Want a spooky Victorian adventure? Meet the S.C.R.E.A.M. team!

Published on: 01 November 2017 Author: Alex Strick

Andrew BeasleyAlex Strick meets author Andrew Beasley and the courageous, crime-solving stars of The Mummy's Revenge and Carnival of Monsters.

So for those who are new to S.C.R.E.A.M, can you explain the acronym?

My new books are all about two young paranormal detectives. Billy Flint and Charley Steel are part of a unique police squad investigating Supernatural Crimes, Rescues, Emergencies And Mysteries!

Why did you choose to set the adventures in Victorian times?

I love the world of Sherlock Holmes. There is something deliciously creepy about those foggy streets where danger can lurk around every corner.

How did the idea of an Egyptian mummy wreaking revenge come about?

I do a lot of research for my books and I discovered that Victorians really did have "mummy unwrapping" parties! That got me thinking: what would happen if the mummy came alive?!

The Mummy's Revenge


Can you tell us more about your leading lady Charley?

Charley Steel is one of my favourite characters ever. She is smart, witty, brave, and the scientific brains behind the S.C.R.E.A.M. investigations. She also just happens to be in a wheelchair.

Why were you keen for her to use a wheelchair?

I never set out with that in mind, to be honest, but when I wrote Charley's life story (which is something I always do for my main characters before I begin writing the novel), this terrible event happened in her childhood, and there was nothing I could do after that to change it. That was Charley. She had Polio. But I knew that she wasn't the sort of character who would let that stop her.

Did you come up against any questions or challenges in terms of getting the depiction of a wheelchair user right?

I'm glad you ask, because this was something which I was desperate to get right. I didn't want to either trivialise or glamourise Charley's wheelchair use. It was a big challenge as a writer, perhaps my biggest, but the very kind responses I've had already have helped to put my mind at ease. I've even had Paralympians contact me in support, which has been an incredible honour.

Carnival of MonstersDid you do any research or consultation to help you?

I do endless research for all my books, but in this case I was able to draw on my own life experience too. A while back I had an accident and ended up with a paralysed arm. Not a wheelchair, I know, but I spent two years not able to do the simplest everyday tasks, like doing up my buttons or cutting up my food. However, through it all I still had the same hopes, dreams, fears and passions. I was still me, I just had an extra obstacle to overcome. That's what I tried to bring to Charley.

What changes did the front cover design go through as it developed?

Manuel Sumberac is a genius, isn't he? The skeleton carousel on the cover of book two, Carnival of Monsters, is my new favourite addition... That and the crazy coconuts. 

I know Usborne thought very carefully about the cover design for this series. It's tricky to show readers that a book is both scary and funny, but I hope my suggested addition of a mummified cat on the cover of book one, and the straplines, help. We could have chosen to just go with type, focusing on the joke in S.C.R.E.A.M, but we all felt it was really important to show both Billy and Charley on the cover.

Above all, we wanted to ensure our two heroes were depicted as equals, which meant that while working through early design sketches, we rejected scenes that showed Charley in her wheelchair being pushed by Billy, and instead, focused on the two of them always working as a united front against the monster they're facing. I really hope your readers think we've succeeded.

What other plans do you have for the S.C.R.E.A.M. team?

I've got some really horrible monsters lined up and some pretty fiendish crimes for Charley and Billy to solve. I'm desperate to do something with vampires and I'd love to write about Vikings, so right now I'm thinking... Viking Vampires!

Check out our review of Carnival of Monsters

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