. But then Alice seems to betray him and then it would be his mother again! So it depends at what point in his life we ask the question about trust.

Q. Are all the creatures inspired from/related to already excisting myths or did you come up with some all by yourself as well?
Some of the creatures are from existing myths but I invented (as far as I can be sure) the skelt, the abhuman and the lamia witch (but not the lamia – they are something different). I also invented the water witch but not Greenteeth which was something similar to my water witches.

Q. Are you generally happy with the Movie „Seventh Son“? i was surprised how Many things were wrong with it and that The Movie did not Stick to the Great Books! Did you ever think about a (Netflix) series, just like the Witcher? These Books definitely deserve the same attention as Harry Potter and a series might result in that
I think the film is fun and worth watching once, but I am not happy with it. A Netflix series with time to develop characters and have full dialogue would be much better. I have no control over what happens and the rights still belong to the film people but I do hope that will change.

Q. I would really like to ask…
Could anything happen such that Alice do not belong to the dark anymore? Like she serves Pan so maybe Pan can convert her into the light? I know this all sound crazy, but I’d really wish that Tom and Alice can be together when they die 😢. Would this be possible or have u made up tour mind this would never happen?
Also, I would like to ask how’s the Covid situation in your country?
There is always hope for Alice and yes, one day she could become free from the dark. Have you read ‘Brother Wulf’ where we meet Tom and Alice again?
Covid has been bad in the UK but now things are gradually improving.

Q.  I always wanted to know what was the first inspiration that push you to write the Spooks’ books ? It is something you read (myths around Lancashire) or you saw around you
The inspiration was moving into a village which had a boggart! It was bound by a priest under a cottage that once belonged to Stalmine church.  And I was already aware of Lancashire myths and they also were a strong influence and an inspiration for the series.

Q. Hello!
I would have liked to know why Grimalkin had not seen by scrutiny that his child was going to die?
Scrying is not certain and the future cannot always be forecast. It is also difficult to predict what happens to the person scrying and to those (such as Grimalkin’s child) who are close. In other words it is difficult to foretell your own future.

Q.  what inspired you to create such a complex character (as Grimalkin ) and will there be any other books focused on her like “I am Grimalkin”? I love your book series, not only the Spooks books, but also Arena 13 and Aberrations, I can’t wait to read more of your books in the future
I am glad you have enjoyed the other series too! She came into my head very slowly but then became a strong character and one of my favourites.  Grimalkin plays a big part in ‘Brother Wulf Book Two’ which will be published in the UK next May. The first in the series is out already but the witch assassin only plays a small part in that first book.

Q. My question is where did the inspiration for this series come from?
My inspiration came partly from my imagination and partly from Lancashire where I was born (the landscape, history and folktales).

Q. When you introduced Grimalkin in book 4 did you intend for her to be as important to the series as she became? Did fan feedback play a part in her evolving presence in the books?
I don’t think fan feedback played a part at all. It was a long time before I discovered that she was such a popular character! When I introduced her (originally in a short story) I had no idea how important to the series she would become. Grimalkin took on a life of her own! It was interesting to write from the perspective of a character which should really be an enemy to all spooks and a servant of the dark.

Q.  I’ll keep the vague…can we expect another book in 1 year and a day? My son and I read all of your books together. We enjoy discussing hypothetical battle matchups of various characters within the all your books. Could there be potential crossover between series?
The greatest possibility of a crossover would be between the Spooks Series and ‘Aberrations’ because both are set in Lancashire. But they are different worlds and Tom and Crafty are never really likely to meet. There is another Spook’s book out now, ‘Brother Wulf’ and the next one will be published in May 2021. I am writing it now! But Crafty will not be in either.

Q.  what is Jenny’s true name and what is the extent of her powers? I was gutted when she died and loved her character so much!
We never got the chance to find out the extent of Jenny’s powers. Partial invisibility was just the start. As for her true name …? We never found that out either (and I am the author!). Maybe she has a secret sister and one day Tom may find out more about Jenny. It would be good for Tom to find another female apprentice.

Q. Hi ! can you explain why Alice break Tom’s heart ?(excuse me if I made a mistake I’m french )
She was forced to be with the mage Lukrasta. She had no choice but to leave Tom for a while. It was because she owed a debt to the Old God Pan (who freed her from the dark) and he insisted that Alice work with Lukrasta and combine their magic.

Q.  What main character do you associate with?(spooks world)
I think that I associate with both Tom Ward and John Gregory. Both of them came out of my imagination and are a part of me.

