Saturday, February 11, 2012

Interview with Adam Christopher and Giveaway - February 11, 2012

Please welcome Adam Christopher to The Qwillery as part of the 2011/2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Adam's debut, Empire State, was published on December 27, 2011 (US/Canada) and January 5, 2012 (UK/RoW).

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Adam:  Y'know, I'd love to say I get up at 3am, pour a shot of single malt, and write on yellow legal pad in red pen until the cat needs to be fed at 9am... but I suspect I'm the most unquirky writer around. I write to a routine, a couple of hours in the morning, a couple of hours in the evening. I write my drafts in Scrivener on my Macbook Air downstairs in the library, then I do the edits and rewrites upstairs at my desk in the office. I drink lots of tea. The cat is usually on hand to provide moral support by sleeping next to me/on my lap as I type.

I think I need to invent a quirk. Does writing in a superman bathrobe count? Because I totally do that. Hey, it's comfortable, and when you work at home you can wear your pyjamas all day if you want.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Adam:  Stephen King, Lauren Beukes, Robert McCammon, Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, Erin Morgenstern, Diana Rowland, Kurt Busiek, Gail Simone, Dan Abnett, Paul Cornell - actually I'm influenced probably in equal parts by prose and comic writers, and of course many write in both forms. I certainly split my reading between them.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Adam:  Sort of half-half, I think! I think outlines are very important, although I tend not to write ones that are very detailed because when I start the actual writing, characters tend to take on a life of their own and do their own thing. Often, this isn't quite what I had in mind during the planning, so for me there is no point spending a lot of time writing a very detailed outline when I'm going to go off tangent anyway. Non-writers tend to think it's a little weird - how can a character do their own thing? You're the writer! - but when that happens, you (as a writer) know things are working well!

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Adam:  Ha, sitting down and writing! Again, that's the same thing for lots of writers I think - it's very hard work. When it goes well, it's a dream. When it doesn't, it's like getting blood out of a stone. But that's the way it always will be, I know that! But there's no better feeling in the world than the satisfaction that comes from a good day's work.

TQ:  Describe Empire State in 140 characters or less.

Adam:  Rescued from masked agents by a dead superhero, PI Rad Bradley is called to find a missing person, but finds an alternate universe.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Empire State?

Adam:  I had several different ideas - I'm a fan of period science fiction, and wanted to write something set in the 1930s. I'm a fan of American superhero comics, and am fascinated by their weird and wonderful Golden Age of the late 1930s. Then around 2009 I discovered Raymond Chandler while on a long-haul flight from the UK to the US. Long-haul flights are, well, long, and things can get a little weird. I remember being blown away by Chandler's prose and after maybe a few too many free champagnes I remember thinking how great it would have been if Chandler had written science fiction too.

That was the seed, I think. I already had a character knocking around, this tough pulp PI called Rad Bradley - slightly down on his luck, slightly gone to seed and perhaps he's only just realising this. He was ready-made for the story; I think I even made some notes about the book on that flight! "Raymond Chandler meets the Rocketeer in Gotham City" was perhaps a little wordy for an elevator pitch, but that was what I was aiming for. A fun pulp adventure combining all that period detail - detective fiction, Golden Age comic books, with a dash of Art Deco and Prohibition. Oh, and a load of parallel universe weirdness!

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Empire State?

Adam:  I've always had an interest in Prohibition and the 1920s and 1930s, but for Empire State I did a fair amount of digging into Prohibition particularly in New York. It's a fascinating and bizarre period of history, and really it's amazing Prohibition even went ahead. I also had to educate myself a little on New York geography, although setting the book as I did in an alternate universe I was able to quite deliberately fudge details (the differences between the real Manhattan and the Empire State are part of the story). New York is about my favourite place in the whole world - a feeling helped, I think, by writing a book about an alternate version of it!

