Monday, 25 May 2009

Blog Tour! Tim Lebbon...

I have the great pleasure to be the latest stop on Tim Lebbon's epic Blog Tour where he will be answering a whole load of questions that I came up with for your reading pleasure :o)

Before that though, there's a few bits and bobs that we need to get out of the way first. You'll like them, don't scroll down!

First up, I'm only the latest stop on Tim's Tour and he has been to some other great places in the meantime. Check out what Tim has to say over at BookSpot Central and follow the trail back from there...

I have a copy of 'Fallen' to give away! Anyone can enter this one (it doesn't matter where you live!) Just drop me an email telling me who you are/where you live, I'll announce the winner next Monday... It's a great read so I wouldn't pass up this chance if I were you...

If you've already read 'Fallen' then here's a chance to win a copy of 'The Island'. Have a click right Here, the code you will need to use is SERIAN.

Right! On with the interview...

Hi Tim, thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions for the blog!

No problem, thanks for having me! Love what you’ve done with the place.

It looks nice but I'm thinking it could do with a lick of paint... How are you enjoying the blog tour so far?

Having a great time, thanks. Living out of a suitcase and eating fast food, but I’ve only got myself to blame for that as I’m doing it all from home.

You sound like me... Onto 'Fallen'. You’re stood at the bottom of the Great Divide, are you the kind of guy who would climb it? I got a little touch of vertigo reading those bits...

I got a touch writing them, too. I’m not terrible with heights – they excite me more than scare me, I don’t get all woozy, and I’m the sort who likes looking over the edge of a cliff because of the sense of danger it gives you – but I have had nightmares about climbing a cliff or mountain and just getting stuck, when the only way to get back down is to climb down. One of the scariest things I’ve ever done is a 220 ft abseil down the side of a building – going down was fine, but that bit where you stand on the edge and lean out over nothing … just unnatural, and completely terrifying. So yes, I think I’d climb it, but I’d be as sacred as Nomi Hyden is in the book. And I wouldn’t look down.

If you were heading off on a voyage, how comfortable would you feel in the company of Ramus, Nomi, Beko and co?

Well, knowing Nomi and Ramus like I do, I think I’d keep a distance from them. They have issues. Nomi’s hot, mind you, so perhaps those issues could be put aside for a night or two beside the camp fire. They’re fascinating people as well, with compelling histories and stories about the previous voyages they’ve undertaken across Noreela … Ramus especially, who has travelled and explored the unnamed mountains where a witch might just live.

But I’d feel very comfortable with their escort, the Serians. These guys are hard as nails, and have the humour needed to get through situations like this. They’d be a lot of fun to be around, if you could get past the initial joking and tricks. Some of them are pretty quiet – and people like Lulah obviously have secrets – but I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d want to voyage with into the most dangerous, unknown parts of the world.

In a novel where the central theme is that of exploration, how easy was it for you to keep Ramus and Nomi on the path that you had planned? Were you tempted to have them sidetracked by other new horizons?

I always had a rough idea where the novel was going, even though I never plan in great detail. The Great Divide was always there, and they were always going that way … but yes, there were distractions along the way that I hadn’t planned, and things happened to them and those around them that I’d never really thought about until they occurred. I love writing that way—when the story itself takes over and puts your characters through stuff you’d have never wished on them yourself.

Which story did you enjoy writing the most? The exploration of Noreela’s frontiers or the character’s exploration of themselves and their relationships with other people?

Well, Nomi and Ramus were always the focus from me, from the first moment they appeared in my head. Such a fascinating, complex relationship, and I’d given myself a huge challenge trying to pull it off. Their story is the heart of the book, but the landscape is the meat and bones of the novel. I love the whole world-building process and always have a lot of fun with it, and in this novel especially there was a whole new aspect to it—I was writing about places that not even the characters in the book knew much about. I tried to give it a wild, untamed, unexplored feel, frontier country, and I hope it made for a sense of underlying danger throughout the book. Certainly after the pivotal campfire scene (can’t say too much more about that …. read it!) the world became a much more dangerous place for everyone on the expedition.
As for choosing which aspect I enjoyed writing the most … that’s a difficult one, but I think the characters really spoke to me in this book, and I still feel very close to them both.

