Is it wrong that I already know what my favourite book of 2011 is likely to be? I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have received an early proof copy of Department 19 by Will Hill; it is brilliant, and any other book released this year will have to be pretty damn special if it is going to take this top spot at the end of the year. There was a huge amount of buzz about this book when the proofs were first released, thanks to Amanda at Floor To Ceiling Books and Liz at My Favourite Books, both of whom were attended an extra special industry event for the book at the Cabinet War Rooms. I then received a significant number of emails from readers of The Book Zone, asking me for more information about it so in the end I did a quick teaser post. Now the release date of 31 March is fast approaching and so here is Will Hill telling us about Department 19:
It's not easy being a teenage boy. It's much, much harder if the following things are true:
- Your dad died in front of you.
- You're being bullied.
- You have no friends.
- You and your mum are drifting apart.
- You get attacked by a beautiful vampire girl while the second oldest vampire in the world takes your mother hostage and drives you into the arms of the most highly classified department of the British government, where you find out that pretty much everything you thought you knew, about your life and everything else, was a lie.
Welcome to Jamie Carpenter's world.
Jamie is the hero of my first novel, Department 19, publishing in March, a hundred-mile-an-hour supernatural thriller, full of old-school vampires who would rather tear your throat out than kiss your face off, and who can't go in the sun because they will burst into flames. There's no sparkling here - just an action-packed race against time, from Victorian London to 1920s New York, from the Russian wilderness to the tiny island of Lindisfarne, where the most evil creature on the planet lies in wait...
I wrote the book for a really simple reason - I'm pretty sure my teenage self would have loved it. There weren't really books like this when I was young - I went straight from reading Roald Dahl to reading Stephen King and Clive Barker.
Department 19 is my attempt to bridge that gap.