An interview with Tony Ballantyne, author of Dream Paris

tonyPlease welcome Tony Ballantyne back to the blog! Dream Paris, the followup to Dream London, just came out and he kindly answered a few of my questions about it!
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Will you tell us a little about what we can expect from Dream Paris, your follow up to Dream London?

A definite conclusion! Dream London raised quite a few questions, I think that Dream Paris answers them.

What have been a few of your favorite characters in these books?

Mr Monagan, the giant frogman, and Anna the seventeen year old narrator of Dream Paris were both my favourite characters from Dream London, which is probably why they made it into the new book. I also really like Francis, the soldier who can be seen on the cover of Dream Paris with a wire trailing from his back. Francis and Anna go together, the tension between them made the book come alive for me.

What kind of research did you do for the series?

I read quite a few books (of course!) on the history of Paris and the French Revolution. More importantly, I spent a few days in Paris acting as a Flâneur. Simply put, I got up at seven and spent the day walking the streets and writing down what I saw. I drank coffee in cafes and ate several large meals in restaurants. Honestly, it’s a tough job being a writer sometimes.

You’ve got more than a few titles under your belt and have a background in math and IT, but have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes! Ever since I started to read I’ve wanted to be a writer.

What’s one of the first things you can remember writing?

I remember writing a poem for school when I must have been 9 or 10 years old. The teacher said I’d copied it out of a book. Even as a child I wasn’t that bothered at being told off. I still think it was one of the most sincere pieces of praise I’ve ever been given!

Has your writing process changed since you first started writing?

Oh yes! Every first draft I’ve written has been done in less time than the previous one. I’ve got much better at just following the flow, at missing out the bits I’m not sure about and at simply getting the story down on the page. I keep more notes now than I’ve ever done, I write down more conversations and ideas.

I also redraft more times than I used to, I rewrite sentences many more times. I think I spend the same total amount of time writing a story, but spread out over a far larger span of time. Also, I’m a lot more confident in rejecting material that doesn’t come up to the mark.

It’s been a while since we caught up. Have you read any good books lately? Anything you’d recommend?

Too many to list them all!

One book that made a great impression on me was Patti Smith’s Just Kids, her account of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, just before they became famous. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

I really enjoyed AM Holmes’s This Book Will Save Your Life which really was full of little unexpected pleasures.

Oh yes, and Sarah Waters’s The Paying Guests was utterly gripping

What are you currently reading?

I’m just finishing re-reading Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye. SF has changed a lot over the last forty years or so. It’s interesting to go back and see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same.

What’s next for you?

I’ve got a couple of short story commitments to fulfil, and then I think I’ll try a little Light Space Opera…

Keep up with Tony: Website | Twitter


About Dream Paris:
The geography-warping invasion that took over London has been defeated, but thousands of Londonders are missing…Tony Ballantyne reveals a world where reality can no longer be relied upon, in this amazing sequel to Dream London.

Anna is doing her best: there are lots of other seventeen year olds who are living alone in the partially rebuilt ruins of London. She hopes that by keeping things clean and tidy and by studying hard she can keep the dreams away…

But then a tall, dark stranger with eyes like a fly enters her life. He claims to know where the missing people of London have ended up. He might even know the location of Anna’s missing parents. Anna can help, but to do that she will have to let go of what little normality she has managed to gather around herself and begin the journey to Dream Paris..

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