Today I welcome to my blog a visitor from afar. In customary Gail fashion, I have sat him down, foisted tea upon him, and insisted he do that most horrible of things . . . gossip about himself. Adam was one of the very first podcasters to interview me for Writing Habits a few years ago when Soulless first came out. Now I repay the favor by asking him some personal, and we can only hope, highly embarrassing questions.
GC: Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
AC: Tea, white, no sugar, in a mug. The milk must be non-fat too – try and slip me regular milk and I’ll know about it!
GC: Describe your personal style for author appearances.
AC: I can sum this up with two words: The Jacket. I got this trick off another writer friend, and it works brilliantly. When I’ve got The Jacket on, I’m working. I might do my actual writing in a Kryptonian Writing Gown (which is totally NOT a Superman bathrobe, honest), but when The Jacket comes out, it’s all business. You can identify The Jacket by the little wasp badge on the lapel (which actually came with it, which is pretty cool). As opposed to, you know, any old jacket. The Jacket, and the wasp, will be appearing together in New York in January, with me inside it (The Jacket, not the wasp).
GC: If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?
AC: If anything, I think if you saw my office, you wouldn’t not be surprised in the slightest. On my desk you’ll find a Batman statue, an Optimash Prime, a King George V tea tin, an iMac, a Macbook Air, an iPad, and an iPhone (or various combinations thereof, depending what needs charging). The desk is up against a wall, on which is plastered a gigantic picture of The Flash by Ethan Van Sciver (from the cover of The Flash: Rebirth #1), and next to that some actual comics – at the moment I’ve got Justice League #1 and the DC Comics New 52 preview on display, and a new 52 checklist postcard. These are actually slotted around the edges of a weird set of little mirrors that I can’t remove from the wall without pulling the plaster off. But they make an effective wall-mounted comics rack!
I live in a small village in Cheshire, England, with a canal running through our back garden. My office overlooks the back, so I get a glorious view of the canal and the fields and woods beyond. It’s my very own writing retreat, in my own home!
My other writing spot is downstairs, in the library. There’s nothing better than sitting in a comfy chair, surrounded by books. The above-mentioned Macbook Air gets most use there. Plus the library opens out into the garden. In summer it’s amazing.
GC: If you drive, what do you drive?
AC: A Peugeot 308. Black. I may or may not refer to it as the Batmobile. I deny I have a comic book problem.
GC: No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)
AC: Chocolate, plain cone. At this point I’ll have to concede defeat and admit I don’t know what a sugar cone is. This is clearly some bizarre yet delicious American invention that I’m going to have to track down when I’m next over!
[Gail’s interjection, for the others who may not know: Sugar cone = brown in color and not unlike cardboard in texture, plain cone = bond in color not unlike Styrofoam in texture. Adams choice is aberrant but not insane. I pronounce him acceptable for prolonged exposure. But be very very wary of those who opt for vanilla in a plain code, for this indicates psychopathic tendencies.]
GC: What’s most likely to make you laugh?
AC: An episode of Community. An episode of The Goodies. An episode of Hancock’s Half Hour. Eric Morecambe in anything. Bill Murray in everything.
GC: Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?
AC: If I’m drinking drinking, then make it a g’n’t. Usually I’m not though, in which case I’ll go for ginger beer, but it has to be REAL ginger beer. Failing that, a coke. But, for the love of Gorilla Grodd, don’t try and pass off pepsi as coke.
Adam Christopher was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up watching Pertwee-era Doctor Who and listening to The Beatles, which isn’t a bad start for a child of the 80s. In 2006, Adam moved to the sunny North West of England, where he now lives in domestic bliss with his wife and cat in a house next to a canal, although he has yet to take up any fishing-related activities. Adam’s short fiction has appeared in Pantechnicon, Hub, and Dark Fiction Magazine, and has been nominated for the British Science Fiction Association, British Fantasy Society, and Parsec awards. In 2010, as an editor, Adam won a Sir Julius Vogel award, New Zealand’s highest science fiction honour. When not writing Adam can be found drinking tea and obsessing over DC Comics, Stephen King, and The Cure. He is also a strong advocate for social media, especially Twitter, which he spends far too much time on avoiding work. Adam’s home on the web is here.
