Short Synopsis of The Riotous Rocket Ship Robbery
Fantasy fiction for 7+ readers. The series is set in St Viper’s School where it’s good to be bad. And World Domination is lesson one. Demon Kid wants to be the best super villain at St Viper’s but he’s in for a fight. Between masterclasses in sinister science and fighting with flames, he needs to prove to everyone he’s an evil genius. Now if he can just survive till the end of term .
“The Riotous Rocket Ship Robbery” was given to me by the author Kim Donovan in exchange for an honest review and I only reluctantly accepted it since I am a grown up and felt unsure I could review a children’s book. I am glad I agreed because this book was a lot of fun and took me back to childish pleasures.
As the title of the series already gives away, we are in the world of super heroes and super villains. Inside a volcano lies St Viper’s School for the latter group and our heroes Demon, Stretch and Wolfgang (amongst others) are in their first year training for world domination. While they are forming their friendships they have to defend themselves against the older bully Chill and his gang, attend classes by Doctor Super Evil and get out of a hairy situation involving said Rocket Ship.
It feels like the author has had as much fun writing this lively and humorous book as I had reading it, the illustrations are brilliant and I have no doubt that the team will be able to produce a large number of instalments for this lovely series.
At a time when books like Harry Potter have influences consumer’s expectation this is a great addition to what I am sure most children would like to read. May I add to this last sentence that I am not at all a fan of Harry Potter but I am of St. Viper’s.
Interview with Kim
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I’m the author of St Viper’s School for Super Villains. I studied for an MA in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University and I’ve worked as a reader for a children’s publisher. I’m one of the co-founders of Electrik Inc, an author collaborative involved in Professional Independent Publishing. I’ve been a nurse, midwife and hospital manager. Bringing babies and books into the world are quite similar. They both involve perspiration and determination but are worth it in the end! I live in Somerset with my husband and nine-year-old evil genius.
How did you come to writing?
I started writing thirteen years ago as a hobby and it grew from there.
What made you choose children’s books as your ‘genre’?
I write the stories that come to me. Perhaps my inner child is resisting growing up, like Peter Pan! It is an absolute privilege writing for young readers. I have letters from children saying how much they like St Viper’s and some reviewers have commented that it is a good book for reluctant readers. If I can help just one child to find a love of reading I will be a very happy writer.
When did you first have the idea for this book? Tell a little what it is about.
St Viper’s came about because I realised that whenever my son returned home from school with a new sneaky trick he’d been playing with the older kids. When I asked him about it, he said with a big mischievous grin, ‘They’re teaching us to be villains’ .I loved the idea of a school where bad behaviour was rewarded and I thought that if I gave the pupils super powers it would make the story even more exciting for children.
How long did it take you to write?
It took just under two years from having the initial idea to the first book being available in shops. The second book in the series, The Big Bank Burglary, will be published nine months after the launch of the first one. Some of my young readers finished The Riotous Rocket Ship Robbery in a weekend — they have been cracking the whip for the next story!
What came first, the characters or the plot?
This time it was plot, but usually characters come first for me. It can take years before I have the right story for them.
How comfortable do you feel writing for children? Are you still a child yourself or more a mother type?
I write from the child’s point of view. I feel very comfortable writing for my readership. My son is this age and our house is always full of young super villains turning the place upside down!
How do you write? What is your writing environment like?
I work at the kitchen table. I’d like to say I write in total silence and submerge myself in the story, but the reality is I’m always multi-tasking: printing workshop material for school visits, chasing up unpaid invoices, washing football boots.
How many rewrites did it take you?
I’ve lost count. A lot!
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
At Electrik Inc, our books go through all the stages they would in a traditional publishing house. I have three editors: they all have MAs in Writing for Children and significant publishing experience. Their profiles are on the Electrik Inc blogsite — do take a look!
Who are your favourite authors / influences?
My favourite children’s author is Roald Dahl. I like The Twits, The Fantastic Mr Fox and George’s Marvellous Medicine. I think Eoin Colfer is brilliant at pace. It’s so important to get this right when writing for young readers. Of course, I read lots of adult books too! Subconsciously, my writing is probably influenced by the cartoons I used to watch as a child: Wacky Races and Hong Kong Phooey. I’ve always loved cartoon villains – they have the best lines.
Who would play your characters in a movie?
I would love St Viper’s to be animated — it’s how I’ve always imagined it. Alan Rickman would make a fantastic Doctor Super Evil with his rich, deep voice. I’d like Jim Carrey or John Goodman to be the voice of my crazy head teacher, Mr Madness. One of my boy readers says that he is the real Demon Kid and should play him if the book is made into a film.
Have you got other projects planned?
The next book in the series, The Big Bank Burglary, will be available in bookshops/online from the end of March. This story has a much bigger world domination plot. I’m soooooo excited about it. Here’s the book blurb: The Syndicate of Supreme Evil needs help with a big bank burglary. Demon is sure he’ll make the team – after all, he’s the top First Year at St Viper’s now. But a new boy, Copycat, changes all that and soon tries to take over. Can Demon win the battle to be the best baddie?
I have a couple of YA novels sitting in a drawer, which I may publish as ebooks later this year. I was awarded a distinction on my MA for one of them. I also have a partly-written crossover novel, which I’d like to finish. Then there is the next St Viper’s adventure . . .
Where would we hear about them?
I find if I talk too much about work in progress, I tend not to finish writing the story! It feels as though the book is already out there. But I’m on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter and I’ve got an author blog, so anyone who wants to keep in contact can do so.
The price for book one has just been lowered to just 77p (0.99 USD) to encourage readers to give it a try.
The new book The Big Bank Burglary has just been released.