Christian O’Connell swapped his 2 million radio listeners for a packed room of parents and children at the OSO Arts Centre to talk about his new book Radio Boy.
The Absolute Radio presenter’s first children’s novel is the story of a boy called Spike who, under the mysterious moniker Radio Boy, becomes a secret superstar radio presenter.
It’s Christian’s first foray into children’s literature and he told us that the book owed a lot to the work of his daughters-come-editors.
“Every chapter I would print off and they would go over with Sharpie pens and just pull apart,” Christian said. “We’d end up having really bad arguments. Sometimes I’d actually be really hurt, because you know you create this thing, and then they kick it to shreds.”
“But bit by bit there were fewer Sharpie notes and then finally there were no scribblings and that was when I knew the book was ready to go to the publisher.”
Not only did Christian’s two daughters help out with the editing, but also the fact checking.
“There’s was one bit where Spike was going to have a Facebook page for his radio show, cos everyone’s on Facebook these days, but they told me that no child his age would have a Facebook page so they took that out.
“If I’d left that in children would have read it and thought ‘yeah, but that would never happen’. Having that realness was really important to me.”
Christian told us that he’d already started work on a sequel to Radio Boy and hopes he’s learnt enough to avoid any more father-daughter editorial bust-ups.
“I’m going through it all again with the second book and luckily there’s a lot fewer Sharpie scribblings this time.”