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Paul Crilley was born in Scotland but moved to South Africa when he was eight years old. He writes fantasy, Young Adult, and Middle Grade books and also works in South African television. He spent a year as part of the writing team for the computer game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and also writes comics when he can get a chance.
The Invisible Order Book One: Rise of the Darklings comes out in September 2010 from Egmont USA. The sequel, The Fire King came out in 2011. His new YA series, "The Tweed and Nightingale Adventures", kicks off in November 2012 with "The Lazarus Machine".
Interview1. Convince us to read Lazarus Machine Twitter style, in 140 words or less!
Aargh! Ok, here goes. "Airships, automatons, action & murder! Cool characters, funny banter. Evil villains & plot twists! Mission-Impossible style rescue attempts!" There you go. 140 characters exactly!
2. Who/what's been your biggest inspiration for writing?
I have quite a varied list of literary inspirations. I started off reading The Hardy Boys when I was about nine. That had a huge influence on my writing. After that I moved on to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. I still re-read their books every couple of years. Other writers who probably had a massive influence on my style, (seeing as I discovered them in my teens when I was first trying to develop my own voice), were Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Tad Williams, Colin Dexter (Inspector Morse books) and R D Wingfield (Inspector Frost books.)
3. What kind of research did you have to do?
Not too much. I'd already done a lot of research into Victorian London for My "Invisible Order" books, so I already had a lot of information absorbed. But I did do a bit more digging to find out more about Nikola Tesla and Charles Babbage. Two very fascinating and misunderstood figures.
4. I've heard this book pitched as being a great read for Doctor Who fans. Are you a Whovian yourself? If so, who's your favorite Doctor?
I'm definitely a Whovian. Before the new series started, my favorite was Tom Baker, as he's the Doctor I grew up with. But I think David Tennant is my new favorite. I love Matt Smith, but I preferred the show under Russell Davies than Stephen Moffat. It's still great, don't get me wrong, and I don't miss an episode, but I worry that it's getting a bit tied up in its own cleverness.
5. In Lazarus Machine, automatons are powered by human souls. Would you want to be “reincarnated” as a robot after you die?
Mmm, I suppose it depends on how advanced a robot. If it was like the automatons in The Lazarus Machine, then no, because they're pretty much mindless slaves. But a synthetic human, like a clone or something? If they could transfer my mind intact? Probably.
6. In a steampunk world, what kind of career would you have in order to survive?
I think Tweed and Nightingale have a pretty good thing going. A detective? A private investigator? Something like that. They have a lot of fun doing what they do.
7. What's been your biggest struggle during your writing career?
Trying to earn enough to support my family. There are no short cuts and it can be really tough sometimes, but you just have to keep going. I definitely wouldn't change anything. I'm doing what I love to do, what I've always wanted to do, so I'm a really lucky guy. You just have to remind yourself of that during the bad times.
8. What's on your nightstand right now?
Er, I have quite a lot. A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin. The Hobbit (Am reading it to my seven year old daughter), Retribution by Val McDermid, The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M Banks, London Lore by Steve Roud, Breverton's Phantasmagoria by Terry Breverton, Restoration London by Liza Picard, How to Write a Damn Good Thriller by James Frey.
9. If you weren't an author, what career would you want to have?
Hmm. Why aim low? A movie director. I've written some scripts and worked in television. I'd love to try my hand at that.
10. What kind of advice can you give to young writers?
Read as widely as you can. All genres, and as much non-fiction as you can get your hands on. Because it all swirls around in your head and fuses together into wonderful story ideas. The more you cram in there, the cooler ideas you'll get. Also, try your best to write every day. Even if it's just a couple of hundred words. Don't wait for inspiration, because if you do, you'll never get anything finished.
The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley
Publication Date: November 6th, 2012
Publisher: PYR Books
Page Count: 280 pages
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An alternate 1895... a world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference engine. Where steam and tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.
It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.
But all is not well...
A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. as the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.
When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.