About Adam books
GC: What should readers eat while consuming your novel?
AC: Empire State is sort-of set during Prohibition, so I recommend readers have a drink rather than a snack while reading. Therefore, there is no substitute for Canadian Club whisky. During Prohibition, Canadian Club was smuggled in from north of the border and was a favourite of Al Capone’s. Some alcohol was smuggled in hidden in the centre of huge rolls of cheap paper; when Prohibition ended, this trade network continued, supplying the paper stock needed to produce pulp fiction and comic books. See, it all ties up!
If you don’t fancy the Empire State drinking game (rules to be determined, but possibly a shot every time Rad misplaces his hat), then I recommend tea and shortbread biscuits. Captain Carson would be pleased.
GC: What form does evil take within its pages?
AC: A difficult question – the nature of evil and the nature of the enemy (both in general and with a capital “E”) are fundamental to Empire State, so I don’t want to say too much. But on the surface, there are many foes for the hero, Rad Bradley, to defeat. Some are obvious, some less so. But… loose lips sink ships.
GC: Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?
AC: Lisa Saturn, because she’s dangerous and cool and because she might look like Carrie Fisher circa 1977. I said might. Ahem.
But I think Rad deserves some affection. He goes through a lot and he’s a really nice guy. Aw.
GC: What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?
AC: New York, the 1930s. It has everything – the insanity of Prohibition, the splendor of Art Deco, the beginnings of jazz, comic books, pulp fiction, science fiction. In fact, it might be the most science-fictional period of modern history. Ah, for the days when you had to wear a hat out of doors… the Empire State takes a whole lot from this period and mashes it all together.
GC: Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?
AC: Kane Fortuna. Oh, does he need a slapping. At least Rad thinks so. I’m inclined to agree but… I can say no more!
GC: Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of book?
AC: I’m partial to the car chase that opens the book – it’s night in New York in 1931, Jerome is piloting a gigantic Studebaker around slippery streets, and there is a car full of gangsters chasing them complete with tommy gun-wielding heavy standing on the running board. That sequence was fun to write and is, I hope, fun to read. It was actually one of the last sections I wrote, as the book had opened in a different place in an earlier draft. Oh, poor Jerome! He deserved a better fate. Maybe he’ll get to tell his story, one day.
GC: If your story smelled of something, what would that be?
AC: Kerosine. It’s that jet fuel smell you get an airport, and I imagine it’s the smell that fills Rad’s nose in his first encounter with the rocket-powered superhero, the Skyguard.
The Empire State is the other New York. A parallel-universe, Prohibition-era world of mooks and shamuses that is the twisted magic mirror to our bustling Big Apple, a place where sinister characters lurk around every corner while the great superheroes that once kept the streets safe have fallen into dysfunctional rivalries and feuds. Not that its colourful residents know anything about the real New York… until detective Rad Bradley makes a discovery that will change the lives of all its inhabitants.
“Adam Christopher’s debut novel is a noir, Philip K Dick-ish science fiction superhero story… As captivating as a kaleidoscope… just feel it in all its weird glory.”
~ Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author of Little Brother
“Stylish, sinister, and wickedly fun, Empire State is not your average sexy retro parallel universe superhero noir.”
~ Lauren Beukes, award-winning author of Zoo City
Timeless: Now in production. The release date on Amazon is correct.
Etiquette & Espionage: Copy edits done! Awaiting galley. Release date Fall 2012.
The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Prudence floats! Release date fall 2013. She’s started waking me up in the middle of the night with ideas.
BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON’T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven’t read the other books first!
Books and Quilts reviews Blameless. “I poured through it and found myself near the end long before I was ready.”
Quote of the Day:
“How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.”
~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden