2014 EVENTS:
Holly Bourne, Non Pratt and James Dawson - 30th October
Becca Fitzpatrick - 15th November

Friday, 17 October 2014

Q&A With Lucy Inglis - City of Halves

Friday, 17 October 2014

London. Girls are disappearing. They've all got one thing in common; they just don't know it yet. Sixteen-year-old Lily was meant to be next, but she's saved by a stranger: a half-human boy with gold-flecked eyes. Regan is from an unseen world hidden within our own, where legendary creatures hide in plain sight. But now both worlds are under threat, and Lily and Regan must race to find the girls, and save their divided city.

1. What inspired you to write City of Halves (COH)?

The City of London is my home and I love how it always feels there's a different story around every corner. I wanted to write a book about those stories.

2. What was the first story you wrote and what happened to it?

I was always writing, but the first story of any length I wrote was when I was 19. I wrote a shortish novel of 65k words about a mute Anglo-Saxon girl who survived a Viking massacre. Women with dialogue are very rare in Anglo-Saxon literature, so I had the idea to translate that into real life, with a girl who couldn't speak. I lost it in a hard drive crash that summer. Back up back up, people!

3.If you could only take 5 books to a desert island, what 5 would they be?

Ooooo. Wuthering Heights to remind me that people do very, very bad things in the name of love. The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations to remind me of thousands of different and important moments in history, seen through the eyes of poets, statesmen and women, and writers through the ages. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, because the two main characters live beyond the page and could keep me company. The collected poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, because they're so funny and bawdy and clever. Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan, because, as one reviewer said, it feels like it was written by candlelight for future generations. 

4. What fictional character would you like to spend the day with and why?

I hope it isn't big-headed to say that at the moment I'd love to spent the day with one of the MC's in my new book, set in Montana. He's a railroad scout and he makes me laugh all the time.

5. Do you have a set writing process?

Previously, I would have said no. But I'm increasingly realising the value of very tight plotting. It makes everything much faster, but you have to know, absolutely, your characters and their motivations. For my most recent book I started with ideas, then on one A4 page I wrote out a list of chapters with a line about what happened in each, then I took that out to a page for each chapter, with detailed noted about what happens, why and the three most important things in that chapter. I revised that about five times until I had a working story. Then I started to write.

6. How did you celebrate when you knew COH would be published?

I went out for Japanese food with my lovely husband, which is what we always do when we have something to celebrate.

7.Do you have a dream cast for if COH were to be turned into a film?

Oh, really tough! Um, not as such. I think I have more really strong ideas about what they shouldn't look like. 

8. What books did you enjoy as a teenager?

I was particularly attached to a big book (actually a trilogy in one volume) by Gillian Bradshaw, called Down the Long Wind. It's about Arthurian legend and I loved it.

9. How did you create such a wide variety of characters, some human and some not so human. And do you have a favourite one to write?

Lots of the characters are part of London myth and legend, so I just had to give them their own personalities. I loved writing Felix, who is a real street sweeper in the City of London - always in his sunglasses! - and people seem to like him as a character. And I love Lily, obviously. I wanted her not to be drippy like loads of recent heroines. She tough, independent and has a really strong sense of herself and right and wrong.

10.If you were a bookseller, how would you recommend your book to customers?

An urban fantasy that will have you on the lookout for dragons, two-headed dogs, mermaids and secret agents around every corner.

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