Stuart Wilson is the incredible author of our April Children’s Book of the Month “Prometheus High: How to Make A Monster.” This story follows lead character, Athena Strange. Her first semester at Prometheus High started with a bang. But as her lessons in reanimation, robotics and skulkers begin to move too slowly and she has trouble making friends, Athena decides to take matters into her own hands. Will she be able to hold her head above water?
Exclusively for our QBD Blog Readers, Stuart talks about the inspiration behind his new book, the horror genre, and more!
What inspired you to write Prometheus High?
Without a doubt, it was my fascination with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, arguably the first modern science fiction story. I wanted to take the classic idea of a mad scientist toiling away in their remote laboratory and put them in a more public setting that actively encourages such experimentation.
Which part of the book was the most fun to write?
For me, horror is inextricably linked to comedy, so I loved writing the icky replantation scene. I find it hilarious that most of the class wouldn’t bat an eyelid at stitching together body parts. Since they are all there to make monsters, it stands to reason that they wouldn’t be squeamish! My aim with Prometheus High has always been to strike a tone that I call ‘middle grade macabre’, so expect to see more hilariously horrifying moments in the future
In the book we learn about different kinds of ‘skulker’ – nightmare creatures that are drawn to the dead! What’s the most terrifying creature you came across in your research?
If you do an image search of Japan’s jikininki I think you’ll agree that they’re particularly horrific. I love my horror, but the paintings inspired by those creatures are too much even for me!
What was your favourite horror story when you were a kid?
There was an short film from the 70s or 80s I saw once as a child but have never been able to track down since. It involved a young boy in a yellow raincoat playing around some standing stones on the English moors, who is haunted by a doppelganger that ends up taking his place when the boy’s parents come to pick him up. The fact that I can’t remember the title – or even find any evidence of it on the internet – makes it all the more terrifying in retrospect. Wait, was it even a film? Or a memory? Was I that boy?
Book 1 is set on a rusty cruise ship, but I hear the students are switching locations in Book 2 – can you give us a hint?
Book 2, The Books of the Dead, will be all about mummies! But in true Prometheus High fashion, they’ll be learning about resurrecting them on board a zeppelin! Makes sense, right? Expect booby-trapped tombs, skydiving and not one but TWO new Creators