This morning it's my pleasure to welcome Marcus Sedgwick to the blog for a Q&A about his latest book A Love Like Blood which is published tomorrow.
In 1944, just days after the liberation of Paris, Charles Jackson sees something horrific: a man, apparently drinking the blood of a murdered woman. Terrified, he does nothing, telling himself afterwards that worse things happen in wars.
Seven years later he returns to the city - and sees the same man dining in the company of a fascinating young woman. When they leave the restaurant, Charles decides to follow...
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book A Love Like Blood?
Some early reviews have called it a vampire novel, but it is categorically not a vampire novel! It is, in a way, the opposite of such a thing, because while the supernatural can be scary, I maintain that if such things were to occur (by which I mean persons obsessed with blood) in real life, that would be scarier still. So it plays with notions of the vampire, but is firmly rooted in the real world. It's a thriller, with a somewhat old school feel to it.
Where did the inspiration come from?
The working title of the book, Haemophilia, was the origin of the book. The name of this blood clotting disease has always struck me as a strange name, literally meaning 'the love of blood', and it was that which set me thinking about the issues which led to the book itself.
I note that your previous books were written for teenage readers, what inspired you to write a novel for us older readers?
This is a big topic. I've managed in the past to keep my thoughts on this subject to under a thousand words, but only just. The main thing to say is that I write books 'for' myself. Please don't think that's arrogant - I believe it's the only honest way to do it. It's the publishing and bookselling world that determines who books are 'for', and several of my books have been perceived as adult novels in hiding anyway (Blood Red, Snow White perhaps, or Midwinterblood). But this book is darker than even anything else I've done before and so perhaps does occupy new territory for me in some undefinable way.
Are you a plot planner or a start writing and see where it takes you writer?
I am a planner. Not everything, not to the last detail (as I believe the accidents that occur as you write are very important) but I do know the basic structure of my books, and I always know the ending. Well, almost always. It's MUCH easier to know how to proceed if you know where you're trying to get to.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
No, not at all. I had always dabbled and always enjoyed it, but never gave it serious thought until I became a bookseller. That was the starting point for beginning to take myself seriously.
How did it take you to get your first novel published?
It took four years or so, during which I wrote four novels that remain unpublished. I was learning how to write during that time, I believe. So it was the fifth book I wrote which was the first to be published.
Are you currently working on a new book? If so, are you able to tell us anything about it?
I'm working on a few things: a second graphic novel, a second 'adult' book, and a new YA book. Then I think I will have a break for a while...