New York Times Bestselling author Tim Lebbon chats to Kendall Reviews.

TIM LEBBON is a New York Times-bestselling writer from South Wales. He’s had over forty novels published to date, as well as hundreds of novellas and short stories. Recent novels include Blood of the Four, The Folded Land, Relics, The Family Man, The Silence and the Rage War trilogy of Alien/Predator novels. He has won four British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Scribe Award, and has been a finalist for World Fantasy, International Horror Guild and Shirley Jackson Awards.

The movie of his story Pay the Ghost, starring Nicolas Cage, was released Hallowe’en 2015. The Silence, starring Stanley Tucci and Kiernan Shipka, is due out Summer 2018. Several other movie projects are in development in the US and UK.

KR: Could you tell me a little about yourself please?

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. The Folded Land is my 43rd published novel (including 8 in collaboration with Christopher Golden). I’ve won a few awards, and two movies have been made from my books. The second, The Silence, is out very soon.

KR: What do you like to do when not writing?

I’m pretty obsessed with triathlon, so I spend a lot of my time swimming, biking and running. I race quite a bit, and usually build up to one big race — an ironman — most years. It’s totally different from writing … although sometimes writing a novel feels like racing a marathon. I also have a busy family life, enjoy watching movies, and reading of course.

KR: What is your favourite childhood book?

As a very young kid I must have read Shadow the Sheepdog by Enid Blyton a dozen times. At 9 or 10 I was reading the Willard Price Adventure novels. The I read The Rats when I was 11, and never looked back.

KR: What are you reading now?

I’ve just finished Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James, a brilliant book. And just started an ARC of The War in the Dark, by Nick Setchfield, which I’m enjoying a lot.

KR: What is your favourite album, and does music play any role in your writing?

It’s really, really tough naming one favourite album, but if I had to I think it would be Angel Dust by Faith No More. Although on another day that might change. And yes, I’m ALWAYS listening to music when I write. More often than not nowadays, it’s movie soundtracks so that there are no lyrics to distract me. But sometimes I’ll put on music I’m very familiar with, so that it becomes almost a background noise that I’m not consciously listening to. Some books tend to develop something of a soundtrack … with my Noreela dark fantasy novels, I was listening to a lot of Fields of the Nephilim and similar bands. I listen to a wide range of music, from gentle movie soundtracks to loud metal. Music makes the world go around.

KR: Who were the authors that inspired you to write?

I’ve always wanted to write. From a very young age I was writing stories and novels (sometimes not getting any further than the cover art!). I mentioned the Willard Price novels earlier, they were the first books that really obsessed me, and I guess he was my first real influence. Then in my teens I started writing horror, probably as a result of reading James Herbert and Stephen King. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I was always a writer waiting to start writing, and these writers are the ones who helped me start. As far as inspiration goes, King and Barker in my 20s, and then a widely expanding range of writers and styles inspired me.

KR: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?

I always have a rough idea of a novel, and often have to write an outline/proposal in order to sell it (I often sell an idea before having written the full novel). But more often than not, that outline stays in a drawer and I hardly look at it when I’m writing the novel. I start with a basic idea, scene, opening, and then as I’m writing I’m making notes a couple of chapters ahead. So I’m writing the outline as I’m writing the novel, in effect. I seem to work well this way –– the idea of writing a really detailed outline feels like telling the whole story –– although it does sometimes steer me into tight corners that I have trouble getting out of! A novel forms itself as I’m writing it, and though I have tried detailed planning, I often find it difficult. For me, story ideas are quite fragile, and they need nursing and coaxing into shape. This is easier to do as I’m telling the story rather than before I begin.

KR: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

That depends entirely on the book. Sometimes I’ll read a bit before going in, but usually I’ll research as I’m writing, as and when required. And sometimes if I’m really going well with the writing, I’ll leave a note to myself in the text to research and make sure I’ve got things right once I’m heading into the second draft. I know that research is as important as writing, but if the words are flowing I’d rather get the story down on paper, then refine it later.

KR: Describe your usual writing day?

Up at 7, wife and son out the door by 8:30, start writing about 9:30, coffee and a snack at 11, lunch any time between 12 and 1, wife and son home about 3:30. That’s when the creative work ends, because I find it tough writing with people in the house. So from 3:30 onwards I’ll do the peripheral stuff –– interviews, etc. Sometimes during the day I also work out––swimming, biking, or running. Sometimes that’s first thing in the morning, sometimes lunchtime, and I’ll often go out and do something in the evening too (I train about 10 times per week).

KR: Do you have a favourite story/short that you’ve written (published or not)?

I’ve written and published so many that it’s really difficult to choose just one.

KR: Do you read your book reviews?

Sure. The good ones, and the not so good.

KR: Any advice for a fledgling author?

Read a lot, write a lot, repeat.

KR: What scares you?

The idea of my family coming to harm.

KR: E-Book, Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback or hardback. I don’t have an e-reader.

KR: Can you tell me about your latest release please?

The Folded Land is the sequel to the 2017 novel Relics. For those who liked that novel, it takes some of the characters to different places to meet different creatures, but it also works as a standalone story in its own right. Perhaps the best way to tell you about it is to use the blurb from the back of the novel…

In the dark underbelly of our world, there s a black market in arcane things living and dead. Angela Gough has been pulled into this world, making her a criminal on the run.
In London she encountered the Kin satyrs and centaurs, Nephilim and wraiths, they are hunted and slaughtered for their body parts. Fleeing back to the United States, Angela discovers that the Kin are everywhere, and they are tired of being prey.
When her niece Sammi is struck by lightning, she is drawn toward the mysterious Folded Land, and its powerful and deadly ruler. Helped by her lover Vince, caught in the midst of a Kin uprising, Angela must locate Sammi before the girl is lost forever.

KR: What are you working on now?

A few things (I’m always working on a few things at the same time). Some of them are speculative and in early stages — a screenplay, a novel. There’s a commissioned short story due in next week. And then the third novel in the Relics trilogy, which will be called The Edge. That’s due out in a year’s time, so it’s about time I started writing it…

KR: You find yourself on a desert island, which three people would you wish to be deserted with you and why?

You can choose…

a) One fictional character from your writing.

Rose from The Hunt, because she’s a born survivor.

b) One fictional character from any other book.

The guy from King’s Survivor Type, in case I get hungry. (KR: hahaha)

c) One real life person that is not a family member or friend.

Arthur Machen, just so we could spend those long, lonely days talking about his work.

KR: Thank you very much Tim.

Find out more about Tim at his website www.timlebbon.net

Follow Tim on Twitter @timlebbon

Tim’s Amazon author page can be found here

There’s an underground black market for arcane things. Akin to the trade in rhino horns or tigers’ bones, this network traffics in remains of gryphons, faeries, goblins, and other fantastic creatures.When her fiance Vince goes missing Angela Gough, an American criminology student, discovers that he was a part of this secretive trade. It’s a big-money business-shadowy, brutal, and sometimes fatal. As the trail leads her deeper into London’s dark side, she crosses paths with a crime lord whose life is dedicated to collecting such relics.Then Angela discovers that some of these objects aren’t as ancient as they seem. Some of them are fresh.

You can buy a copy of Relics from Amazon UK & Amazon US

In the dark underbelly of our world, there s a black market in arcane things living and dead. Angela Gough has been pulled into this world, making her a criminal on the run. 
In London she encountered the Kin satyrs and centaurs, Nephilim and wraiths, they are hunted and slaughtered for their body parts. Fleeing back to the United States, Angela discovers that the Kin are everywhere, and they are tired of being prey. 
When her niece Sammi is struck by lightning, she is drawn toward the mysterious Folded Land, and its powerful and deadly ruler. Helped by her lover Vince, caught in the midst of a Kin uprising, Angela must locate Sammi before the girl is lost forever.

You can buy a copy of The Folded Land from Amazon UK & Amazon US

In the great kingdom of Quandis, everyone is a slave. Some are slaves to the gods. Most are slaves to everyone else.

Blessed by the gods with lives of comfort and splendor, the royal elite routinely perform their duties, yet some chafe at their role. A young woman of stunning ambition, Princess Phela refuses to allow a few obstacles—including her mother the queen and her brother, the heir apparent—stand in the way of claiming ultimate power and glory for herself.

Far below the royals are the Bajuman. Poor and oppressed, members of this wretched caste have but two paths out of servitude: the priesthood . . . or death.

Because magic has been kept at bay in Quandis, royals and Bajuman have lived together in an uneasy peace for centuries. But Princess Phela’s desire for power will disrupt the realm’s order, setting into motion a series of events that will end with her becoming a goddess in her own right . . . or ultimately destroying Quandis and all its inhabitants.

You can buy a copy of Blood Of Four from Amazon UK & Amazon US

1 Comment

  1. Interesting, as always, to hear about an author’s writing process and influences. Tim certainly has an impressive back catalogue. This has reminded me that I have Mr Lebbon’s audiobook, ‘The Silence’ in my ‘To listen’ pile.

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