Tell us about your latest book
I'm close to completing a new psychological thriller, a follow up to EACH DAY I WAKE. The provisional title is SUGAR FOR SUGAR. The main character is Issy Cunningham, a woman who's struggling to discover what's gone wrong in her life. She's been burying past tragedies and must find a way of coming to terms with them if she's going to make sense of what's happening now. Aiming for a launch date in September......
How did you get into writing?
I was raised surrounded by books – my grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham and my parents inherited a random selection of titles when the library business closed. They weren't much interested in them; the books were piled up in a spare room, gathering dust. I would disappear in there and resurrect much read classics. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s always seemed a natural thing to want to do – to write.
Do you travel to research your books, or is it all done online?
Before I took up full time writing I worked as a science professor and, as part of that job, I got to attend conferences in many parts of the world. Wherever possible I took time after the conferences to stay on and get to know more about the locations. The places that remain most in the memory are the US (Boston, New York, Monterey, San Francisco, Albuquerque, San Antonio, San Diego), Europe (Florence, Venice, Crete, Aachen, Munich, Lisbon, Igls), China (Bejing, Shenyang, Xi’an). Of all these places, Florence is the most precious and I return there most years. The Reformation took place there. You can still inhale the spirit of the freedom of scientific and artistic thought and practice that brought about the enlightenment that has served us so well right up to the present day. An enlightenment now under challenge from all sides. I still travel as much as I can, these days mainly in Europe. Now I’m much more aware that, part of the time anyway, I’m casing the joint for scenes in upcoming novels.
If your books hit the big screen, who would you like to play the lead role?
There was one embarrassing moment, some years ago when I was waiting for a connection at Chicago O’Hare airport when I got talking to this guy who guessed I was English and wanted to know what I knew about Oasis. I had to tell him that I didn’t know much. He then hinted, in a somewhat humorous way, that I might know who he was. I didn’t. To help, he asked if I’d seen the movie ‘Ed Wood. I‘d heard of it but hadn’t seen it. Something about him was familiar, though. Eventually, his flight was called and he prepared to leave. I made a joke that he’d be traveling first class despite his somewhat unexplained interest in the Gallaghers. Unlike the economy class seating that traveling academics like me were made to suffer. He shrugged this off with a smile and was gone. This was 1995 and the man I’d been talking with was not that famous then. I realised later that I’d been speaking with Johnny Depp. So, it would make sense to me to have Johnny playing the lead, if, and it’s quite and ‘if’, my James Blake thriller series gets to the screen.
Who has been your biggest influence in writing?
Picking one author, it would have to be Ray Bradbury. I discovered him many years ago and those stories (The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man, The October Country, Fahrenheit 451 and many more) are still fresh in my mind today. He’s a model storyteller. But he also has an economy in the use of language that I admire and, in my own way, try to emulate, even though I’m not working mainly in the same genres (sci fi / horror) that Ray worked in. But I believe that this approach, applied to thrillers, is something that can set my work apart from other thriller writers and, hopefully, gain something approaching a fraction of the appreciation from readers that Ray’s work still commands today.
If you weren’t an author, what would you like to do for a living?
I’ve been a scientist, engineer, educator and professor. It was rewarding working in those roles, especially teaching science to young people. But I decided to give that all up to become a full-time author. Which is harder? Being an author. No doubt about it. But the satisfaction of inventing worlds of your own and involving readers in them more than makes up for that.
Where can we find out more about your books?
Here is the link to my amazon author page: http://smarturl.it/skku Or you can visit my web site : http://sebkirby.com