Posts Tagged ‘Tim Lebbon’

Writing what you know or Don’t……. Relics Blog Tour with Tim Lebbon

April 3, 2017 - 9:13 pm No Comments

What You Know––how I write about what I know (people, places, ideas)

Relics is a novel about an underground trade in mythological creatures’ body parts, both old and fossilised … and fresh. At first glance, how can I possibly be writing about what I know?

When I started writing almost a century ago, I always used to think that advice––Write what you know––was just plain daft. Turns out it was me who was daft, and again and again my novels, novellas and short stories have gone to prove that there is always an element of autobiography in a writer’s work. In truth, sometimes a little more than I’m comfortable with.

Obvious examples are my thriller The Hunt, which is based heavily on my love of endurance sports, and horror novel The Silence, when the family in danger––the way they interact, their humour, their family language––has lots of similarities to my own.

As for Relics, although I don’t know anything about an angel’s wing or a witch’s flying ointment, I did try to build the novel around believable places, people, and events. Here are some examples.

An abandoned swimming pool and building features in the novel. This was based very heavily on the swimming pool I used to go to when I was in primary school. Although not in London, it was easy to translate to that place. The old pool isn’t there anymore––they’ve knocked it down and built flats––but in Relics it still exists. Imagining that place as it might have been now, if they hadn’t demolished that grand old building, helped me picture the location as I built it and wrote about it in the novel. I could still smell the hint of chlorine, hear the heavy clang of metal changing room doors, and remember my fear as I stood at the top of the diving board.

As the novel opens, my characters Angela and Vince are woken by a couple in the maisonette upstairs having sex. It happens every morning. Sometimes it goes on for a while, other times they’re obviously in a rush to get up and have breakfast. This is based on a story a friend of mine told me from when he and his wife lived in London, and their upstairs neighbours welcomed each and every new day in this way (a healthy routine, if you ask me). In fact Angela and Vince’s flat is also based on the place my friends lived, and imagining that locale made it easier to write about. Including the randy neighbours also helped me create relationship details between my characters which might have felt forced or unsatisfactory otherwise.

One last example (although there are many more) is the empty apartment that Angela visits early in the book. It’s in a salubrious area of Kensington, Cranley Mews. It’s an area I’ve wandered around several times, when my agent visits London from New York and I travel up to meet him for a meal and a drink. It’s always eye-opening seeing those tall buildings, and the cars parked in front––Bentleys, Ferraris, Range Rovers, some of them probably worth more than my house. It was only natural that when I needed an apartment in an expensive area of London for the book, I’d walk back along Old Brompton Road. In fact––and this is a gross indulgence, but it’s my book and I can do what I want––when Angela’s in this area, she bumps into … me. Maybe I was there to meet my agent and go for tapas. As I said, an awful indulgence. But see if you can spot me.

See? Writing about what I know.


October 20, 2012 - 3:16 pm No Comments

Author: Tim Lebbon
Publisher: Hammer
Page count/size: 632pp
Release Date: 11th Oct 2012
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin

In the Appalachian mountain deep beneath the earth is a subterranean facility called Coldbrook, after its founder Bill Coldbrook, scientist and inventor. Bill is now dead, having committed suicide, so the facility is now run by Jonah Jones aged 76 years, sleep deprived and haunted by nightmares of a plague ridden burning world. And within Coldbrook is the breach, a gateway to another Earth, another universe, where strange creatures exist, and those living creatures who attempt to enter Bill’s version of earth are immediately killed with Holly’s device, the eradicator.
Celebrating the discovery of the breach with his colleague Bill, Vic Pearson seems assured of their place in the history books. All experiments are progressing well, that is until the shambling humanoid creature which comes through the breach isn’t stopped after three attempts at the eradicator. Holly assumes the creature is human, but there is something so very wrong with that assessment, which she realises as the thing attacks a fellow scientist with claws and teeth. Coldbrook is thrown into lockdown, but not before Vic can escape through a duct to try and be with his family, and not before Holly runs to the alternate earth to escape the monster, and not before . . . something, escapes the facility.
The other side of the breach, as seen through Holly’s eyes, is extraordinary, as is one of the ‘locals’ she meets.
In this z-poc thriller, Lebbon brings something new and original to the genre with his alternate universes and the breakdown of society he explores as the world is devoured in disease and decay. This is an apocalypse on a grand scale, reminiscent of King’s The Stand or The Mist, brutal, gruesome and an honest portrayal of the reactions of humanity in the midst of death and destruction.
Events are initially relayed through radio broadcasts, which add realism and an extra dimension to the novel. We often see the disaster striking a variety of places across the world and this makes the book a groundbreaking piece of work, and most certainly an original take on this well harvested genre.
The apocalyptic visions and survivors fights are vicious and gripping. Though a little long, it is still well paced and incredibly visual, reminding me of an epic mini-series. Despite the feel of it being ‘epic’ Lebbon still creates vivid characters through an ensemble ‘cast’, which breathes life and individuality into the book. In fact, as mentioned earlier, through its brutal imagery, plot construction and strong characterisation, I felt as though I were almost reading a middle period Stephen King book, if it were not for Lebbon’s distinctive authorial voice.
A truly breathtaking horror fantasy that had me reading into the wee hours of the morning in order to reach the end. Well done Mr Lebbon.