Today it’s my turn on the Meet the Author blog tour, in advance of Bloody Scotland which is on 21st-23rd September this year. For my stop I’m overjoyed to have Chris Brookmyre whose most recent book, Places in the Darkness, has been shortlisted for the 2018 McIlvanney Prize. It’s not long now till the festival itself, which I am looking forward to, but to keep you going till then, dive in and enjoy what Chris said in response to my questions.
Blurb: “This is as close to a city without crime as mankind has ever seen.”
Ciudad de Cielo is the ‘city in the sky’, a space station where hundreds of scientists and engineers work in earth’s orbit, building the colony ship that will one day take humanity to the stars.
When a mutilated body is found on the CdC, the eyes of the world are watching. Top-of the-class investigator, Alice Blake, is sent from Earth to team up with CdC’s Freeman – a jaded cop with more reason than most to distrust such planetside interference.
As the death toll climbs and factions aboard the station become more and more fractious, Freeman and Blake will discover clues to a conspiracy that threatens not only their own lives, but the future of humanity itself.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am the author of twenty-two novels, beginning with Quite Ugly One Morning in 1996, and including A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away, All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye, Bedlam, which was adapted into a videogame, and Black Widow, which won the 2016 McIlvanney Prize and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the year 2017. I have also recently published the historical crime novel The Way Of All Flesh, co-written with my wife Marisa Haetzman, under the pseudonym Ambrose Parry.
What got you into writing?
It is something I have done since I was able to write words and sentences. I started writing short stories when I was about six or seven, and have remained compelled to write ever since.
You’ve now written more than twenty books under your own name. Do you think your writing has evolved over the years?
I like to think that the twenty-six-year-old who wrote Quite Ugly One Morning would be quite impressed by Black Widow, Places In The Darkness and The Way Of All Flesh. However, there is a part of the fifty-year-old me who is jealous of the younger man who was able to write an action comedy such as One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night.
Can you tell us why you chose to set a crime novel on a space station?
I wanted to write a crime story that would explore aspects of what it is to be human in a way that would be impossible in a contemporary setting. The book deals with the ways that technology affects our humanity, and just as importantly the ways in which it does not. Optogenic mesh technology allowing the upload of non-native memories is a fun concept for crime fiction, but we are a long way from making it real.
Do you have any plans for more crime stories set in space?
I do intend to return to Ciudad De Cielo, the City In the Sky, as there are more stories to be told about Alice Blake and Nikki Freeman, but I have a few other projects ahead of that in the queue.
If you had a time machine, where would you travel in it and why?
The far future. Every writer, like every reader, primarily wants to know what happens next.
Is there a question you wished someone would ask but no-one has?
“I have a lifetime supply of Punk IPA I’d like to give you for free. Can you please sign here?”
What are your plans for the next few years?
I have a new stand-alone novel coming out next June, and a second Ambrose Parry novel following close on its heels.