Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Libby McGugan.
Libby McGugan was born 1972 in Airdrie, a small town east of Glasgow in Scotland, to a Catholic mother and a Protestant-turned-atheist father, who loved science. She enjoyed a mixed diet of quantum physics, spiritual instinct, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Her ambition was to grow up and join the Rebel alliance in a galaxy Far, Far away. Instead she went to Glasgow University and studied medicine.
A practising doctor, she has worked in Scotland, in Australia with the Flying Doctors service and, for a few months, in a field hospital in the desert. She loves travelling and the diversity that is the way different people see the world, and has been trekking in the Himalaya of Bhutan, potholing in Sarawak, backpacking in Chile and Europe, and diving in Cairns.
Her biggest influences are Joseph Campbell, Lao Tzu, David Bohm, Brian Greene and Yoda.
AN INTERVIEW WITH LIBBY MCGUGAN
Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
I’m a bit of an experience junkie. I’d say I have a very rich life with music, writing and good friends. I’ve learned that how I think affects my experience, so I try to think well - it pays off every time. And I love chai tea.
Have you always been interested in science fiction?
I suppose so, although I’m not a purist. Seeing Star Wars in the cinema was one of those life-changing moments for me. I like the idea of looking forward, using imagination to think ‘what if?’ I’m probably more interested in philosophy and science itself, through...
What are your favourite authors and books? Have any of these authors and books been a source of inspiration to you?
There’s so much inspiration out there. My favourites would be ‘The End of Mr Y’ by Scarlett Thomas, ‘Ghostwritten’ by David Mitchell and ‘The Alchemist’ by Paolo Coelho. For non fiction it would be Brian Greene’s ‘The Fabric of the Cosmos’ and Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘The Science Delusion’.
How did you come up with the idea of writing your debut book (The Eidolon)?
It started with a concept that came from thinking about dark matter. Isn’t it intriguing that we’re missing such a huge chunk of everything? And then there was the dichotomy of worldviews that I grew up with – my father’s science driven atheist beliefs and my mum’s spiritual, catholic beliefs. Neither sat well with me. I’ve worked out my own worldview now and I’m happy with that. The book was a way to explore things through the journey of a pragmatic scientist.
Could you tell us something about The Eidolon? What can readers expect from it?
A thriller that explores the nature of reality through an edge-of-the-seat story line featuring dark matter, the CERN laboratory, and the boundary between the living and the dead.
How did it feel to write a science fiction book? Did you have to do research?
I didn’t set out to write a science fiction book – it was a story that happened to be science based. The story was just there – working out which genre it fits into came later, and it wasn’t clear-cut. But I did do quite a bit of research. I visited CERN and saw round ATLAS, which was incredible. It’s a phenomenal set up and a testament to man’s drive to understand things. I’d followed the general concepts in quantum physics over the years, but had to dig around to get things as straight as I could for the book.
Are you planning on writing more science fiction books or other books in the near future?
The Eidolon is the first in a trilogy, so Robert has lots more to contend with… second book in progress now. I’m also writing a piece for Aethernet and for an anthology.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
There’s been some film interest, which is great. I’ve seen it as a film form the beginning – who’d play who, how the music would sound - I wrote it to soundtracks from composers like Hans Zimmer and Steve Jablonsky. So to have other people see it this way too is hugely rewarding. I finished writing the screenplay last week.
Other news – there’s a cool trailer with some epic music –