Ramus believed that discovering what lies beyond the Great Divide would herald the end of exploration in Noreela. The discovery has been made and Ramus’ words must be a real challenge to you as a writer. What else lies in Noreela waiting to be discovered?

There’s plenty … more ideas than there is time to write about them. THE ISLAND is set after FALLEN, and it contains revelations that expands the Noreela universe even more. I’m quite enjoying jumping around in Noreela’s timeline, and I have an idea for a book set thousands of years after DUSK and DAWN, called LOST TIMES, which is a Noreelan post apocalyptic story … we shall see … If you want to see lots more Noreela stories, buy these first!

Tempers flare in some pretty destructive ways over the course of the book. As a writer, what do you have to tap into to ensure that these emotions are conveyed in the intense way that is required?

It’s important in these scenes to try and keep dialogue and reaction realistic. There are some pretty heavy scenes, with nasty revelations, but none of that would carry if the dialogue and reaction were over the top or unbelievable. The only way to really write these scenes is to put yourself in the characters’ heads and try to foresee how they’d react. How would you react if these things were being done to you, or said about you? So personal reaction is important, but you also have to remember it needs to be applied to the characters you’re writing about, not your own personality … so there has to be a distance as well.

And though it might seem to contradict the above, it’s important to go with the flow. I wrote the most intense of these scenes—the campfire revelation—quite quickly, and it came out better than I could have hoped.

Without giving too much away, Ramus’ story comes to an end but Nomi’s fate is left hanging. Could you see her returning in future novels?

Well, I’ll never say never … but I doubt it. Now, some readers hate this, but I like the fact that a reader’s involvement in the novel is not only confined to the time and events of that novel, but beyond as well, both before and after. So readers will hopefully be interested in where these characters came from, and might also think about where they’re going as well. I could have sewn everything up neat and tidy, but real life isn’t like that (strange thing to say when applied to a fantasy novel, perhaps … but these are real people and places to me). I’m very satisfied with the ending.

‘Fallen’ isn’t your only novel set in Noreela, is there a timeline that it’s a part of? Where would be the best place for someone new to these books to start?

Chronologically, FALLEN falls 4,000 years before DUSK and DAWN (the first two books I wrote set in Noreela), and the forthcoming THE ISLAND is set just a couple of hundred years before DUSK. In truth, they’re standalone books that can be read in any order (apart from DUSK and DAWN, which consist of one story told over two books). The more you read the more you’ll get to know Noreela, of course, and the more you’ll recognise. It has been called a series, but it’s a series you can dip into. The idea of writing a huge trilogy where each novel is integral to the others is daunting (although … well, watch this space).

Are there any plans for ‘After the War’, ‘Dawn’ and ‘Dusk’ to be released in the UK?

That would be nice. But no firm plans as yet.

Finally, your latest novel ‘The Island’ will be getting its UK release very soon. I know why I’ll be reading it, here’s your chance to tell everyone else why ‘The Island’ is a book that they should pick up...

THE ISLAND is an exciting adventure story, a tale of invasion from beyond the shores of everything we know, and charts one man’s agonies as he fights difficult internal conflicts to best serve the people he loves, and those to whom he feels a duty. It plumbs the terrors everyone feels at threats from beyond. It also has big fights, tidal waves, sex, monsters, battles, and is bloody good.

Thanks again!

Thank you! Same time next year?

I reckon so!

If you've been following the tour then you're probably waiting for me to give you the next excerpt from 'Fallen'. (If you haven't been reading these then follow the trail back to the start and get reading! If you've read all the others Here's the next excerpt) You can also read my review of 'Fallen' over Here.

The tour doesn't stop here though, swing by The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf, on May 27th, to finish reading the excerpt and see what else Tim has to say for himself...


gav ( said...

It's my first place on the Blog Tour - thanks for the interesting and different interview.

Going to track back now :D

ediFanoB said...

I'm following the Blog Tour and I like it.
Really good opportunity to get more information about an author.

ediFanoB said...

Graeme, I entered the giveaway some minutes ago. Then I read Fallen winner at Highlander's Book Reviews.
I won Fallen.
Now I have a wish. Could please remove mail concerning the giveaway?
In case it is not possible and I should win again Fallen at your giveway please draw again because I need the book only once.
Thank you in advance.

Graeme Flory said...

ed - No worries, consider your entry withdrawn. Hope you enjoy 'Fallen'! :o)