Sunday, October 23, 2011

Author Interview: Philip Reeve

Today I am very pleased to welcome Philip Reeve to my blog for an interview. He is the author of many series, including the Mortal Engines Quartet, the Larklight Trilogy, and the Fever Crumb Series.

1. When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I've been writing stories since I was five or six, and I enjoyed working on quite long 'novels' all through my childhood, but I bever really imagined anyone would pay me to publish them, and I didn't seriously consider submitting anything to publishers until I came up with the story which became Mortal Engines, when I was in my mid to late twenties.

2. Who is your favorite author? Why?
It's a strange idea, having a favourite author. How could I choose between Tolstoy and Tove Jansson? PG Wodehouse and Patrick O'Brian? They're all doing such different things. Luckily, of course, I don't have to choose! I can have loads of favourite authors, and get something different from each of them. That said, Geraldine McCaughrean is the contemporary author I most admire; she has the ability to write enormously exciting adventures which keep you turning the pages, while at the same time using the most extraordinarily vivid and original language. She's great.

3. In all your books, who are some of the most interesting characters you have written about?
Hester in the Mortal Engines series, Fever in the Fever Crumb series and Gwyna in Here Lies Arthur. All heroines, and all rather unlikely ones, which I hope makes them more interesting. I'm forever reading books where the hero or heroine is brave, good-looking, determined, loyal and so forth, and that's fine and I know readers like it, but for some reason I always end up writing about people who are a bit flawed, or a bit fatalistic - they get swept along by events and sometimes they're afraid or just can't be bothered to try to influence them, which I think is how most of us are in real life. Also, I seem to always end up with a girl at the heart of my books: maybe it puts a sort of distance between me and the character. I'm consciously trying to write more boys at the moment, just to make a change.

4. Do you follow any sort of ‘schedule’ with your writing?
I aim to work a nine-to-five, but of course other stuff intervenes. Sometimes I run out of ideas and just go for a walk instead. At others I find myself writing away well into the evening, or jotting down ideas in the middle of the night.

5. On average, how much time do you spend plotting a story before you sit down to write?
I don't really plot in any formal way. The best bit of making a story is finding out what happens next, and if I already had it all planned I don't think I'd have the discipline to sit down and start writing. I usually start off with a few key images in mind, and I start writing and see who the characters are and where it goes. Often when I have a few chapters written I'll set it aside for a while and do something else, then come back to it later and start working seriously on it. Of course at that stage the existing chapters often get destroyed, or completely re-written.

6. What projects are you working on currently?
I have a tongue-in-cheek fantasy novel called Goblins publishing next April - I hope it will appeal to fans of my existing work but maybe to slightly younger readers too. Then there's the fourth Fever Crumb book, which will wrap up that series and which I think is going to be a long one. And I have a project I've been thinking about for years, a historical novel set in America around 1910, so that needs a lot of research.

7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Just write, really. And finish things. However beautiful your writing is, and however clever your ideas, it doesn't count for much if you've only got the first half. So finish a story, and then do another and another.

A huge thanks again to Mr. Reeve for agreeing to do this interview!

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1 comment:

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