Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Christopher Fowler.
Christopher Fowler is the award-winning author of over thirty novels and twelve short story collections, and the Bryant & May mystery novels, which record the adventures of two Golden Age detectives investigating impossible London crimes. His latest books are the sinister comedy-thriller ‘Plastic’, the memoir ‘Film Freak’ and the haunted-house novel ‘Nyctophobia’. Other work includes the ‘War of the Worlds’ videogame, a graphic novel and a Hammer horror radio play. He has a weekly column in The Independent On Sunday. He spends his time between London and Barcelona. Find out more at www.christopherfowler.co.uk.
You can buy The Sand Men from Amazon:
AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER FOWLER
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
As a child I treated London as my personal adventure playground. The city in every facet, funny, mysterious and sinister, is central to much of my writing. I’ve achieved several pathetic schoolboy fantasies, releasing a terrible Christmas pop single, becoming a male model, writing a stage show, playing the villain in a Batman graphic novel, running a night club, appearing in the Pan Books of Horror, and standing in for James Bond.
If you also want the official version, here’s what my PR says: Christopher Fowler is the award-winning author of over 40 novels and short story collections, including the Bryant & May mysteries, recording the adventures of two Golden Age detectives in modern-day London. His most recent books were the haunted house thriller 'Nyctophobia' and 'The Burning Man’. Other work includes screenplays, videogames, graphic novels and audio plays. He won the CWA Dagger In The Library this year for outstanding work and has a weekly column in The Independent On Sunday. He lives in King’s Cross, London and Barcelona and daily updates his fairly unusual blog at www.christopherfowler.co.uk.
- How did you become interested in speculative fiction?
Probably from reading my way through the entire output of every SF, horror and crime writer I admired as a kid, from Arthur C Clarke and Ray Bradbury to Dickens, Conan Doyle and Jules Verne.
- You've written several novels that range from thrillers to horror novels. Your forthcoming novel, "The Sand Men", is a near future science fiction thriller. What inspired you to write this novel?
It’s set a few seconds into the future. I was inspired by one of my heroes, JG Ballard – I think he’s have explored this subject had he lived longer (Dubai’s headlong rush toward a high-tech future) but mine is a very personal take.
- What kind of a novel is "The Sand Men"? What can readers expect from it? Okay, here’s the official take, then I’ll tell you what I secretly think.
In Dubai there’s a new world of high-end, high-luxury resorts emerging for the super-rich – but at what price to everyone else? Lea, Roy and their 15 year-old daughter Cara live in a gated community reserved for foreign workers. Roy has been hired to deal with teething problems at Dream World, a futuristic beach complex.
In the oppressive heat, the wives appear happy to follow behind their husbands, cooking and arranging parties, but Lea finds herself a virtual prisoner in a land where Western women are regarded with suspicion on the streets. At least there are a few friendly outsiders who don’t enjoy the conformity of the ex-pat community - until one night, when the most outspoken one, Milo, is killed.
Milo’s death is the first in a string of terrible occurrences that divide the foreign workers. Lea’s neighbours start to blame migrants, Arabs and even each other. Lea is convinced that deliberate acts of cruelty are being committed – but is there a real threat to her life, or is she becoming paranoid? And what if the thing she fears most is really happening? What happens in a world where only the rich are important?
That’s the blurb, but what it’s about is rebellion from conformity, disobeying the rules, following Old Gods and telling lies. What happens when you can’t control human nature and make people do what you want? And how does a workman freeze to death on a beach in searing hot temperatures?
- Could you tell us something about the characters in "The Sand Men"? What kind of characters are they?
I like writing strong women. But I also like people who make mistakes. Lea thinks she can do what she wants in a very conformist society, and has to learn the right way to rebel. She also discovers that the people you least suspect can turn out to be rebels.
- What is the target audience of "The Sand Men"?
I don’t like labels and never categorise my readers. I wrote a novel called ‘Plastic’ which blurred the lines between crime, horror, comedy and growing up. I think I write for anyone who enjoys books – that sounds glib, but what I mean is people who get joy from stories, language, wild ideas and good plots. If something I write lacks pleasure I hack it out. People seem to find and follow me with real loyalty, which is why my name usually features larger than the title of what I’m doing – because I rarely work in the same field twice (except in my crime series, the Bryant & May mysteries). I must be doing something right because this year I won the CWA Dagger In The Library, which made me a very happy bunny.
- Was it challenging to write this kind of science fiction?
No, like falling off a log because I’ve been attracted to these kinds of books all my life. I think I was particularly inspired by JG Ballard’s ‘Cocaine Nights’.
- How would you advertise "The Sand Men" to readers?
If you’re interested in where we’re going, and wonder if our sanitised new future has a downside, I suspect this is for you.
- Will you write similar kind of fiction in the near future?
I’m planning a fantasy novel that will hopefully be unlike anything else out there, which is what I do. The most common feedback I get is ‘I’ve never read anything like this before’ – which is good!
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
Yep – check out the blog I write daily and you’ll see what I mean about ‘unexpected’ – it’s not like a normal writer’s blog in that I discuss anything and everything with my readers.