Little Willow [userpic]

Interview: Christopher Golden

June 19th, 2007 (07:41 pm)
pleased

Current Mood: pleased
Current Song: Madame Bovary score music by Miklós Rózsa

Those who visit my blog regularly have come to expect at least two things: posts relating to YA literature, and posts praising the works of Christopher Golden.

Christopher Golden is a talented author who has successfully tackled the genres of horror, fantasy, and mystery. Not only that, but he has written for adults, teenagers, and children. I find his storytelling ability to be unparalleled, and I often want to start a story of my own when I am done reading one of his. We write very differently, and I don't ever aim to mimic his tone or style. I do hope that one day my stories inspire someone else like his have inspired me.

Recently, between me updating his website and him writing his next novel, I interviewed him for the Summer Blog Blast Tour - and we had a blast.

When approaching a new novel, what is your writing routine? Do you outline, set up personal deadlines, or write for a certain length of time every day?

I always have some kind of outline. Sometimes it's just a few pages, and others as much as twenty five pages. If it's a collaborative novel, there will often be a chapter by chapter outline that breaks down every scene, but otherwise I try to avoid such things. They're too limiting. I don't set up my own deadlines -- the publisher does that.

I do generally set short term goals. I write Monday through Friday, though frequently my mornings are taking up by e-mail and other business and the writing ends up shifting to the afternoon. All too often, I end up making up for lost time at night or on the weekend.

What albums have you been listening to lately as you write?

Amy Winehouse - Back in Black is my favorite CD of 2007 so far - though usually I just have my iTunes on shuffle.

THE MENAGERIE, a dark fantasy series you write with the talented Thomas E. Sniegoski, finds Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fighting alongside the likes of Eve, who became a vampire after falling from grace, and Ceridwen, the Celtic legend. Which character do you think is the most at home in the modern world?

Strangely enough, I'd have to say Squire, the hobgoblin shadow-walker who is Conan Doyle's right-hand man. He's got a foul mouth, loves bad television and junk food, and lives for any sight of a scantily clad woman. I'm pretty sure the modern world is bliss for Squire.

The characters' personal lives are just as important as their legendary roots. Who gets into the most trouble in CRASHING PARADISE, the fourth book in The Menagerie?

Well, as the title would imply, much of the story revolves around Eve. Her past -- and thus the past of all humanity -- comes back to haunt her from both divine and demonic sources. Clay -- a shapeshifter who is the actual clay of God -- also has some major surprises in store and learns a great deal about the forgotten portions of his own history in this one. In fact, we learn more about the past of a number of our characters. CRASHING PARADISE is the culmination of a lot of character arcs we've spent ten years setting up.

You've teamed up with Mike Mignola for BALTIMORE, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire. What is the premise of this story, and what prompted this collaboration?

Mike had been talking for years about this vampire graphic novel he wanted to do. Never did he suggest he had anything else in mind for the story. Then one day while we were on the phone he said he'd realized that he was never going to get the chance to draw the graphic novel, and was thinking of making it an illustrated novel instead, and asked if I'd be interested in collaborating with him on it. I'd been hearing about the story for years and of course immediately agreed. We worked on the outline, with Mike providing a synopsis of his concepts and me filling in whatever holes appeared.

BALTIMORE is a World War I era, alternate history, vampire hunter novel that is HUGELY influenced by the gothic classics, everything from Dracula to Frankenstein to Matthew Lewis's The Monk, and also influenced greatly by Moby Dick. BALTIMORE is an illustrated novel -- it's prose, with 150 illustrations by Mike.

As for the story itself, it concerns a young soldier named Henry Baltimore (soon to be Lord Baltimore) and his encounter with a vampiric creature amidst the carnage of a war torn battle field, and what becomes of both soldier and monster as a result of that fateful meeting. It is full of folklore, both in the way it's told and in the actual folktales we invented for the story as part of the adventures of Baltimore and his allies. And it's about storytelling in a very fundamental way. Much of the book is told by three men sitting around a table in a pub, telling the tales they know of Baltimore's life, and some of it is told in epistolary fashion, through letters and journals.

(Little Willow adds: Look at the fantastic video interview Bantam held with Christopher Golden and Mike Mignola.)

Talent, a comic you co-wrote with Sniegoski, had enormous success this past year, and the first three issues are now bound in one trade paperback. Any plans for more stories in this line, or with Boom! Studios?

We're actually talking to a different company right now about a very cool new creator-owned comics project. And we've decided on a publisher for THE SISTERHOOD, a miniseries that we've had in the planning stages for quite some time. Beyond that, we haven't really had a lot of time to pursue comic book projects lately. Too much else going on. As for BOOM!, I've known those guys for a long time and would always be happy to work with them again if the right project came along.

Universal Pictures has shown interest in both Talent and OutCast, a fantasy quartet you and Sniegoski wrote for children. Any news on either front?

Universal optioned the rights to both TALENT and OUTCAST. On TALENT, I know they've hired a screenwriter, but I can't comment on his identity until they do. As for OUTCAST, Universal recently renewed the option. They had hired a screenwriter -- a very talented writer -- but his vision of what the film ought to be differed quite a bit from the producers' vision, and so everyone has amicably moved on and Universal is currently considering other writers. They seem very dedicated to making both projects happen, so hopefully one of them will come to fruition soon.

You have stories in two new anthologies: Five Strokes to Midnight and Many Bloody Returns. What is the concept of each collection, and what did you contribute?

It's been such a pleasure to write short stories. I do it so rarely -- although more often over the past few years. MANY BLOODY RETURNS revolves around vampires and birthdays, a strange sort of anthology theme, which I'm sure has led to some wonderful stories. Mine is called "The Mournful Cry of Owls" and it takes place in the late 1970s in Massachusetts. It's about a girl who is about to turn sixteen and the collision of her awakening sexuality with her mother's old world beliefs. FIVE STROKES TO MIDNIGHT is an interesting anthology. It features thirteen stories by five writers. I've contributed three stories (well, I haven't finished the third one yet) -- "All Aboard," "Under Cover of Night," and "Shaft 39." Each author chose a theme, and mine is folklore, though these are all modern folklore stories.

The Veil first introduced readers to The Myth Hunters, then led to The Borderkind. What myths can readers expect to find in the third book?

In THE LOST ONES, we meet a great many other creatures of myth and legend from around the world, but not in the detail of the previous books. That's reserved mostly for the characters we've already met . . . and also for the introduction of Atlantis. We've seen Atlanteans throughout THE VEIL novels, but in THE LOST ONES, we go to Atlantis itself for the first time. I've also more fully introduced the idea that in a world of legends, even the legendary themselves have legends they believe in on faith alone. (The book will be out in 2008.)

Which of your previously completed series would you most like to revisit?

All of them. I wrote ten Jenna Blake novels and I would love to write another ten. I could see writing about Jenna for the rest of my life, having her get older as I get older. I'd also like to return to the world of PROWLERS someday, and always wished I could do a novel in which a case of Jenna's led her into the world of Prowlers. I suspect there will be more Peter Octavian/Shadow Saga novels some day. None of these things are planned at the moment, but it would please me greatly to write them.

You've tackled so many genres and written for so many different audiences. What type of book or story have you yet to write that you'd love to try?

For five or six years, I've been doing research for a historical thriller that I plan to write some day. I'm just waiting for the time to work on it, and the right editor to sell it to. I can't say any more about it, but it's the best story I've ever come up with.

I can't wait to read it -- and you know it! In the meantime...

CRASHING PARADISE, the fourth novel of THE MENAGERIE dark fantasy series by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski, will be landing in stores this August.

If you are unfamiliar with Golden's works, please read this author spotlight, in which I shed some light on his bibliography and backstory.

If you're ready to start reading his books but aren't sure where to start, please check out my recommendations. (Thanks to TadMack for prompting that post!)

Please drop by his official website at www.christophergolden.com

This is the only interview with Golden for the SBBT. Here is today's full schedule:

Tuesday, June 19th
Laura Ruby at Miss Erin
Bennett Madison at Shaken & Stirred
Shaun Tan at A Fuse #8 Production
Chris Crutcher at Bookshelves of Doom
Holly Black at The YA YA YAs
Kazu Kibuishi at Finding Wonderland
Christopher Golden at Bildungsroman
David Brin at Chasing Ray
Kirsten Miller at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Sara Zarr at Big A, little a
Sonya Hartnett at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Previous Interviews with Christopher Golden
September 2006
October 2005
November 2004

Highlighted Works
Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire
The Menagerie

Comments

Posted by: Tiffany Trent (tltrent)
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)

Baltimore looks divine. I can't wait to get hold of it. :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)

:) :)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)

Whoa. Baltimore looks really kickin'.

Thanks for the interview! You've also added to my HUGE TBR pile, but I forgive you.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)

Since this was an anonymous comment, I don't know who I'm speaking with, but thank you for reading the interview! Have you read any of his books before? :)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)

D'oh! That was me -- sorry! Nope, not read any of his books before, but I wanna now.

-- Jules at 7-Imp

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 02:20 am (UTC)

*hug*

I was just made aware of a cool video interview Bantam held with Golden & Mignola. (Tell eisha too!)

http://slayground.livejournal.com/251290.html

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)

Read them. Read them allll.

I know they aren't your typical fare, actually, so what are you in the mood for - want to start with his cool fantasy series for kids?

