the background behind
How to Snog a Hagfish!
Disgusting Things in the Sea

The author blurb on the back cover of this one is true. I have been fascinated, on and off, with sealife ever since I saw Jaws at what was probably far too young an age. The first story I ever wrote was a rewriting of Jaws (followed by two sequels) in which I wrote DD-DD-DD whenever the shark attacked, trying to incorporate John Williams's shark theme.

Somewhere between wanting to own a toyshop and wanting to be a seismologist I wanted to be a marine biologist. I even designed my own aquarium and sent the plans off to the company who owned the Sea Life Centres. They invited me to visit the one they were building in my hometown of Southend whilst it was still a building site (fortunately they hadn't followed my designs and had remembered to include toilets).

Eventually earthquakes became my new obsession, but I always maintained more than a passing interest in sealife. I always liked those hefty Reader's Digest tomes we had on our bookshelves at home as a kid, the kind of books that were ripe for dipping into and discovering arcane facts that seem like indispensable knowledge. With How to Snog a Hagfish! I wanted to write a book like that.

Instead of the hagfish the creature that inspired the book was the starfish. I remembered reading that starfish stick their stomachs out of their mouths, digest their food, then swallow their stomachs back down again. As I did some tentative research for the book proposal I discovered that wasn't the most revolting thing about sealife. Not by far.

Alternative titles for the book included:
- The Sea Cucumber's Bum (and Other Useful Places to Hide)
- Sharks, Slime Eels and the Sea Cucumber's Bum
- Does My Brain Look Big in This? (the cover would have had a photo of a Barreleye, which has a transparent head)

'Thoroughly explores the wonders of the deep and uncovers some creatures which are beyond the imaginations of the most far-fetched sci-fi writers.'

'Written in an "Underwater QI" style ... Eyers certainly knows his stuff.'

'Star buy!'

'Eyers is a wacky guy.'
(er, thanks)