Q. Who is you favorite supporting character from the ward stone chronicles?
My favourite supporting character was Bill Arkwright! I made a big mistake in killing him off in book Six!

Q.  Hello, i have read all the spooks adventures, and I’m always eager to read more… A lot of creatures from your stories are inspired by mythological creatures …can you give us a clue on the next creature or enemy you will create
In my latest book ‘Brother Wulf’ the enemy is Circe, one of the Old Gods from Greece. The next enemy is slowly taking place in my imagination but I can say no more at this stage as I do not see that entity clearly yet.

Q. Will we ever get to meet toms other brothers?
That is very unlikely unless they feature in ‘Brother Wulf Three’ which I have yet to start writing.

Q. Hello, Mr. Delaney! Think back to your twelve or thirteen year old self, and imagine if he was given the chance to become the Spook’s apprentice. Do you think he would accept it? Why or why not
I would have refused immediately. I had enough bad nightmares as a kid and thought of being tested in that haunted cellar would start me running for my life! I am not brave enough to become a Spook’s apprentice!

Q.  Hello! I was wondering where did you find the inspiration when you wrote aberrations ? In a special place or else ?
There was no special place in the real world. I wanted to write what I call a ‘Zone Story’. There are lots of fictions in that genre written already where something strange occurs in a strange part of the earth and you enter that place at your peril! So this is my book about a weird place!

Q.  how do you feel when writing books
I enjoy writing books as much if not more than reading. You are transported to a place that you have created and, if the writing is going well, time passes very quickly. You think an hour has passed and it is a whole morning!

Q. Hello, I am your fan from Russia. They love you very much in Russia! I would like to ask you this question… Would you like to visit Russia, meet with Russian fans, sign autographs?
Yes, if I got the chance I would like to go to Russia and meet readers there and sign books. Maybe one day it will happen. My Russian publisher needs to invite me!

Q. Will there be a series running from Brother Wulf? I would love to see if continued!!! Also thank you for everything you do and the joy you bring with your books?
There will be at least two ‘Brother Wulf’ books (I have already written the second one). I hope there will be three! Thanks for your kind comments.

Q. Hello, I wanted to ask, after everything that has happened, do you still like Alice?
Yes, Alice is one of my favourite characters. Have you read ‘Brother Wulf’(just published)?  Tom and Alice are both in that book and she gives lots of reasons to like her.

Q. Hello. When a lamia witch transforms into home form, can she remembers her former life into home form?
Yes, she can remember but might be puzzled as to why she did certain things. The domestic lamia might find it hard to understand why she felt hungry enough to kill human prey!

Q. What is the last things bill arkwright say’s to Tom ?
He says that he is a thing without a soul but, of course, that is a tulpa not the real Bill Arkwright. But until that moment he believed that he was Bill, the spook. I honestly cannot remember his final words in ‘The Spook’s Sacrifice’ as I haven’t got a copy to hand. He stayed behind so that the others might survive!

Q. Do you like Molly’s restaurant in lancaster !!
Never been to Molly’s restaurant in Lancaster . But I will try it once it opens again!

Q. What books or stories inspired you to write Wardstone Chronicles? -I love your books!
I was inspired by dreams, the place where I live, folk tales and the fact that I ended up living in a village with a boggart!

Q. I am a bit nervous to send u this question
I saw your post on Instagram and i wish i will win the Tee-shirt !
Why did you killed the spook (epouvanteur)
It broke my heart when he died…
I grow up with all of your books
Thx for all the moment u made me live with it !
The Spook had to die sometime and Tom was always going to be his last apprentice. I thought it fitting that he died taking part in a big battle which ended up with the destruction of the Fiend. He would have been happy to die having been part of that success!

Q. Hi. I loved all your books. But could you please tell me what inspired you about your books. And will you be writing about a different topic in them for future books !
 At the moment I an writing another Spooks story. I prefer writing fantasy but maybe, one day, I will try writing a detective story. I once began a book in that genre but did not finish it,

Q. Good morning Mister Delaney, my name is Sam. My question is : Tom and Grimalkin are they inspired by real people you know or are they totally invented ? (And I love your books)
Tom is probably a little like me in some ways (but he is a lot braver!). Grimalkin came out of my imagination. At the moment I have no plans to take anybody’s thumb bones!

