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10 Questions for an Author

This month: Tim Lebbon

Tim Lebbon is a horror and dark fantasy author born in London and now living in Monmouthshire, England. In 2006, Lebbon decided to switch to full-time writing and has a number of books published including Echo City, The Thief of Broken Toys, and his latest, written with Christopher Golden, The Secret Journeys of Jack London: Book One, The Wild. (Note: Instead of 10 questions, Mr. Lebbon has graciously answered 12!)

1. Which genre is your favorite to write in? And when you are concentrating on one genre, do you find yourself combining other styles?

Honestly, I don't really consider genre when I'm writing.  I just write the stories I want to tell.  They usually end up as quite dark and fantastical, but that's just me.

2. With the script Playtime completed, did you find writing a screenplay more or less challenging than writing novels or short stories? Also, how did you enjoy collaborating?

I love collaborating, and do it a lot.  It was the first time Steve Volk and I worked together, but we both enjoyed it immensely, got a lot out of it, and came up with something we're both immensely proud of, and pleased with.  

I'm really enjoying the screenplay writing I'm doing. It's something fresh and different for me, and I'm hoping to do a lot more in the future.  Yes, it's different from writing novels, but I welcome the challenge and really enjoy the process.    

3. In The Thief of Broken Toys, the village of Skentipple seems to take on a character of its own with the point of view you used. Did you ever feel that any one of those characters the reader glimpses at might be an interesting, but separate story?

I guess there are a lot of stories in Skentipple.  Who knows .....

4. According to your website, you became a full-time writer in 2006. What gave you the confidence to make that decision? And have you wanted to go full-time for a while before that point, but just weren't ready?

I was part-time for almost 4 years before that.  I'd wanted to take the plunge for a long time, and of course it was all about the money.  When things got better writing-wise, I didn't hesitate to hand in my notice at work to become my own boss.   That last day in work was one of the best ever ... leaving my old desk behind to do what I'd wanted to do my whole life.   

5. How do you feel about electronic books? Do you own an e-reader?

I don't own an e-reader, but that's not because I've anything against e-books.  I'm a slow reader, so don't need to carry hundreds of books around with me.  I'm publishing some of my books as e-books, and the future will be an interesting place with a growth in their sales.   

6. You often collaborate with Christopher Golden. Is collaboration on a book harder or easier than doing it solo? How often do you disagree on a plot point or a character or how to move the story along?

In some ways it's easier, because you have someone to bounce ideas from, get around problems.  Chris and I have written 6 novels together, and a screenplay, and we're working on a couple of TV series proposals as well.  I can't see a time when we're not collaborating on something ... we're good friends, and we work really well together.

Disagreements are always gentle, and really part of the brainstorming process.  There's never been a time when we've had an argument about anything.

7. When Mesmer was published in 1997, how did you celebrate its release? Did you go crazy or did you go to work on your next novel?

Long time ago!  I think I went to the pub.

8. How have you embraced the phenomenon of social media as a writer? For you, is it a distraction? How much time do you spend on networking sites?

Yeah, it's a distraction.  I log onto Facebook far too often.  I've sold books through Facebook, and got work through communicating with people there, but it's a distraction from writing.  And I honestly think it's changing the way we think.  Gone are the days when a writer shut themselves away with a pot of coffee and left the phone off the hook.  Now we're all instantly connected to the rest of the world, and sometimes that's not a good thing. I'm very comfortable with my own company, but I know some people who'd have an anxiety attack if they left home without their phone.

9. The first lines of your books and stories are great and memorable first lines. Do you spend a lot of time on that first line? Or do you just write and come up with a possible first line later?

Thanks.  First lines are vitally important for me as a writer, as well as for readers.  A good first line or paragraph will introduce me into the story as a writer, make it feel whole and rounded, so yes, I do often work hard at them.  Other times they just come to me, and that's a good feeling too.

10. What have you got in the works for this next year that's not mentioned on your website, if you can tell us?

March 1st sees the release in the US of The Wild, Book One of The Secret Journeys of Jack London (co-written with Chris).  Echo City is out in the UK in July from Orbit.  There'll also be some foreign editions out this year, I hope, and perhaps another project or two I can't yet talk about.  

11. If a reader wanted to check out your stuff, but they've never heard of any of your books (for shame, right?), what is one or two books you'd recommend to them?

Well, for my novellas and short fiction, Last Exit for the Lost from Cemetery Dance.  For my horror, Berserk.  And for my dark fantasy, Echo City.

12. What is a day in your writing life like? How much time per day do you spending writing, editing or reading?

My day is built around my family.  So I start work around 9:30 when I have the house to myself, and finish usually around 5pm.  I'll have an hour off during the day to walk the dog or go for a run, but I'll often work in the evening too.  By 'work' I mean write, edit, write proposals, talk with my agent or collaborators, read .......