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Interview: Tim Lebbon

June 11th, 2012 (07:00 am)

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton

Tim Lebbon's novels popped onto my radar when he teamed up with my pal Christopher Golden to write Mind the Gap, which kicked off their series of books about The Hidden Cities. That collaboration led to another, and another, and now the two are writing The Secret Journeys of Jack London series. Speaking of London, that's Tim's homeland. Through the powers of the internet, we caught up and conducted this interview for 2012 Summer Blog Blast Tour.

Is this interview interrupting your writing? What are you currently working on?

On the contrary, it's a happy distraction! I'm like most writers I know...any distraction is welcomed. I'm working on the third novel in my Toxic City YA trilogy from Pyr in the USA, probably called Contagion (but not sure yet).

What inspired you to become a writer? Have you always enjoyed telling stories?

Yes, I've always enjoyed telling stories, ever since I was a little kid. The idea to become a writer grew gradually –– there was no sudden BANG! when I realised I should be doing this as a living, but a gradual understanding that I was getting better at writing, and people were starting to pay me for my work, and then pay a little more...and then there was also the idea that I loved writing so much that I wanted to do it all the time. So when I was earning enough to go full-time, I took the plunge without pause. I've had no regrets.

Do you find it easy or difficult to get your thoughts on paper or computer?

No, I don't. Writing is hard work. If it ever feels easy, I don't think I'm giving it my all.

Your most recent release, The Sea Wolves, is the second book in The Secret Journeys of Jack London series, co-authored with Christopher Golden. What was it like to infuse supernatural elements into a high-seas adventure?

It was great fun. But then writing with Chris always is. By the time we started this book we knew our character Jack pretty well, and we also knew the story we wanted to tell. And let's face it, the supernatural and the sea go together so well. It's a huge part of our world, but we know so little about it. There could be anything out there...

The Wild, the first volume in The Secret Journeys of Jack London, was your first foray into YA fiction. Now that you two have written multiple books in the line - two volumes currently available and more to come! - do you feel more confident about writing for a YA audience?

I'll be honest, it never troubled me unduly, and I don't think it really changed the way I wrote at all. I've often written stories with children or teenagers as the main characters, and now writing these books with Chris –– and my own YA trilogy from Pyr, Toxic City –– I feel quite comfortable having teens as my main characters. I was one once! It doesn't change the way I write, and I think that's for the best. Any change in style might feel like writing down to the audience, and that would lessen the books for me.

Your story Reconstructing Amy was included in The Century's Best Horror Fiction, a two-volume anthology published by Cemetery Dance. Congratulations! Tell me more about Amy.

Blimey...quite some time since I wrote that story. It's a tale about a guy losing his wife, and then trying to regain some hold on her by bringing back all the dolls she used to collect. As he brings them back to his home, so aspects of his dead wife accompany them. It's sad and spooky at the same time. It won the Bram Stoker Award the year it was published, and I'm delighted to see it in this handsome volume now.

Recently, when you're not writing, you're running. Tell me about your marathon training.

I'm following a training programme, though not to the letter - I also have a busy family life and a writing career to try and keep control of, too! It involves running 5 days each week, totalling anything from 30 - 50 miles running per week. I'm thoroughly enjoying it, and I can't wait for the marathon. (As I write this, it's two weeks away. My main aim is simply to finish, and that will be an achievement in itself. But if I can finish in under four hours, I'll be ecstatic.

I've always done some exercise, but I'm now fitter than I've ever been before, and it feels great. Obsessive? Some might say yes. But as I joke to my wife, there are worse mid-life crises I could be experiencing! I have more marathons later this year, as well as two triathlons. And plans for 2013 are even bigger...

Good for you! Name your ten all-time favorite books.

That's a hard one! I can't name ten in order. And they'll likely change, but I'll give it a go:

The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells
The Terror - Dan Simmons
The Stand - Stephen King
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Consider Phlebas - Iain M. Banks
The Hill of Dreams - Arthur Machen
More Tomorrow and Other Stories - Michael Marshall Smith
The Willows - Algernon Blackwood
Perdido Street Station - China Mieville
Born to Run - Christopher McDougal

While I attempt to get that Bruce Springsteen song out of my head, I encourage you all to visit Tim Lebbon's website. You may also follow his adventures in fitness at runwalkcrawl.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Book Review: The Sea Wolves by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Interview: Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Book Series I Love: The Secret Journeys of Jack London
Looking Forward: Tim Lebbon

This interview is part of the 2012 Summer Blog Blast Tour. Here is today's roundup:
Kate Milford at Chasing Ray
Randa Abdel-Fattah at Crazy QuiltEdi
Tim Lebbon at Bildungsroman
Nalo Hopkinson at TheHappyNappyBookseller
Click here for the complete 2012 SBBT schedule.