Background

 

Tim Bowler QuoteNight Runner is a fast-moving story and it came to me at a sprint. One moment I had a fifteen-year-old boy called Zinny hiding in his room at home because he’s bunked off school, the next moment a guy has broken into the house, rummaged through things and then run off because Zinny’s mum has turned up unexpectedly with someone dodgy, but then the dodgy someone runs off too, and Zinny – fearing the arrival of the police – does the same, only to be caught outside by the first guy and pushed towards the open door of a car with its engine running – and this was just the opening sequence. I had no idea who any of these people were or what was going on. All I knew for certain was that Zinny was in one hell of a lot of trouble, and it was only going to get worse when we met his father. But I was hooked. What appealed to me about Zinny, what made me care about him, especially once I got going with the story, was his isolation. He has no one to depend on. He’s not just isolated at school, he’s isolated at home too, and even in his head: he’s cut off from his dreams and confused about what he really wants. He doesn’t have friends to help him and his mum and dad have problems of their own, so I found myself writing about a boy in terrible danger, a loner who lives in the city but longs for the country, a brilliant athlete who’s given up running. Something about Zinny clicked for me, perhaps because I knew that in spite of his anger towards his parents, he’s basically just a lad who wants to do the right thing. So yes, Night Runner came to me at a sprint, and pretty soon Zinny was sprinting too.’

 

Tim Bowler