Good evening Coffin Hoppers! Wait, I can’t hear you. I said, GOOD EVENING COFFIN HOPPERS! Ok, much better that time around. I interrupt this year’s Coffin Hop to bring you the Main Event. Tonight, author Tim Lebbon steps into the ring and faces off with the “10 Questions”. Tim Lebbon is hands down, one of the best writers in the game today. His work has been a great influence and I hope to one day be half as good as the three guys I’m standing with in the picture. At Horrorfind 2011, I was a new author and arrived full of dreams and my first con reading slot. The weekend became a validation for me choosing to pursue writing. Before the con and during, I had the opportunity to speak with Tim a bit about the craft, the Hollywood horrors he’s encountered, and drink some beers. I’m going to stop blabbing and get on with what you all hopped over here for. Ladies and gentlemen, Tim Lebbon. (Note: The interview is from a few days ago and not from 2011)
TIM LEBBON is a New York Times-bestselling writer from South Wales. He’s had almost thirty novels published to date, as well as dozens of novellas and hundreds of short stories. His most recent releases include Coldbrook
from Arrow/Hammer, London Eye
(book one of the Toxic City
trilogy) from Pyr in the USA, Nothing as it Seems
from PS Publishing, and The Heretic Land
from Orbit, as well as The Secret Journeys of Jack London
series(co-authored with Christopher Golden), Echo City,
and the Cabin in the Woods
Future novels include Into the Void: Dawn of the Jedi (Star Wars)
from Del Rey/Star Wars Books. He has won four British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Scribe Award, and has been a finalist for International Horror Guild, Shirley Jackson, and World Fantasy Awards.
20th Century Fox acquired film rights to The Secret Journeys of Jack London series, and he and Golden wrote the first draft of the screenplay. He has a TV series in development in the USA, and he’s also working on new screenplays, both solo and in collaboration with Stephen Volk.
Current books include the apocalyptic thriller COLDBROOK, first book in the Toxic City trilogy LONDON EYE, huge collection from PS Publishing NOTHING AS IT SEEMS, and fantasy novel THE HERETIC LAND.
1. Your work expands across many genres. There are entries in horror, fantasy, and now science fiction. Which genre has been your favorite to write in and why?
I don’t really have a favourite, as genre is never forefront in my mind when I’m writing (although see below…). I write what interests me at the time, what floats my boat, and I’m never consciously reminding myself, ‘Oh, this is a science fiction book’ or ‘Oh yeah, this is for a fantasy publisher, needs more elves’. I’m always aware when I begin of how the book is going to be published — for instance, The Heretic Land for Orbit was always going to be a fantasy novel — but once I have the germ of the initial idea, I always let my imagination run wild, and rarely stay within any particular boundaries. Coldbrook could be a horror, could be science fiction, could be dark fantasy. And it’s a love story, too. With zombies. Although fear not … they’re not doing the lovin’.
2. You have written numerous books with Christopher Golden (Jack London series and the Hidden Cities to name a few). What can we expect from the two of you in the future concerning these series and is there anything else you two are cooking up?
We’re working on a new novel proposal right now, something quite different and very exciting. We’re also talking about some TV series ideas, hoping we’ll get a chance to pitch them. We work so well together –– we’re very good friends, and we seem to fire the creative spark in each other –– so we’ll always have something bubbling away.
3. Noreela, what was the genesis for your fantasy world and are the tales from here complete?
I’d love to write more Noreela stories, but I doubt I’ll write another novel. The name itself is an anagram of my daughter Eleanor’s name. It was my first alternate-world fantasy novel, and the original idea for DUSK came from musing upon the magic used in many/most fantasy novels … I wanted to write one where the magic no longer existed. The world, as you can imagine, was built gradually over the course of four novels and several novellas and short stories, and I’d love to visit again.
4. The next genre you are taking by storm is science fiction. I am a huge Star Wars fan and when it was revealed you were going to write a book in the series, I was surprised (in a good way). How did the “Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi” book come about and what was it like working in the galaxy far, far away? How did writing in an established universe compare to writing a movie adaptation?
It came about because an editor I’d worked with on an original Hellboy novel moved to LucasBooks, and they were looking for someone to write the first Dawn of the Jedi novel. Very flattered that they chose me. It was, I have to admit, a complete joy writing a Star Wars novel, and I enjoyed it more than any other tie-in novel I’ve done (originals in Hellboy and 30 Days of Night universes, and a couple of novelisations). There were constraints, of course, but I created my own characters and story within those guidelines, and had a wonderful time doing so. I’d love to visit the universe again. We’ll see.
And actually, I’d have to say that I consider Star Wars as fantasy, not really science fiction. Of course there are spaceships and other worlds, but it’s a fantasy galaxy, not our own –– it’s not a projection of how we might advance. Maybe that’s why I loved writing it so much … I was world building again, creating monsters and lands and societies. Great fun!
5. Christopher Golden, Simon Clark, and Gavin Williams are a few of the authors you have worked with in the past. What was it like co-authoring a book and how did the process with each author vary?
Processes are always slightly different. I love collaborating, it makes writing not a lonely business, and two collaborators create a unique voice distinct from their own. A fascinating process. I’ll always collaborate … with Chris, of course, but there are always other projects being talked about, both screenplays and novels.
6. People are clamoring for follow ups to the “Assassin” series and the third act of “Naming of Parts” and “Changing of Faces”. Are there any plans for these in the near future?
Yes, the third PS novella is contracted and I’ll be working on it soon. As for the Assassin series, I was thinking about that only today, and I’d love to continue it. Need to find a publisher first now that Necessary Evil Press seem to have gone away. Watch this space! Hmmm …. maybe I should look into Kickstarter?
7. Which book did you have the most fun writing and why?
Honestly don’t think I can choose one. Maybe I should say it’s the one I’m going to work on next.
8. How did you get started in the writing profession and what was the toughest lesson you had to learn?
I started in the same way most genre writers start … selling to the small presses (my first check was for £2.50), improving, learning my craft, getting better, finding more success, seeing my first novel published, and then year by year things better and better. Mostly they still do. You learn a lot about the business as you move on, and as you become more known, more things start to happen. You have to work your ass off, of course. And strive to keep getting better. If ever I thought, ‘Well, I’m as good as I can get,’ that’d be time to switch off the laptop and become a plumber. I work hard to better myself and feel that a writer’s craft is never complete. There’s always more to learn.
9. “White”has been rumored to be coming to the screen numerous times as well as the Jack London books. How have your dealings with Hollywood been and is there anything getting close to becoming a reality?
White is still in the background, and it might happen one day. Similarly with Jack London, that’s still under option to 20th Century Fox. I’ve had maybe a dozen other options that reached varying stages before … going away. That’s what usually happens. But there is some exciting news I can’t reveal yet about a potential TV series … so keep an eye on my website and Facebook for an announcement soon.
10. Pimp yourself here. Where can people go to find out more about Tim Lebbon?
I waste many hours on Facebook and Twitter, you can always find me there. But best place for announcements etc is http://www.timlebbon.net
Bonus Question (This question is optional): “War Pigs”. Where do you and Brian Keene stand on getting this going or is it dead for now?
Ha! That one’s never dead. We talk about it every time we meet up. Maybe one day …
Thanks again Tim, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to sit down and pick your brain.