Interview with Paul Orton, Author of Shut Down

03 May 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Shut Down?

I’m passionate about getting teenage boys to read, and there’s not a lot aimed at that age group. Ryan Jacobs is a teenager with attitude, who always ends up in trouble. Of course, a lot of adults also enjoy the books, and they’re not exclusively for boys, but that’s the target audience. And from the reviews I’ve had, it’s been really exciting to discover that teenage lads have connected so well with the series.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I love reading Young Adult fiction, as well as writing it. But I do read other things as well. I particularly enjoy psychological thrillers and books with an unexpected twist at the end!

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I’m currently working my way through the ‘Young Bond’ series by Charlie Higson, which are really great books! I’m also planning to read ‘Spiders’ by Tom Hoyle. He writes excellent stuff!

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

There’s this moment where a helicopter falls from the sky, almost landing on Ryan and his friend Lee, who are in the woods at the time. They narrowly escape and there’s a big explosion. It’s a scene you can really picture in your mind and that would look great on TV. But it also encapsulates the key theme of the book: technology is shutting down and people will die.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I drink a LOT of coffee. And I need complete silence to write. I can’t do it when the kids are around or other people are nearby, so I have to shut myself in my study when everyone else is out!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Don’t be boring.” I think that’s great advice for life, and also for writing, especially when you’re writing for teenagers.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I’d like them to know that it’s a good thing to be resilient, especially when life is unfair. Ryan Jacobs deals with some really difficult situations by gritting his teeth and getting on with stuff; his determination gets him a long way.


Paul Orton is the author of the new book Shut Down

Connect with Paul Orton

Author Site


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