Posted on February 17, 2011 in Fantasy
, Urban Fantasy
with 5 Comments
I recently asked Ben Aaronovitch if he would be willing to answer some questions about himself and his brand new urban fantasy series, and he graciously agreed!
Please welcome Ben to the blog!
My Bookish Ways: Ben, thank you so much for stopping by my blog! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Maybe something that many people may not know?
: I, like most people, find myself endlessly fascinating however I try to keep my ego under control and my personal life personal. Something you might not know is…. I went to the same school as my character (although he was born a couple of years after I’d left). It’s called Acland Burghley and it has produced some singers, Eddy Grant and Ms Dynamite amongst them, and some writers including Robert Muchamore
who wrote the acclaimed CHERUB series.
MBW: I loved Midnight Riot and Peter Grant is now one of my favorite characters. Any particular inspirations for Constable Peter Grant?
BA: He kind of turned up and started throwing his weight around. He’s got this restless energy to him and he’s always trying to push the story forward – this is not a bad quality in a character I hasten to add.
MBW: I noticed that you had a many of your research publications listed on your website, The Folly. Did you do all of your research yourself, or did you have help? I can imagine it was fascinating researching the ins and outs of the Metropolitan Police Service!
BA:I’d love to have a researcher but you’re all going to have to buy a lot more books before I can afford one. I try to anticipate what I’m going to need but I often end up desperately trying to find things out when I’m stuck halfway through a paragraph.
MBW: What made you finally decide to write your own novel?
BA:I needed to do something to revitalize my career and an original novel seemed the best bet. Plus I’d always wanted to write something away the interference of the gibbons that infest the media.
MBW: Congrats on The Rivers of London (UK title for Midnight Riot) reaching number 8 on the UK Hardback Fiction and Bestsellers Chart! How did you celebrate the news?
BA:I was at the SFX Weekender (a British SF convention) so I generally ran around with the paper gloating at my fellow authors and graciously allowed them to buy me drinks.
MBW: Can you tell us a bit about The Folly Tarot?
BA:It’s not an in-world thing, at least not yet, it came about when I was looking for an interesting way to mark out the various sections of the website. Each one is themed on an appropriate character or concept from the books. The Librarian is Professor Postmartin who appears in Moon Over Soho and the Star is Beverley Brook, the 4 of Cups is your generic blogger in a café while the 10 of Coins is based on the bookshop in Covent Garden where I used to work. More will turn up as characters are invented that match concepts in the major and minor arcana and I can persuade (or bribe) Bede Rogerson to design them.
MBW: Any particular authors you admire and draw inspiration from?
I’ve attested to the usual suspects before so I think I’ll draw attention here to how influential Ed McBain’s (who was really Evan Hunter) 87th Precinct novels are on the Folly books. The police procedural-ness of them and the attention to place are all inspired by them.
MBW: Do you have a plan on how many books you’d like to write in the Peter Grant series, or will you just see where he takes you?
BA:I’m writing book 3, I have plots for books 4-6 and a rough idea of where it might go but I’m not going to write them to exhaustion. That said Peter Grant, Lesley, Nightingale, Beverley Brook, Oxley, Isis, Ash, the Little Crocodiles, the Faceless Man Lady Ty and Molly don’t seem at all keen to go into retirement just yet.
MBW: Finally, Moon Over Soho, the second Peter Grant novel, comes out in March. Can you give us a bit of a teaser?
‘The body’s downstairs in the gents’,’ said Stephanopoulos.The stairs down to the scene were so narrow that we had to wait for a herd of forensics types to come up before we could go down. There’s no such thing as a full-service forensics team. It’s very expensive, so you order bits of it up from the Home Office, like a Chinese takeaway. Judging by the number of noddy suits filing past us, Stephanopoulos had gone for the super-deluxe meal for six with extra egg fried rice. I was, I guessed, the fortune cookie. Like most toilets in the West End of London, the ones in the Groucho were cramped and low-ceilinged from being retrofitted into the basement of a townhouse. The management had lined them with alternating panels of brushed steel and cherry-red perspex – it was like a particularly creepy level of System Shock 2. This was not helped by the bloody footsteps leading out. ‘The cleaner found him,’ said Stephanopoulos, which explained the footsteps. On the left were square porcelain wash basins in front of a line of bog-standard urinals, and tucked away on the right, raised up a couple of steps, was the one and only toilet stall. The door was being held open with a couple of strips of masking tape. I didn’t need to be told what was inside.
From Moon Over Soho; chapter 3: A Long Drink of the Blues
You can visit Ben at his website HERE and grab a copy of Midnight Riot HERE!
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