Hello to Marite from Mexico, who got in touch this week to ask the following questions:

When you write, you think of incredible worlds?

I write what I love – stories that contain a lot of action and fantastical elements, particularly (heh!) monsters. So: a lot of my job as a writer, I think, is to take those incredible things and make them feel credible – realistic – to the reader. The reader has to believe in what’s happening in a story, or they won’t be taken along for the ride.

Are these worlds part of your imagination or something you see in your day to day life?

It’s a mixture: I think that’s the best way to make something feel real to the reader. Whether it’s a seven-way gladiatorial fight to the death in Hell (in The Black Tattoo), a building-shattering giant monster smackdown (in Tim, Defender of the Earth) or a horrifying secret alien takeover (Crawlers) – as an author, you do your best to make the reader believe that these things are really happening, by using realistic details from life. A lot of it comes from thinking about characters: if the people (or monsters!) these things are happening to feel real, with real feelings, real danger, then there’s a good chance that the reader will believe in the scene.

How do you describe these unimaginable, incredible, crazy worlds?

You imagine them as clearly as you possibly can, and you try to describe what it would be like to be there. It helps to think of the scene from the point of view of a person – that’s how we humans best perceive our world, after all. So: what can your character see from where they’re standing (or running, or flying, whatever!) What can they smell or taste or touch? What are they feeling? As a writer you can’t take pages and pages to describe a scene or world: the reader would get bored. You pick the details that will get the scene across to the reader as quickly and effectively as possible. And then (in my case at least) you get on with the action. ;D

Would you like-expect that the readers who read your book experience this?

I would hope so, yes, definitely. If they’re not picturing what’s happening and feeling what I want them to feel then that means they’re not fully immersed in the story. And that means I haven’t been doing my job properly.

Do you go through an endless chain of emotions during writing and reading?

I haven’t found an end to the chain so far! Communicating and experiencing emotion is one of the most important parts of all human creative endeavour, isn’t it?

Where do you usually read? write?

I do most of my writing where I’m sitting right now typing this: in my bedroom in my flat in north London, England, at a desk made out of two chests of drawers and the planks of a wardrobe that I took to pieces when I first moved here twelve years ago. Reading, however, I do EVERWHERE. I read first thing in the morning while I’m cleaning my teeth. I read last thing at night when I’m about to go to sleep, and in between I read at any chance I get – on trains, on the sofa, standing up, sitting down, wherever.

Thanks and best wishes to Marite and everyone who reads this.


PS: Here’s a little something I posted to TBM yesterday about one of my favourite authors, Neal Asher.