Thursday, April 25, 2013

Interview with Eric Brown and Giveaway - April 25, 2013

Please welcome Eric Brown to The Qwillery. The Serene Invasion will be published on April 30, 2013 by Solaris.

TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.

Eric:  Delighted to be facing the grilling...

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a panster?

Eric:  Both. In the early stages of a novel I plot it roughly in stages or scenes; I know where it’s going, and what the major scenes, and the ending, will be – then I begin writing and never refer to my notes. I allow my subconscious to take over, and this does the writing and gets me over all the difficulties. And I sometimes find that the finished result bears little resemblance to the initial concept.

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

Eric:  The initial idea, settling on something that a) works for me, and b) works for my publisher. After that it’s plain sailing. All I have to do is sit down and write four thousand words a day, every day, until the book is finished. And then the next hard part: rewriting, cutting. (Another challenge is attempting to make a living by writing these days.)

TQ:  Tell us something about The Serene Invasion that is not in the book description.

Eric:  It’s the best thing I’ve written for a few years, I think. It’s the novel whose message I believe in more than I do with many of my more recent books.

TQ:  What inspired you to write The Serene Invasion?

Eric:  Despair. Despair at the people who use ideology to commit violence on the innocent. Despair at the US gun lobby and their cynical manipulation of the population’s assumed right to bear arms: seen from outside, looking in, it strikes me as evil and insane. Despair at the Taliban and their ideology of ignorance. Despair at religion.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for the novel?

Eric:  I try not to do any research before beginning a book, for fear of allowing the research to get in the way of the story and characters. I do fact-checking after the second draft.

TQ:  It strikes me that the title of the novel can be read in 2 different ways - 1) an invasion by the Serene and 2) an invasion that is serene. Did you name the Serene after the concept of a benign invasion or did the name of the alien race come first?

Eric:  I named the Serene after the concept, and called the aliens the S’rene.

TQ:  In The Serene Invasion, who was the most difficult character to write and why? The easiest and why?

Eric:  James Morwell. I hated doing his sections. I hated having to get into the mindset of someone who thinks that violence, and the status quo that allows violence to flourish for reasons of material gain, is good. He’s an amalgam of certain businessmen I despise, and his scenes were hard to do. I wrote them last. Ana Devi was the easiest. I’ve written about her before, in different guises. I think the reason I found her easy to do was that she’s a good person.

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

Eric:  I found myself close to tears when I wrote the epilogue, so that’s probably my favourite scene.

TQ:  What's next?

Eric:  Next month I’ll begin my second crime novel, the follow up to Murder By the Book, a murder mystery set in 1955 London – just out now. Then I’ll be doing four more novellas for PS Publishing, and later this year starting a steampunk novel for Solaris, Janisha and the Greater Game, set in India in 1900. That should be fun, as I like writing about India.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Eric:  And many thanks for the questions!

About The Serene Invasion

The Serene Invasion
Solaris, April 30, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages

The Serene are an alien race. The Earth in 2025 is an ailing world, and the Serene an end to poverty and violence - but not everyone supports the seemingly benign invasion. There are forces out there who wish to return to the bad old days, and will stop at nothing to oppose the Serene.

It's 2025 and the world is riven by war, terrorist attacks, poverty and increasingly desperate demands for water, oil, and natural resources. The West and China confront each other over an inseperable ideological divide, each desperate to sustain their future.

And then the Serene arrive, enigmatic aliens form Delta Pavonis V, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The Serene bring peace to an ailing world, an end to poverty and violence - but not everyone supports the seemingly benign invasion.

There are forces out there who wish to return to the bad old days, and will stop at nothing to oppose the Serene.

About Eric

Eric Brown began writing when he was fifteen, while living in Australia, and sold his first short story to Interzone in 1986. He has won the British Science Fiction Award twice for his short stories, has published over forty books, and his work has been translated into sixteen languages. His latest books include the SF novels The Serene Invasion, Satan’s Reach, and the crime novel Murder by the Book. He writes a regular science fiction review column for the Guardian newspaper and lives near Dunbar, East Lothian. His website can be found at:

The Giveaway

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of The Serene Invasion from The Qwillery.

How:   Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and 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 Saturday,May 4, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I get out of the way and watch to try to find out what they want.

  2. this sounds awesome! Congrats to Eric on the new release! Ummm.... I think I'd gather supplies and dig in somewhere out of the way and see what happens!

  3. Oh, sounds interesting.

    I think I'll start stocking up on weapons and on music players that can play Indian Lovesong (Yes, I've watched Mars Attacks too many times.

  4. Before I can decide what to do, I need more information. The least thought o to hide.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  5. I would find a place to hide out, stock up on food and supplies and weapons to last me a long time and wait to see what happens. To see if they are friendly or not.

  6. I think I'd hunker down with a few handy folks and see how things went before making a decision on whether to welcome or fight the alien visitors.

  7. Interesting on your opinion of getting into the head of a violent character.

    Ailens? Guess I better make some killer margaritas...really, killer margaritas. They can sip and die, unless they are friendly then I will just lace them with Jose.

  8. I'm fascinated that some of the commentators would 'stock up on weapons...' I suppose it's a cultural thing; as a Brit, that's the last thing I'd do. And anyway, weapons would work against the Serene.

    Eric Brown

  9. Ha! That should read: weapons wouldn't work... etc