Sunday, 9 May 2010
Is Shadowcombe a real place?
Not entirely. I live on Exmoor, a stunningly beautiful (but pretty isolated) place in South-West England and it's fair to say that the landscape of Samael is based on what I see around me. For a fair few years I lived in a very remote valley and that was certainly the inspiration for the world Gen finds herself in. The village of Shadowcombe is a bit of a composite of a few Exmoor hamlets and villages. The inspiration for the 'Mouth' comes from a narrow gorge that is nearer to Taunton - I have taken the writer's prerogative and transposed it. However, I didn't want to make the setting too precise. I think you can find Shadowcombes in many places - not just in England or even the UK but around the world.
Did you base Gen on yourself?
No way! I would love to be like Gen but I fear we're very different. Gen has a deep sense of who she is - she's pretty strong. But she's also kind and warm-hearted. I'm nowhere near as balanced and sussed as she is. I guess we share a few characteristics though - I love to paint big and wild too (and like Gen tend to paint strange people I have never met). I also love music (and we share a very similar taste in tracks) and horses. Gen is a much better rider than I am though...
Why are Gen's parents rock stars?
Because I thought it would be way cool. I used to work as a journalist for a newspaper and part of my job was interviewing musicians and going to music biz parties. Some of the 'stars' were lovely and some were total jerks. It's quite an unreal world and, if people get success young (as Gen's parents did) it can unrail them. So in many ways, Gen has parents who have never really grown up properly - even at 16, she is in many ways more mature than they are.
Gen doesn't like Twilight. Do you feel the same?
No. I loved the Twilight series. In fact, I love the whole 'dark romance' genre that Twilight spawned. Personally I don't get off on the idea of vampire lovers though - Edward is a bit too marble and cold for my taste - I'm firmly in Camp Jacob, I fear. But my supernatural creatures of choice have always been angels/demons (such a fine line between the two)... Samael is my total heart-throb. Though Zeke is a very close second. I don't envy Gen having to choose.
How do you write? Do you have any rituals?
I'm worse than a mage! Normally I write straight onto my PC but this book demanded to be written longhand. So I scribble it out in Moleskine notebooks (it has to be Moleskine) and then have to type it all up. It's a huge pain. I have a candle burning - scents are hugely important in Samael but the one I use for writing is Relax by Aromatherapy Associates (they've just stopped doing it and so I've stockpiled enough to get me through the writing and editing - I hope).
There is a lot of music in the book - why is that?
I don't know really. My last book had a very 'natural' soundtrack - I worked on it in silence and all the sounds in it were organic - birdsong, wind, rain. Samael is very different. My muse for the book was Seth Lakeman's music and that wild fiddle runs right the way through. But really there's an entire soundtrack - mainly rock and indie-folk. Joan Osborne, Marianne Faithfull, Nick Drake, Roddy Frame, The Killers and so on.
The rituals seem pretty realistic. Would they work?
Not entirely. I have studied shamanism, Wicca and the Western Mystery Tradition ('magic') for absolutely years but I have purposely kept the rituals a little vague. It's not a great idea to go round trying to summon up demons on your own!
Are there going to be more books?
I hope so. Let's just say that things certainly aren't over between Gen and Samael, that's for sure...
Any more questions? Feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer....