The second author event I attended over the Curious Arts weekend was again held in the "Big Top" tent and pulled in quite a crowd to listen to Matt Haig talk about his latest novel, "How To Stop Time".
Over the last twelve years Matt Haig has been writing books for both children and adults, but is perhaps best known for his recent non-fiction, Reasons To Stay Alive, dealing with depression and how he came through it. After a book which proved so harrowing to write, Matt decided to turn to something a little more fun - two children's books, A Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas - and now one for adults - How To Stop Time, which he describes as a love story/action adventure/philosophy mash up.
It's the story of Tom Hazzard, who may look like an average 40-something history teacher, but has a secret - due to a rare condition, he ages very, very slowly, and has been alive for 439 years! Asked if this is something that would appeal to him, Matt answered with a very definite "No", as a self-confessed hypochondriac he thought it wouldn't be much fun.
Writing this story does seem to have been fun though, from creating the character of the "baddy" to indulging in his love of social history, and being "in charge" of Tom's adventures, allowed Matt to visit some of his favourite historical periods and meet the historical figures he'd have loved to encounter - from Shakespeare to Captain Cook, Charlie Chaplin to Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald, Tom gets to rub shoulders with them all!
Matt's future plans include projects as diverse as a third children's "Christmas" book, Father Christmas and Me, and collaborating on song-writing Andy Burrows (who I was to see later that evening as drummer for Tom Odell), while plans are afoot for "How to Stop Time" to be filmed with Benedict Cumberbatch. Exciting times!