Melvin Burgess: a life in writing | Culture | The Guardian

Melvin Burgess - A Life In Writing

A substantial profile of Melvin Burgess (by Susanna Rustin in The Guardian) includes mention of his new novel The Hit:

His latest novel, The Hit, is a dystopian thriller set in the future, which imagines a new pill known as Death. The chemistry is hazy but the concept is clear: this drug will give you the time of your life, an unbelievable high lasting a week, and then you will die. Burgess's teenage hero Adam takes the drug. The novel is about what happens next.

Unusually, the idea for the book was offered to Burgess by someone else. Brandon Robshaw and Joe Chislett are philosophy teachers who came up with the idea of a week‑to-live drug with a group of students. They wrote a manuscript and sent it to Barry Cunningham, founder of Chicken House publishing, who bought the first Harry Potter novel for Bloomsbury before quitting to set up on his own.

Cunningham liked the idea but not the draft, so he offered Robshaw and Chislett a fee and set up a meeting with Burgess. The men got on well; Burgess made the story work on his second attempt, using many of the original elements and introducing new ones - including a beefed-up role for Adam's girlfriend Lizzie. The book is dedicated to his two "co-conspirators".