Tuesday, May 7, 2013

London Falling: Paul Cornell the Interview

A writer of the acclaimed modern incarnation of Doctor Who
begins a nail-biting contemporary dark fantasy series with

“Featuring an assemblage of super-natural baddies and two terrifying villains,
Cornell’s foray into dark fantasy isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s one absorbing, brilliant read. Even with four principal characters, Cornell knows how to go deep with each, switching among their perspectives and steadily building the reader’s emotional investment. If this is just the series opener, I can’t wait to see what’s coming in book two.”
-- RT book review, 4 ½ stars and Top Pick!

Paul Cornell is a British writer best known for his work on the television show Doctor Who, most notably for penning three Hugo Award-nominated episodes, as well as several spinoff novels. This is why TOR is proud to announce the release of Cornell’s latest fantasy novel LONDON FALLING (A Tor Hardcover; On Sale: April 16, 2013)!

Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London—or they think they do. While investigating a mobster's mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.

Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. Football lore and the tragic history of a Tudor queen become entwined in their pursuit of an age-old witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city. 

The Interview:

1. What inspired you to write London Falling?

I wanted to write something set in the modern world, with a group of professionals (in this case undercover police officers), encountering the supernatural.  The way their procedures and tactics help them get past their shock and terror is what interested me most. 

2. Are you a panster or a plotter?

I don't know what a panster is, but I assume it's a sort of cook.  I do all the cooking for my family.  And I'm going to call it that now.  I'm going to say 'well, I'm not much of a panster, but I can make a great jambalaya'.  I actually plot in vast, enormous detail before writing a book, then have to horrifyingly revise it when the writing of that plots unravels it.  But I do have a sheet showing what I'm meant to be doing at all times. 

3. Open your book to any page and tell us what is happening.

Okay, randomly, page 232 of the UK edition: my broken genius of an intelligence analyst, Lisa Ross, has just learned something terrible from a woman in the remains of a Victorian dress at a New Age fair, having had the 'Tarot of London' read for her.  While her boss, Detective Inspector Quill, is having a punch up outside with a man who can use vanes to make the winds hit him. 

4. If you were going to take your characters out to dinner, where would they like to go and what would they eat?

A police pub near Gipsy Hill police station, where they're based, like The Black Sheep.  They'd have pub grub, heavy on the carbs, and three or four 'pints of therapy'.

5. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

I'm lactose intolerant, but I will risk the wrath of my stomach for a Raspberry Ripple. 

6. Do you have any hobbies for when you are not chained to the computer?

I love cricket, and run a fantasy cricket league, so I follow the scores avidly.  I don't get to watch as often as I'd like, because we have a six month old baby, and our lives are not our own.  (What did I do with all that spare time?!)

7. If you have pets, tell us about them.

I don't!  Erm, sorry. 

8. What has been the toughest part about being a writer and do you try to balance your writing life with a day job?

I'm a full time writer.  The toughest bit is actually the plotting.  If you get that right, then everything else is easy.  I've just had to write two plots for two different things in a week, and after that I felt like I'd been attacked with hammers.  (Without wanting to belittle the experiences of those who've actually been attacked with hammers.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.)

9. What advice would you give someone who is trying to write a novel length piece for the first time?

It's about memory.  It's remembering what everyone's motivation was the last time you saw them.  It's about remembering how the whole thing feels while you're writing a small piece of it.  If you get an awful feeling, like you're a terrible writer (some people call this 'writer's block', but I don't believe in that, because this is an alarm, not an off switch), then read back, not the bit you're on now, but from a few pages back.  Your brain is telling you you've done something wrong, and you've been building on top of it for a little while.  Or maybe that's just me.  

10. What is on your writing horizon?

I've just delivered the sequel to London Falling, which is called The Severed Streets ('Jack the Ripper is back, and this time he's only killing rich white men'), and I write the Wolverine comic for Marvel every month.  Apart from that, there are a few lovely things I can't talk about, and my new Wild Cards story, 'The Elephant in the Room' will be on Tor.com next month. 

Stay tuned for a review of this awesome book. I have started it and don't anticipate much sleep in the next few days! :)


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