If you want the official version, Christopher Fowler is the award-winning author of over 40 novels and short story collections, including the Bryant & May mysteries, recording the adventures of two Golden Age detectives in modern-day London. His most recent books were the haunted house thriller Nyctophobia and The Burning Man. Other work includes screenplays, videogames, graphic novels and audio plays. He won the CWA Dagger In The Library this year for outstanding work and has a weekly column in The Independent On Sunday. He lives in King’s Cross, London and Barcelona and daily updates his fairly unusual blog.
Your latest novel, The Sand Men, is published by Solaris. I finished it recently, and enjoyed it. How would you introduce it to a potential reader?
I like thrillers that ask awkward questions about our world. It’s about what happens when old and new cultures clash, in this case, Dubai’s fast-forward rush into the future, and the damage it inflicts on people.
What inspired you to write the novel? And where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
In this case I visited Dubai and was fascinated by its paradoxes. Also, I’m a massive fan of J.G. Ballard, and felt that this would have been something he’d have written about had he lived longer. I love traveling, and the places and the people I meet breed new ideas for books.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
As a broke kid through secondhand bookshops and places like London’s Forbidden Planet.
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
It’s all I’ve ever done since I was 12, writing to newspapers for pocket money. It’s all I know. I love it but I wish they’d let novelists write screenplays more than they do.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
I write full time and treat it like any other job, except I tend to work through weekends as well, and always carry a laptop with me. I’m always researching either by reading or talking to people.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
I knew I wanted to write at seven. My earliest books like City Jitters and Roofworld look very naïve to me now, but I guess there’s a freshness to them. Each new project is an adventure.
What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
I grew up in more experimental times. Things are too straight-laced for me today, neatly fitting into categories. I fall between the crakcs in what is sometimes termed ‘edge fiction’.
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a big fantasy, three crime novels and a thriller, plus a creepy play which I’m writing with Kim Newman. Plus, 20 of my backlist titles are coming out as e-books with new matching covers.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
Paul McAuley, some Golden Age detective fiction, rereading Ray Bradbury and trying not to break my fifth Kindle!
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I once stood in for James Bond, released a Christmas single and featured as the villain in a DC Batman comic.
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
After producing four books in a row, a vacation far far away!
Christopher Fowler’s The Sand Men is out now in the UK and US, published by Solaris Books. You can read my review here. For more on Christopher Fowlers writing and novels, be sure to check out his website, and follow him on Twitter and Goodreads.