Posted by: broken fairytale (new_toy)
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
lost to manilow

I heart Christopher Golden.
Yay for more Menagerie! I can't wait.
Baltimore looks fantastic too.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 03:21 pm (UTC)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

GO EVE!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 21st, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC)

Thanks!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 10:48 pm (UTC)
TadMack says:

You KNEW I had to come by and read this interview! I am so glad you got to interview your literary idol, and I think it's really cool that HIS writing inspires YOU to write!

If you were to recommend one book of his -- a Christopher Golden gateway drug, as it were -- which would it be?

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
Re: TadMack says:

I'm a lucky girl.*

Oh, I can't pick just one! Can I give you one recommendation per genre?

MURDER MYSTERY: Body of Evidence (the first of ten books featuring Jenna Blake, a forensic examiner's assistant; no horror/fantasy/sci-fi; plenty of intrigue/murders/medical research)

SHAPESHIFTERS: Prowlers (the first in a quartet by the same name)

VAMPIRES: The Gathering Dark (this, the fourth in The Shadow Saga sequence, may be read independently of the others; the sequence begins with Of Saints and Shadows)

HORROR: The Boys are Back in Town (This is a standalone adult novel. What if, at a high school reunion, you realize your memories differ from those of your ex-classmates? This story combines altered memories and time travel. It is so marvelously crafted - complex, but fully explained and fully realized. Adult characters really must deal with the consequences of their actions as teenagers.)

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: The Lost Slayer (originally released as a serial novel in four separate parts, then re-released in as one mighty thick paperback)

FAMILIAR FACES: CLASSICS: Straight on 'til Morning (Peter Pan set as a coming-of-age horror story in the summer of 1981)

FAMILIAR FACES: MYTHOLOGY AND MAYHEM: The Menagerie series (co-written with Thomas E. Sniegoski; four books so far; start with The Nimble Man)

* Actually, according to Chris, I am a miraculous girl. If you want to know why, then you have to read The Gathering Dark.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)
Re: TadMack says:
knowing

Look at what you made ME do:
http://slayground.livejournal.com/251458.html

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: TadMack says:

GOSH, girl, thank you. Truly awesome! And now I shall look for your description in The Gathering Dark! After this week, however. The interviews, they are a-comin!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 21st, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Re: TadMack says:

You are welcome, and thank YOU!

Let me know if you spot me in The Gathering Dark.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 19th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
You've done it again

Baltimore looks AWESOME. Yet another book I'm going to have to throw on the ol' TBR pile, thanks to SBBT and all these fab interviews.

~eisha (7-Imp)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
Re: You've done it again

Woo hoo! Have you read any of his books before?

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 21st, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
Re: You've done it again

Nope, not yet. But thanks to that handy list you made up for TadMack I have a good idea where to start. Thanks!

~eisha

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 21st, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)
Re: You've done it again

You are welcome!

You have to tell me, then, what you read when you do. ;-)

Posted by: aka_becker (aka_becker)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)

Wait, you like Christopher Golden? Next think you're gonna tell me is that Nancy Holder is a nice person and that you actually like to read. ;)

And, is it just me, or does the girl on the cover look like Eliza? (And was that Chris' suggestion?) ;)

Now I'm missing Chris and Nancy. I haven't seen either in years.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)

Gee, golly!

:)

Hmmm. I could see Eliza as Eve's sister, perhaps, had she a sister.

Posted by: aka_becker (aka_becker)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)

I haven't read the books to know Eve though. I still haven't read anything since you had me read Strangewood. I see the cover art and I can't decid if it looks more like Faith-Eliza or Tru-Eliza, but definitely Eliza. I should as k Cosmic Bob for his thoughts. ;)

Oh, by the way, on his official site, when you click on the little icon of that book and it opens up the page talking about it, everything is about Strangewood, but the first text words are "Straight on 'Til Morning." This is your site, right?

http://www.christophergolden.com/strangewood.html

Looks awesome, by the way. And now Chris is going to kill me for my little relevation above, if he sees this. ;)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)

Read more books. NOW.

Thanks for catching that. I fixed it.
http://www.christophergolden.com/strangewood.html

Posted by: aka_becker (aka_becker)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC)

hehehe I know. I suck. Now I'm waiting for HP7 to come. The last thing I read was the short story "1408" by Stephen King that the new John Cusack/Samuel L. Jackson movie is barely almost based on. Based on the commercials the only things they have in common are character names and the room number and that weird things happen in there. The premise sound 100% different. But I digress...

No problem. I figured we could kill two birds with one stone. Announce my sad reading ignorance and fix the page. ;) Which, again, the site looks cool. :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)

Read. Read. Read. Read.

Posted by: jensbookpage (jensbookpage)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 02:32 am (UTC)

I've been meaning to read something by Christopher Golden for many months now, based on your recommendations, LW. Seeing what a class act he is (in the way he talks about his collaborators, for example) makes me that much more determined to pick up some of his work. Thanks!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 20th, 2007 03:43 am (UTC)

He really is a classy guy. I do hope you'll read his books.

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