Thursday, September 06, 2012

Interview with Tom Pollock, author of The City's Son - September 6, 2012

Please welcome Tom Pollock to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Tom's debut, The City's Son (The Skyscraper Throne 1) will be published on September 8, 2012 in the US. You may read Tom's Guest Blog - Three Stories You Probably Never Knew Were Urban Fantasy - here.

There will be a live online launch event for The City's Son with Tom today, September 6, 2012, from 3-4 PM Central Standard Time. To participate go to:

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

Tom:  You mean as product or process? If the former, my relentless urge to mythologise everything I can get my hands on. If the latter, probably the way I speak every line aloud to myself under my breath while I'm writing. For interesting there, read intensely annoying for those around me, obviously.

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

Tom:  Oh gosh, way too many to count. I think The City's Son lists Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Patrick Ness, Alan Garner, and David Almond as direct influences. The Glass Republic will certainly add Ursula Le Guin to that list. On top of them, I love John Le Carre, Frances Hardinge and Jon Courtenay Grimwood, though you might not be able to see it so much in the work. To be honest I'm kind of a sponge, I'm influenced by pretty much anything I read.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Tom:  The most disorganized and effort-intensive mix of both. I start out plotting, get over excited and then start writing before I'm done. Coast for a bit. Get stuck. Cry, rage, eat junk food. Whine that it should be easier and then go back to plotting. No one should ever try and learn from me.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Tom:  Ha! The remorseless availability of sugar as a distraction mechanism. No, seriously. I have to write outside the house. Otherwise my fridge and my page are both empty at the end of the day.

TQ:  Describe The City's Son in 140 characters or less.

Tom:  Teenage graffiti artist & homeless crown prince of London wage secret war on crane-fingered god of demolition. With monsters, many monsters.

(I tested it on twitter. 140 exact.)

TQ:  What inspired you to write The City's Son?

Tom:  This is kind of post-facto rationalization, but looking back I was trying to build a mythology for the modern city. Something that would do for the urban what dryads and nyads did for the pastoral in greek myth. So I put glass skinned spirits in the streetlamps and animated the trains with lightning heeled Railwraiths, stuff like that.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The City's Son?

Tom:  For the bulk of the story, the only research I needed was a spot of ambling around the city, squinting at electricity pylons, statues and cranes with a speculative eye. One of the joys of setting something in your own backyard, saves on wikipedia cruising.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Tom:  The easiest character to write, hands down, was Victor. He's a homeless Russian dude who enters the story about half way through with dozens of tall stories about madcap capers in the Soviet Union, to listen to him, he was in the army, the kgb, the politburo and the diplomatic corps, and held a pivotal role in pretty much every major turning point in the cold war. The thing is, he rather unnervingly keeps displaying skills that indicate all his tall tales are true. The hardest to write was probably Electra, she's a Sodiumite, a streetlamp spirit. The Sodiumites are mute and communicate in semphores of light, they use electromagnetic fields like telekinesis, they dance to silent rhythmic pulses of light and have dances they wield as weapons. I wanted a sense of a very different, strange culture and writing from inside that POV was interesting, but tough.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The City's Son?

Tom:  Ooh, tough one. There's a scene where my two female leads, Beth and Pen, are running out across the night time city, tagging it with graffiti and scrawled poetry. It's a reaffirmation of their friendship, a ritual and a shared adventure and I'm really pleased with it. That, and the scene where the giant scaffolding wolves attack, of course.

TQ:  What's next?

Tom:  Next is the sequel, The Glass Republic - It's about beauty, and the sinister uses it can be put to, scars and revolution. Pen's the lead character. I like to think that The City's Son gives you a broad spectrum intro to the world of the Skyscraper Throne, Glass Republic is a deep dive.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Tom:  Thank you!

The City's Son

The City's Son
The Skyscraper Throne 1
Flux, September 8, 2012 (US)
Hardcover and eBook, 480 pages

"Gritty, dynamic, and beautiful.
I can't wait for more."
author of Blood Magic

Running from her traitorous best friend and her estranged father, graffiti artist Beth Bradley is looking for sanctuary. What she finds is Filius, the ragged and cocky crown prince of London’s mystical underworld. Filius opens Beth’s eyes to the city she’s never truly seen—where vast spiders crawl telephone wires seeking voices to steal, railwraiths escape their tethers, and statues conceal an ancient priesthood robed in bronze.

But it all teeters on the brink of destruction. Amid rumors that Filius’s goddess mother will soon return from her 15-year exile, Reach, a malign god of urban decay, wants the young prince dead. Helping Filius raise an alleyway army to reclaim his skyscraper throne, Beth soon forgets her old life. But when her best friend is captured, Beth must choose between this wondrous existence and the life she left behind.

The UK Cover
(Published August 2, 2012 by Jo Fletcher Books)

About Tom

© Mia Whitmore Photography
Inventor of monsters, hugger of bears, shameless prevaricator (i.e. fiction writer) Tom writes about strange creatures and unlikely friendships in the hidden corners of the city, and his first novel The City's Son, is released on 2nd August in the UK and 4th of September in the US. You can grab him on Twitter at @tomhpollock. Fair warning, he may pun at you. He's deplorable that way.

Website : Twitter


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