To celebrate the release of their new co-written book The Midnight Hour, we asked authors Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder to open up and reveal 10 things they'd like all readers to know about them. Here's what they had to say...
1. Ben and Laura first met on an independent film set: The entire film was shot inside one house. Laura lived there during filming, sleeping in the protagonist’s bed, using his bathroom, and generally being a walking continuity problem. Ben was writing and producing the film, while Laura made props. They spent their evenings in the attic with Chris Wildgoose (Laura’s future husband) where they discovered their mutual love of books and comics.
2. They co-founded an indie comics studio: After all the attic chat, the three of them set up Improper Books, a studio with a focus on creator-owned stories with a touch of the fairy tale or the otherworldly. Improper Books is celebrating its 10th birthday this year and has grown to include a talented group of creatives, producing comics that have been published overseas and adapted for film.
3. They're dog-obsessed: Ben and Laura are both desperate to own a dog, but neither have one. They console themselves by sending each other pictures of particularly good ones they’ve spotted. One day. One day.
4. They both live on farms: Although based in separate counties, they both happen to live on farmland. All of their business calls are conducted while trudging up hills or swishing through crops. Ben also sends Laura photos of particularly nice tractors.
5. Their debut novel is inspired by their debut comic: Night Post is a wordless children’s comic that follows a postman on his midnight shift, making weird deliveries to even weirder recipients. While developing the book, their ideas naturally began to expand. They went off on enjoyable tangents, imagining backstories to insignificant background characters and glimpsing a world beyond this one night. The Midnight Hour is that world.
6. They share a background in bookselling: After working in a dog food factory (which is as fun as it sounds) Ben became an antiquarian bookseller. He left bookselling to become a ‘republisher of old fairy tales’, before exploring the world of independent film and comics. Laura was a part-time Waterstones bookseller for 11 years, alongside her art degree and then later her freelance illustration work. They’re now both full-time book creator people.
7. They're big on nicknames: Laura's emails from Ben usually start with one of his many nicknames for her. They include (but are not limited to): Trindles, Trindlemouse, Trindoogle, Trindlebug, Trindlevole, and Dora. Laura calls him Read. They have recently started Trindles & Read, an online place to share their bookish musings, jokes and illustrations.
8. They've both been reluctant models: As a child, Laura was persuaded to model a series of novelty Disney telephones. She hated being photographed and was promised a choc ice for her troubles, which she’s still waiting for (with 20 years of ice cream interest). Ben, and one of his magnificent tweed suits, can be found in a book about Coorie (the Scottish answer to Hygge).
9. They are creatures of comfort: Biscuits, blankets, tea, cosy jumpers, good books, crackling fire. All the good stuff. This is what gets them through life. In The Midnight Hour, Emily has a hedgehog that spends the majority of the book sleeping in her coat pocket and eating her treats. He is their combined spirit animal and they’d happily swap places with him.
10. They have a long-distance working relationship: The majority of their work is created in their separate work spaces, communicating over email (and Whatsapp. Lots of Whatsapp). Laura shares a home studio with her comic artist husband, whereas Ben likes to travel. While working on The Midnight Hour, work pinged back and forth between Laura’s Hertfordshire desk and Ben in the Cotswolds, Cornwall, Paris, Edinburgh, London, the French Pyrenees and Spain. They did however meet up in the Scottish Highlands for a week or so, to kick off their work on the book together.
The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House).
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