Thank you to Jasper Fforde for answering our interview questions (he asked for zany questions, as interviews can be very drab evidentially)!
Want to know more about this fantastic author? Click here to see his awesome site!
1. In the Thursday Next Series, do you think it would be possible for Jurisfiction Agents to jump into alternate realities which also contain the same classics as their plane of existence? (by classics I mean books like Jayne Eyre, Pride & Prejudice or Hamlet for instance)
It's an interesting thought, and here's my take on it: Perhaps books are the only constant in the Multiverse, and by jumping into a book and then jumping out again, one could enter an entirely new plane of existence and/or timeline? I hope to explore this and many other astoundingly diverse and incredible ideas that will tax my reader's patience and imagination when Thursday Next 8: Dark Reading Matter is eventually written. Given my large workload at present, I don't see this happening anytime soon. 2018, perhaps?
2. When I was reading Song of the Quarkbeast and Once Magnificent Boo was explaining the types of quarkbeasts to Jennifer (pg. 173 in the US version) it reminded me strongly of a scene in the 1987 film Roxanne - when Daryl Hannah’s character was explaining what quarks were to Steve Martin’s character. My question is this, did you draw any inspiration from or were you influenced by this movie at all when writing this scene?
Well, I certainly saw the film and greatly enjoyed it - especially the 'twenty nose insults' scene and the 'damn, locked - good job I have the key' one liner, so it's possible. Oddly enough, this happens quite a lot. I was rereading the Moomintroll stories by Tove Jansson to my young daughter, and out popped a line construction I knew that I had used in the Thursday Next series. I didn't know I had, but I had. That's the odd thing about being a writer - it's like having a mind like a drift net that dredges up little snippets of Stuff to use at a later date. Writing is often pretty odd, really. Even the finest exponents of the art are at odds to describe how it all works.
3. Can you tell us anything about your up coming super-secret stand alone novel? Even if it’s just the postcards you might give away with it?
It's a mystery thriller set in a world where humans have always hibernated, November to March. To protect the inviolable sanctity of the sleepstate there exist Sleep Marshalls who ensure that villainy does not prevail. It does, naturally. John Fugue is a probationary marshall stranded over winter in Sector Twelve, an isolated backwater where a half dozen marshalls look after ten thousand or so sleeping residents. It is also the home of Morpheus Industries, the pharmaceutical giant that manufactures Morphenox, a dream suppressant designed to ensure that weightloss during hibernation is kept to a minimum. As a result, no-one in the Morphenoxed overclass dream, and especially not John Fugue. But he does. And other people have been having it too, with fatal results.
4. Have you ever had an idea for a promotional give away which seemed to outlandish to even attempt?
Yes - I had an idea for making flickbooks, but the cost was too prohibitive.
5. Were you influenced by Agatha Christie at all when writing your Nursery Crime series? (since she used several nursery rhymes in her mysteries)
Most certainly. I read tons of Agatha Christies during those lazy afternoons that seem only to exist when a teenager, and one I particularly liked was 'A Pocket full of Rye' in which the victims were bumped off in a manner that suggested they were actually characters from the nursery rhyme: 'Sing a song of Sixpence/ a pocket full of rye/ four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.'. I remember thinking how cool it would be if they really were from the rhyme, but they weren't, of course - it was a Red Herring. The idea clearly stuck with me, as years later I wrote the Nursery Crime series. I didn't use that particular rhyme in any of my books.
6. If you had to spend one year on a desert island with your favorite & least favorite fictional character who would they be?
Tricky one, this, and not with out some precedence in reality. I was stuck in an elevator once with Uriah Heep which was pretty awful, and a long car journey from Des Moines to Pittsburgh with Ishmael was, while initially interesting, repetitive when he went on long digressions about the different types of whale in almost ridiculous (and in some cases erroneous) detail. The last time I undertook an overwinter at the Antarctic research station was one in which Catherine Earnshaw was also present but as what I don't recall. She spent most of the winter banging on about Heathcliffe. A Danish virologist left the station and was never seen again. No-one knew why, but we always thought 'Earny' had something to do with it.
7. What is your favorite spice? And why?
This is a difficult question, but it was pretty much all we were talking about in the late nineties here in the UK. At the time it was probably Sporty Spice as she was the least affected and apparently the most normal, but in retrospect perhaps Ginger Spice, as she seems to have the most interesting insights about what the Spice Girls meant, and the phenomenon of 'Girl Power' and how it relates to ongoing women's issues.
8. Can you explain Cricket in 50 words or less to us Americans?
Of course. There are two teams; one who is IN, and one who is OUT. The team who is OUT has to get the team who is IN, OUT. Once the team who was IN are all OUT, then the team who were OUT are now IN, and they have to get the who is now IN, OUT. There is usually a good tea involved afterwards, and it is expressly forbidden to show appreciation in anything but a reserved clapping of the hands. Cricket also has laws, not rules, and some excellent nomenclature: A 'Googly' is bowling term used to describe a reverse spin leg break ball (that cleared that up) and 'Silly mid on' which is a position on the pitch for a fielder that is really far closer to a man wielding a heavy bat than you'd like to be. Simple, really.
9. Any final words?
Thanks for the questions, and hope to see Seattle in the next US tour - for Early Riser.
Thank you once again for the interview! - Seattle Mystery Bookshop