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Christopher Fowler

answers the Usual Questions

photo, Christopher Fowler, courtesy of the author; 220x268

Christopher Fowler

Christopher Fowler is the author of over thirty novels and twelve short story collections, and the Bryant & May mystery novels, which record the adventures of two Golden Age detectives investigating impossible London crimes.

He spent many years working in film, creating movie posters, trailers and documentaries.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

I think so. I seem to have a vociferous and frighteningly loyal readership; I run a daily blog, and they interact heavily with me (probably because I answer personally).

I have a couple of superfans who apparently know where I'm going to be before I do, and whenever I'm stuck on a story I ask them for advice. I don't always take it, of course.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

I have one fan whom I christened Stalky. The next time I saw him sitting in an audience, he opened his jacket to reveal his new T-shirt with the word 'Stalky' emblazoned across it. I totally forgot what I was saying.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Too many, too often. I run a weekly column called Invisible Ink in a national newspaper, the Independent, about forgotten authors, so my tastes can be a bit esoteric. I love JG Ballard, Mervyn Peake, Joe Haldeman, Harlan Ellison, John Cheever, Raymond Carver, but also overlooked writers like Dino Buzzati, Pamela Branch and Edmund Crispin. Movies like Rosemary's Baby and Witchfinder General used to influence me, but now many of the new Spanish gothic thrillers like The Valdemar Inheritance and The Hidden Face have affected me. But standing astride them all, Dickens. I return to his books again and again to learn new lessons.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Ballard in a spaceship. They say never meet your heroes. I used to write to Jim Ballard and he always wrote back. Then one day I had a chance to meet him after the premiere of Crash. I thought Cronenberg's film was a travesty of the book, and ducked out. Wish I hadn't done that now.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. Actually I'd like to be in the lift with him because I could tell him exactly what I think of the policies which have hollowed London out and left our heritage to Russian gangsters.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Probably silly pocket-sized stuff given to me by friends before they died. A little armadillo, a toucan, an Egyptian box with a scarab beetle on it.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I'd like to write one perfect short story that I was entirely satisfied with. Novels are never perfect, but I think you can get close to paradise with short fiction.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

People always point out that it's a lonely job. But the you get one letter from someone that drives you to do it all over again. I had one from a lady who told me that one of my books got her through the death of her mother. Those are letters you keep all your life.

submitted by Christopher Fowler

23 August 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: 1953 London England
Resides: King's Cross, London and Barcelona
This is embarrassing. I don't keep track of them. I know I've won around six British Fantasy Awards and a whole bunch of crime awards, plus some other stuff including Best Autobiography for 'Paperboy'. I seem to have a lot of strange statuettes.
See his web site for bibliography

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