A big welcome to Paul Cornell who is here to telling us about transitioning from writing Dr. Who episodes to writing Urban Fantasy in the novel LONDON FALLING (published on April 16, 2013 by Tor). Check out Chris’s review later today (he loved it!) & enter to win a copy via the widget below.
From Dr. Who to Urban Fantasy
London Falling is my first urban fantasy novel. It’s about a group of modern London undercover police who, in the course of an investigation, accidentally gain the ability to see the magic and the monsters of the capital. They panic, of course, but they finally decide that the only way they’re going to survive is to use (real) police methods against the unknown.
Abigail, Julia and Kristina asked me to talk about the similarities between writing the novel and writing for Doctor Who. (I wrote three episodes of the show.) I’d say that if you liked the voice I used in those episodes (and in the Doctor Who books and audio plays I’ve written), you’ll find the same intent here. The book is dark, emotional, with a vein of humour through it, in that police always laugh at terrifying things. It also moves along at the same high speed. There is a monster, who is also a person, who has good reasons for doing the terrible things they do. And actually a lot of the undercover police and intelligence analysts who are my research sources come from the Doctor Who fan community.
What there isn’t, of course, is the Doctor. Instead we have four very fallible human beings, thrown in at the deep end. My genius intelligence analyst, Lisa Ross, who’s cheated of her revenge at the start of the novel, and has to hack out a new path towards sanity, has a few shades of him. And I guess so does Kevin Sefton, the undercover who starts to appreciate the unseen mysteries of London, and isn’t afraid to dive in head first (by, for instance, boarding a ghost bus). Said bus is the subject of quite a Who-ish scene, as our heroes, being police, refuse to settle for the idea that there are ghosts of motor vehicles that haven’t ‘gone on to the great depot in the sky’, and start to pick apart, using the mechanisms of Ops Board and association chart, exactly what ghosts might be. They won’t settle on storybook descriptions of archetypal creatures, and neither would the Doctor.
This is also a return to Who values for me in terms of a personal journey. Writing this book felt very like writing my Who novels, which grew directly out of my first fan fiction, out of my school essays, even. The muscles I used were the same, and were ones I hadn’t exercised in a very long time.
So becoming a novelist again feels like getting my life back on course after a couple of decades of prospering in other media. To feel like I was being true to Doctor Who, I had to leave it and go back to prose, which is a paradox, I suppose, but… that’s also very Doctor Who.
One copy of London Falling by Paul Cornell
Available on April 16, 2013 by Tor
The dark is rising . . . Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law – until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a ‘suspect’ who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again. As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game – and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.
Read an excerpt
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About the author
- Deadly Destinations: Gina Rosati & win AURACLEAugust 8, 2012