There have been a couple of big announcements from the fabulous Bath bookseller, Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. First up, they have launched their own publishing imprint: Fox, Finch & Tepper. They’ll be doing primarily literary fiction, but I can guarantee that it will be very interesting literary fiction. I see from the website that the company has been named after three favorite literary characters. That’s a lovely idea, though I hope Mr. B will forgive me if I assume that the company is actually named after Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s 9 Tail Fox, Jeff VanderMeer’s Finch, and feminist author, Sheri S. Tepper.
The other big announcement is that their blog will shortly be featuring a weekly interview with favorite authors, the first of whom will be none other than Margaret Atwood. Look out for that on Wednesday.
I’m never likely to be a good enough writer to feature in that interview series, but as I was at a loss for something to write about today I thought I would give their standard questions a go.
1) If you were to be stuck in a lift for three hours with any character from literature, who would it be?
Easy. Iron Man. Because he could get me out of there in three minutes. Except we might take the whole three hours because Tony and I would be, er, busy.
2) What was the last book that produced an out pouring of emotion in you? A snort of laughter or tears into a handkerchief?
Resistance, by Samit Basu. Samit does really funny superhero books, though with an equally serious edge.
3) Which book do you really wish you had written?!
Light by M. John Harrison. The Course of the Heart is still my favorite MJH book, but Light is just extraordinary. Jon Courtenay Grimwood said in his Guest of Honour interview at BristolCon that it is a book that makes you want to stop writing because you know you can never do anything that good.
4) What book did you make your parents read and re read to you when you were younger?
It was a book called The Land Where the Kangaroo Lives. I used to tell my parents that I was going to live in Australia when I grew up. And guess what…
5) What one passage from any book you have read has always stuck with you and why?
That’s kind of hard, but I’m going to plump for this one from Caitlín R. Kiernan’s The Drowning Girl, because it encapsulates trans life so well:
I began to understand why Abalyn lived the way she did, writing reviews for video games, avoiding conventional workspace. She felt safe cloistered in front of her monitor or television screen, with no prying, uninvited eyes studying her, drawing unwelcome, uninformed conclusions.
6) What is the current read on your bedside table?
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (which is entirely your fault, Mr. B.)
7) We know you are not meant to judge a book by its cover but we all do, so confess… tell us which book you read purely down to aesthetics, and did it live up to your expectations?
I glance up at my wall and see a print of John Picacio’s cover for Mark Chadbourn’s World’s End. I love the art. The book, sadly, did not thrill as much.
8) You meet a person who is not a reader at all but they’re prepared to give it a go with your ONE suggestion… what book do you press into their hands?
This one is really difficult. I don’t think it can be science fiction or fantasy, because some people simply can’t get on with such books, and I know nothing about my new friend’s tastes. I think it has to be a YA book, because it needs to be an easy read. Obviously I could recommend Harry Potter, because I know millions of people enjoyed it, but it fails my no fantasy rule. Besides, I didn’t think much of the first book. So I’m going to opt for a book I loved as a child and read many times: Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. Like Nicola Griffith’s Hild, that is historical fiction that reads like fantasy, and I know lots of SF&F writers who adore it.