Q. Hello dear Joseph ! I would like to know, which place inspired you the best for writing all your novel ? Personally my imagination work better when I can see the forest through my window
I think, Lancashire, the county in England where I live, inspired my novels. It has lots of different types of environment from hills to woods to salt marsh and it rains a lot – just like in the Spook’s stories! The stone graves at Heysham are one of my favourite locations and so is the village of Chipping on which Chippenden was based.

Q. Hi Mr Delaney! My question is what did you think of the seventh son movie? Did you like that it wasn’t exactly the spooks apprentice or would you have preferred it to have been closer to the original story? I personally would’ve loved it if we got a series of movies based off of the books as they’re my favourite series! Thank you
I wish the Seventh Son movie had been a lot closer to the book! I find it disappointing because changes were made when there was no need and paragraphs of important dialogue dialogue were reduced to one single line! I would prefer the books to be made into a TV series!

Q. If you could bring 1 character of the Wardstone Chronicles to life, who would it be and why?
I would probably be Grimalkin because she is without fear, strong and determined to win! She could then be my body guard and people I don’t like would cross the road when we approached!

Q. If you had a chance to remake the movie, and make it into a series based more closely on the books, would you do it?
Yes, I would make the first three books into a ten-part series for Netflix or the BBC. ‘The Spook’s Battle’ would probably be the source for a second series.

Q.  Will slither reappear in any of the future books?
There is always a chance but, at the moment, I have no plan to do so.

Q. Which is the most beloved of your books?
My favourite book is ‘The Spook’s Battle’ because it is full of action and new characters that I like. It also began the story arc that carried the series forward to the thirteenth book – ‘The Spook’s Revenge’

Q. Is it hard for you to write? From an emotional point of view, I meanBecause your books are the only ones that actually made me cry, and I wonder what the process of writing them feels likeI’m an unpublished author, I’ve written a psychological novel a few months ago (and many short stories), and whenever I need to write sth about pain (emotional or physical) I get emotionally involved too much, if you know what I mean. And sometimes writing becomes torture. What is it like for you?
I wish you good luck with your writing. I must confess that I do not get that much emotionally involved with my writing. I temporarily see and feel what each character experiences but it is very much under control and afterwards I forget about it and get on with my life. I think that the writing experience is different for all of us.

Q. Hi Joseph, I love all your books and I have read them all. However I’m particularly pleased that you have returned to the Spooks world. I also have a passion for the classics and enjoy your use of the old gods. What made you choose to use Circe as the antagonist in this book. I can’t wait to read the next one, I hope Grimalkin will be in the next one too.
Circe features in my story called ‘The Seventh Apprentice’ which is only available as an e-book. In it a young Spook Johnson confronts Circe (he is apprenticed to John Gregory). So, I decided that in Brother Wulf he must face that goddess again! I like her power over men and the way she turns people into pigs!  Grimalkin plays a larger part in Wulf Two and she is part of the main action.

Q. What was your inspiration while writing the Wardstone Chronicles? How did the idea of the Spook and his world came up in your mind?
It came out of a folk tale based on a village I once lived in. It featured a boggart that haunted the local church. I realised that what was needed was someone who could deal with boggarts. So that became the basis of the series.

Q.  I really liked Brother Wulf it was a fun read and I can’t wait until we get the next book. My question is do you think there is a chance that we might get a tv show based off of The Last Apprentice books? That would be amazing.
We are trying to get a TV series based upon ‘The Last Apprentice’ series. At least one producer has declared an interest but, unfortunately, the rights still belong to the film people. Hopefully that may change.

Q. Hello Joseph Delaney how many tomes in the Aberrations saga ?? Thank you for bringing us into the world of Tom I loved
So far there are only two books in the Aberrations Series, I started to write a third but my publisher preferred another Spook’s book – ‘Brother Wulf’. Hopefully one day I will get the chance to complete and publish that book. Thanks for reading my books!

 

2 comments on “Competition Questions and Answers

  1. Hi Mr. Delaney,
    I adore your books series , and I also read your biography!
    So, as far as I know, Alice is precisely the fiend’s daughter, does that means that she may have a sister?
    Also another question that made me confused was that I didn’t understand at all about Alice parents, if BonnieLizzie was her true mother why she was raised by a human family and why Bonnielizzie came for her?

    • Alice has lots of half sisters. She is not the first witch that the Fiend has fathered. Alice was raised by her kind aunt because Lizzie couldn’t be bothered being a proper mother to her. Only when Alice was old enough to be trained and help Lizzie did her evil mother come to claim her.

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