You've previously written horror films--how different did you find the process of writing a novel?
Writing for film is a lot of fun, and most scripts are only one hundred pages long, so some scripts can be written over a few days or weeks. Writing a book is completely different. It takes a lot longer, for a start, and it requires so much THINKING...
But on the whole, it's a lot more rewarding. Film scripts are interfered with by producers, directors, and financiers- whereas when I'm writing a book I'm totally free. It's a wonderful feeling, and I can just let my imagination go crazy over the page. And my imagination LIKES going crazy.
Do you believe in ghosts and vampires?
I would love to believe in the supernatural, I truly would, but despite my best efforts I remain frustratingly logical. Maybe this is why I love writing about the things I write about- maybe this is my way of living in a world where anything can happen.
Uncle Gordon's house is wonderfully spooky--is it based on a house you've been to?
Gordon's house is a product of my own imagination, but every spooky house movie I've ever seen as a child has found its way into the architecture. I love stories where the house is big, and old, and it creaks and groans in the darkness, where there are so many places for something to hide, and to reach out at you when you pass...
Stephanie's adventures lift her out of her ordinary life--when you were her age did you used to wish for similar adventures?
Oh yes. I'd sit in class and dream about horrible creatures threatening the school, and I'd be the only one able to fight them off...! I dreamt about that kind of thing a LOT. Stephanie is a very lucky girl, because I'm letting all the great things I used to dream about actually happen to her, and she gets to live the life I always wanted. Of course, all the things I used to have nightmares about will ALSO happen to her, so I suppose she isn't THAT lucky...
We're really looking forward to the next book--can you please give us a hint what happens next?!
Hmm, what can I tell you about the next book? Let's see... I suppose I could tell you about the new villain, an old enemy of Skulduggery's who escapes from prison. Or, I could tell you about the unstoppable monster that gets brought back to life. Wait, no, I could tell you about the assassins, or maybe the zombie horde, or the man with black holes where his eyes should be... But no. Actually, I'm not going to tell you any of that. You're just going to have to read it yourself. Sorry.
If you could use a mirror to create a second you who would cover for you in your absence, where would you run off to?
I wouldn't run off anywhere, I'd stay right where I was and use my mirror's reflection to finish my next book for me while I played with my dog!
Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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