Interview: Adrian Tchaikovsky 13 Ghosts of Christmas

Today it is the turn of Adrian Tchaikovsky, he  was born in Lincolnshire and studied zoology and psychology at Reading, before practising law in Leeds. He is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor and is trained in stage-fighting. His literary influences include Gene Wolfe, Mervyn Peake, China Miéville, Mary Gently, Steven Erikson, Naomi Novak, Scott Lynch and Alan Campbell.

Salute the Dark, the fourth book in the ‘Shadows of the Apt’ series, is out now. The Scarab Path, the fifth, will be published in July 2010.

Can you tell us little bit about yourself?
I like to think of myself as the premier writer of insect-themed steampunk epic fantasy, a niche that is currently comfortably solitary. I come from a background of psychology, law and Lincolnshire, none of which have more than a peripheral relevance to my work. Probably more germaine are my geek credentials. I am definitely someone who’s risen from the ranks, genre-wise. I’m a player of games online, on table and live, a fan of various media and, most importantly, an avid reader of genre fiction. Writing wise, I am known, if known at all, for my epic fantasy novels in the Shadows of the Apt series.
Why did you decide to submit a story to this anthology?
 Writing short stories gives me the opportunity to explore genres, conventions and ideas that wouldn’t necessarily fit into my full-length fiction. I’ve always been a fan of ghost stories in the MR James mould, and I belong to a writing group, the Deadliners, who tend to specialise in that sort of short fiction. When I heard that Spectral were looking to produce a volume of just that, I knew that I had a story that would be perfect for them.
Can you tell us what to expect from your story?
“Lost Soldiers” is a story of a curious academic and some East Anglian countryside, and a ghost – all very Jamesian. Except that the ghost that the story’s about isn’t necessarily the one that you’re led to expect. It also follows the adventures of a recurring character of mine, the investigator Walther Cohen, a kind of latter-day Carnacki, who’s had a couple of outings in stories elsewhere. You don’t need to have read any of his prior excursions before, though.
What was the best and the worst Christmas present you ever received?
Best. Star Wars Bossk figure. (The lizard bounty hunter guy). I was mad into Star Wars figures, but I never cared for any of the main characters. My heroes were always the aliens.
Worst. World peace. It was rubbish. Broke almost immediately, and you couldn’t even send it back for a refund.
Who or what would you least like to be haunted by at Christmas?
 Richard Dawkins. I can imagine him being very annoyed by the whole situation, and that would be no fun for anyone involved.
Can you tell us about any future projects?
 Well, Shadows of the Apt is drawing to a close around 2014 with the 10th and last book in the series. Beyond that, there’s already a new fantasy sequence in the early concept stage, a standalone fantasy set in a Napoleonic/War of Independence flavoured secondary world, and I’m also hoping to get someone to take on a piece of proper science fiction I appear to have written, but no promises. Other than that, there are a fair number of short stories in the works with various anthologies. Check out www.shadowsoftheapt.comfor news.

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