Please welcome Philip Coleman author of the young adult thriller, The Master’s Book!
What is your book about?
“The Master’s Book” concerns Sean, an Irish teenager just arrived in Brussels with his family, only to discover that the previous owner of their house was murdered. He befriends a pretty classmate called Stephanie. Together they discover a very rare illuminated manuscript in Sean’s basement, which is then stolen, leading to a paper chase and several murders.
I lived in Brussels for several years when my own children were growing up and it was a particularly happy time. Despite its reputation as a boring city, parts are very lively and there is much history associated with it and the surrounding region. I want to recapture these elements.
Two words – character-driven!
No, I’m afraid. I try to sketch out a scenario but I rarely stick to it, letting the characters find their own way. So a good deal of rewriting is needed.
Not the main ones, except that Stephanie’s physical appearance is based on some of the very pretty mixed race girls that were classmates of my children. And the crabby neighbour is completely real.
Not in this story but yes in others.
I really can’t think of anyone for Sean. Quvenzhané Wallis could play Stephanie when she is a little older!
Mainly my partner, Magdalena, and writer friends whom I trust.
Myself! Not my pen-name but my real one – and there are quite a number of hits for it!
I’m working on a sequel to “The Master’s Book”, concerning a disappearance that is traced back to the Rwandan genocide.
I’d love feedback on this interview. I will offer a free copy of the book to the person who comments first on this interview.
Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene…
In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 24. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels.
The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once.
Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it?
Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twelve and over.
“So tell me more about this murder.”
What am I to say? I’d love to tell her what I found this morning, but can I trust her?
“There’s not really much more to tell,” I said. “The house was ransacked, but we don’t know what they were looking for.”
“Hmm. So you don’t think there’s still something hidden somewhere in the house?”
She’s near the mark.
“No, I’m sure there isn’t,” I said, trying to hide my surprise.
“Oh, come on.” She poked my shoulder. “You realise you’ve missed a chance to make up a really good story.”
The laugh I gave mustn’t have been very convincing, maybe because I’d fixed my gaze on the floor. She stared hard at me and suddenly gave me a nudge.
“You’re not telling me everything, you sly thing,” she cried. “You did find something. You were trying to keep it a secret, weren’t you?”
Philip Coleman has worked as a biologist for most of his life—in Ireland, Belgium and now in Switzerland. Having been an avid reader all his life, he took up writing only in 2006. This is his first published novel. He drew his inspiration for the story from the period he spent working for the EU in Brussels. He has a grown-up son and daughter (who were roughly the same ages as Sean and Maeve during the time in Brussels but otherwise aren’t a bit like them at all!). He now lives in France.