Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Interview with Ben Aaronovitch and Giveaway - February 2, 2011

Please welcome author Ben Aaronovitch to The Qwillery for the first in our 2011 Debut Author Challenge interviews.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Ben:  I wouldn't know about interesting but somewhat, shall we say, autistic about counting the words I write. I have an EXCELL spreadsheet on which I not only do a daily log (with a progress graph) but gives a percentage of each chapter completed, average writing speed (total) average writing speed (last 7 days) and estimated completion date based on both averages plus it constantly updates the minimum daily word count required for me to complete on time. Like I said, just a tad obsessive.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Ben:  Generally my influences are quite wide; Andre Norton, Heinlein, Azimov, Moorcock, Ballard, Aldiss, Wyndham, LeGuin, William Gibson, Bujold, Cherryh, PKD and Sir Terry Pratchett (obviously). Non SFF, Umberto Eco, Bill Bryson, Rupert Graves, PD James, Jeremy Brett, Ed McBain (in particular for the Peter Grant books) and Elmore Leonard.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Ben:  I go with whatever is working at the time and give thanks when I reach my word target by the end of the day. It's always good to have at least a scaffold when you're writing but you mustn't mistake the scaffold for the final building. Also if you're writing anything with a mystery component than you must keep track of where your stories gone so far.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Midnight Riot / Rivers of London?

Ben:  I find ideas sort of sneak up on you. One minute I was happily ignorant of Peter Grant's existence and then - bang - he's taking over my life.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Midnight Riot / Rivers of  London?

Ben:  There are two directions for research. The first involves spotting something interesting in your travels, or reading or whatever and filing it away for future use. The second is more directed - for that I usually start with an internet sweep to establish what's available online and how reliable it is, if it's a location I try and visit the place, if it's an organisation I look for sources (official or otherwise), I buy books for preference, so I write in them, but if that's impracticable I have reading privileges at the British Library and the London Metropolitan Archive. Museums are also very useful since they also serve as research facilities, the London Museum particularly useful for me of course.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the book?

Ben:  The ghost chase in Chapter 13.

TQ:  How many books are planned for the Rivers of London series?

Ben:  I intend to write these books until I run out of ideas or they tell me to stop - whichever comes first.

TQ:  What's next?

Ben:  Cool jazz in Soho. A faceless man. Some old style London gangsters. Women who love music too much. Some history. Rooftop chases by moonlight.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Ben:  Very nice of you to have me.

Ben's Books

Midnight Riot / Rivers of London
Rivers of London 1
(Del Rey - February 1, 2011)
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

You can read my review of Midnight Riot / Rivers of London here.
Moon Over Soho
Rivers of London 2
(Del Rey - March 1, 2011)

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

UK Covers 

About Ben
Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. He had parents, some brothers, some sisters and a dog named after a Russian cosmonaut. He also had the kind of dull childhood that drives a person to drink, radical politics or science fiction.
Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world's cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin's New Adventures until they pulped all his books.
Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake's 7 Audio dramas. Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller.
Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).
At some point during the above, the most important thing in his life happened and he became a father to a son, Karifa, whom he affectionately refers to as 'The Evil Monster Boy'. The Evil Monster Boy will be reaching university age soon, so all donations will be gratefully received.
Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

Ben's & Peter's Links:

The Folly:
Twitter:  @Ben_Aaronovitch

Peter's Blog:
Peter's Twitter:  @PC_Peter_Grant

The Giveaway
What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback of Midnight Riot.
How:  Leave a comment telling The Qwillery whether you like the US Covers or UK Covers better? Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
You may receive additional entries by:
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.
Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.
*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. I think I like the Uk covers better. I find them more...let's say relaxing, probably because of the colors!

    + 1 follower
    +1 comment
    +1 twitter!/AliasLucia/status/32822630989959168

  2. Uk Cover! I never a fan of cover with real people.

    I'm a GFC follower, I also tweeted in here:!/LynossaDBL/status/32832515718774785


  3. +1 I'm a follower and would go with the US covers!

  4. Great interview! I like the UK covers better. In fact, I like the UK title better, too! :)

    +3: comment, follower, retweeted

  5. I like the UK covers better!
    Thanks you!


  6. I like the UK covers better. I think the maps add a bit to the idea that one is reading a mystery centered on a certain section of a city.

    +1 for comment
    +1 I am a Follower via GFC.

    Thanks for the giveaway and for opening it to worldwide entries.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  7. If I went in to the bookstore completely ignorant of thise series, I'd probably more likely pick up the US cover because it screams UF to me and that's what I love. But I think the UK covers are much more intriguing. I wouldn't really have a guess as the the novel's genre by the UK cover, the way I would with the US cover, but I'd definitely pick it up off the shelf to find out.

    It's close because they're so different, but I think I like the UK covers a bit more.

    +1 follower

    Sara M
    sara_UFblog [at] yahoo [dot] com

  8. I think I like the US covers more (:

    +1 Comment
    +1 Following


  9. I like the US covers best!

    +1 follower
    +1 comment

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  10. I prefer the US covers.

    +1 Comment
    +1 GFC follower

  11. I prefer the US covers.

    +1 follower
    +1 comment

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  12. I like the US covers more. It's more eye-catching.
    +1 GFC follower.
    +1 comment.


  13. I really like the UK cover better.It just Grabbed me..Whimsical...But Still knowing its a Dark Story.. +1 follower +1 comment +twitter and RT as well..I agree Great Interview..Will Post on BN UF/Paranormal as well..

  14. I like the US covers better, they seem a bit more adult to me :)

    +1 Follower
    +1 Comment
    +1 Twitter (!/TakingItOneBook)


  15. Hi, I like the UK Rivers of London cover because it suggests a crime story in London whereas the US one seems more blokey/aggresive and doesn't appeal to me so much.

    + 1 follower
    + 1 comment
    + 1 twitter
    + 1 blog post (

    To contact please tweet @Pippyz
    Many thanks.

  16. I agree with a lot of what has been said about the covers. I really love the UK ones, but I don't know if I'd have guessed the type of book. On the other hand, I haven't read the books, so I can't say which of the covers gives a better feel for what the book's about.

    Just like someone said, the UK covers would make me pick the book up, but I probably wouldn't have pegged it as UF.

    By looking at the covers, you'd almost think that the US covers were designed to appeal to male consumers and the UK ones more to female consumers.

    +1 Follower
    +1 Tweeted!/MarieIvarsson/status/35486114147999744