Monday, 6 April 2009

Author Interview! Alex Bell

Having thoroughly enjoyed 'The Ninth Circle' I decided that it would be great if I could ask Alex Bell a few questions and post the answers here. Life (mine) totally got in the way for a few weeks longer than it should have done but I got there in the end! Here's what Alex had to say...

Hi Alex, thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions!

I’ve seen pictures of Moose, your new dog, on Facebook and she is lovely. Is your house ‘puppy proof’ though? Hint: put loads of newspaper on the floor...

The only truly puppy proof house is one with nothing and no one in it! I just sent a copy edit back to my publisher with little teeth marks on it! They were very nice about it though. Fortunately Moose is probably the most gorgeous thing you’re ever likely to see, which might make it easier for the other people in my household to forgive her if she chews up their stuff (fingers crossed!).

You’ve got cats as well though, do you envisage ‘cat and dog conflict’ in the near future...?

We don’t tend to get much in the way of cat and dog conflict, and we’ve always had Dobermans (who are one of the most loyal, intelligent, affectionate breeds you’ll ever meet). Moose is a Great Dane but it looks like she’ll be carrying on the tradition of daft, soppy pooch too. So dog and cat conflict has never really been an issue. Cat and cat conflict on the other hand . . .

Onto ‘The Ninth Circle’... What was it about Budapest that made you go with it as your setting for ‘The Ninth Circle’? Can you see yourself having written the same story if it had been set in a different city?

I started writing The Ninth Circle just after my parents got back from a trip to Budapest. They brought back photos and guidebooks and told me all about it. And for some reason it got under my skin a bit even though I hadn’t been there yet. I already knew I didn’t want the story to be set in England because I wanted the location to add to Gabriel’s isolation – for him to be one nationality with everyone else around him being another. When I was flicking through a Budapest travel guide I was struck with how many angels there seemed to be in it. So it sort of just fell into place.

I don’t think the book would be the same if it was set in a different city because so many of the locations in it are integral to the plot. Budapest was perfect – I don’t think any other city would have suited it half so well.

The one time I went to Budapest I was very ill and everywhere was shut. If I ever go back, what are the places I really need to check out?

If you go back?! If you were ill last time then you’ve got to go back, Graeme! Nothing ruins a place like illness (believe me, I know – even now I shudder a bit when I think of Beijing and Aswan . . . ), and Budapest really is a wonderful city.
My favourite place there was the Faust Wine Bar underneath the Hilton because it was carved out of the rock and lit by candles but I think it’s closed down now. So I guess I’d have to say go to the Fisherman’s Bastion (which is on the front cover of The Ninth Circle) just as it’s going dark and the lanterns are coming on. And go to Heroes’ Square at night.

I might go back, it really wasn't the best holiday though...

Which came first, the setting or the story?

The story. But only by a page or two. Once I had the city, the story sort of moulded itself around Budapest.

If you were ever to write a sequel (is there a sequel on the cards?) would you call it ‘The Tenth Circle’?

I’m not sure what I would name a sequel. Possibly something like The Seventh Heaven. But, no, there isn’t a sequel on the cards at the moment. I intended there to be others when I wrote it (hence the not-so-conclusive ending) but I’ve moved on to other stuff since then. I loved writing The Ninth Circle but it’s not the kind of book I’m really keen to write more of. Jasmyn and Lex Trent (my upcoming books this year) are more the sort of thing I’d really love to repeat – especially Lex as that one is a comic fantasy.

The concept of ‘The Ninth Circle’ reminded me a little of ‘The Bourne Identity’. In the event that ‘The Ninth Circle’ is made into a film, can you see Matt Damon playing the lead role? I’m having trouble imagining this one personally but you never know...

I think they’d need to find an actor who’s a cross between Richard Armitage and Adrien Brody. Such a man can’t be that hard to find, surely? ;-)

You wake up in a room, in Budapest, with your head stuck to a pool of dried blood and a large pile of cash on the table. Do you stick around in Budapest and try to remember your past? Or do you take the money and buy yourself a home in the Bahamas (your memory might come back quicker if the sun’s out...)?

I would most definitely take the cash and buy a house – but in Bermuda (or Washington) rather than the Bahamas – then I would fill it with as many Dobermans, Great Danes and Siamese cats as would possibly fit (or until I ran out of money). Throw in a good supply of wine (dry white and full-bodied red), and I wouldn’t need to remember my past because I would already have everything I needed.

And finally... Your next book, ‘Jasmyn’, is due to published in June. Why is ‘Jasmyn’ the book that we should all go out and buy right away?

Jasmyn is the book you should all go out and buy right away because it is part fairytale, part thriller, part romantic suspense and part supernatural mystery. How many other books do you know of that tick all four of those boxes? Pretty good, eh? It also has some really cool twists and some beautiful (if slightly sinister) locations.
And whilst we’re on the subject of blatant self-promotion, I have a third book coming out in September called Lex Trent Versus The Gods (although the title might possibly change), and everyone should go straight out and buy that because according to my publisher it is a comic fantasy that is both quirky and original, about a teenage thief and conman called Lex Trent who finds himself playing in a Game between the Gods. Think minotaurs, think medusas, think flying ships and griffins and Space Ladders and mad kings and nasal lice and enchanted hats. Lex Trent has all this and more – how can you possibly not buy it?

Nasal lice eh... You've sold it to me!

Thanks Alex!

Have a look at Alex Bell's website over Here.

1 comment:

gav ( said...

Great interview - thanks, I hope it entices people to pick up The Ninth Circle - it's a great book with lots of twists and turns.