One of the aspects of the book that plays a major part in the plot was actually an accidental discovery made while researching. I was looking for a historical figure to use in the alternate universe, and - without wanting to go into any spoilers here - I actually found one who really did go missing in the early 1930s. I could hardly believe my luck... and so the course of the novel was changed, based on this stroke of serendipity.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

Adam:  Rad and Captain Carson were both very easy to write - Rad because he was doing his best to work out what was going on, and I basically just had to follow him around the story. It's a wonderful thing when characters take on a life of their own. Carson was another who wrote his own story, but in a different way to Rad. Carson was a lot of fun, being an odd eccentric old man who perhaps likes the sound of his own voice. He pulled a few tricks on me too, including one in particular that was quite a surprise, even for me!

I'm not sure any character was particularly difficult to write. Both the Pastor of Lost Souls and the Chairman of the City Commissioners were tricky to balance within their own story threads - and they actually needed to follow my outline perhaps more than Rad or Carson anyway - which didn't make them hard to write, but certainly they required a different approach.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Empire State?

Adam:  I love everything set in Carson's house - it's very weird and somehow disconnected from the rest of the city (at least that's what Rad thinks), and Carson is such a hoot. But my favourite scene in particular is Rad's unexpected trip that happens at the end of Chapter 28!

TQ:  What's next?

Adam:  My second novel, a spandex-clad superhero epic called SEVEN WONDERS, is out from Angry Robot in September 2012. Aside from that, I've got a number of projects on the go - more information on those when I have them!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Adam:  My pleasure!

Read Adam's Guest Blog - In Blackest Night: blending science fiction and noir - here.

About Empire State

Empire State
Angry Robot Books, December 27, 2011 (US/Canada); January 5, 2012 (UK/RoW)
Trade Paperback, 416 pages

It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State - a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.

When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Pocket Universe | Heroes or Villains | Speak Easy | Loyalties Divided ]

About Adam Christopher

ADAM CHRISTOPHER was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up watching Pertwee-era Doctor Who and listening to The Beatles, which isn’t a bad start for a child of the Eighties. In 2006, Adam moved to the sunny North West of England, where he now lives in domestic bliss with his wife and cat in a house next to a canal, although he has yet to take up any fishing-related activities.

When not writing Adam can be found drinking tea and obsessing over DC Comics, Stephen King, and The Cure. His first novel, EMPIRE STATE, is out from Angry Robot books in January 2012. For more information, please visit

Adam can be found online at and on Twitter as @ghostfinder.

The Giveaway


What:  One commenter will win a copy of Empire State from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Who or what are your favorite superhero(es) or supervillain(s)?

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Saturday, February 18, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*


  1. My favorite supervillian is probably Dracula since he is really the only villain I can remember from my childhood.

    THanks for the giveaway.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

    +1 for comment
    +1 I am an old Follower via GFC as buddyt

  2. +1 Comment:
    My favorite superhero is Batman :)
    Supervillian? Lol. Dracula....I kinda like him too, but is he a "supervillan"?
    I loved Lex Luthor, from the tv show :)

    Thank you for the giveaway!

    +1 Follower: GFC - Cayce
    +1 Tweet:!/Cayce_23/status/168377378236665856

  3. I've been on an Angel kick lately and I'd say that the big super law firm that Angel takes over, Wokfram and Hart, is a great example of the "big bad" super villian.
    Good luck with the book!
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC as MJB

    msmjb65 AT gmail DOT com

  4. I always saw Dracula as a hero and was upset whenever he was defeated!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. Greatest Superhero is Hellboy greatest villian is Doctor Doom!!!!

  6. I still really enjoy Dr. Strange, who has mastered the Dark Arts.

    Number 2 would have to be Conan the Barbarian

  7. Comment:
    My favorite superhero has always been Superman and my favorite supervillian is Lex Luthor.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    I am a follower on GFC - Irv the Nerve.

    russc98 AT gmail DOT com

  8. My favorite superhero is Wolverine.

    +1 comment
    +1 gfc follower

  9. Superhero - Hancock (I like them the more flawed the better!), Supervillain - Garry Oldman (he plays absolutely the best supervillains - 5th Element, The Book of Eli, Leon). Thank you for a wonderful giveaway!
    +1 comment
    +1 follower
    +1 blog mention:
    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  10. My favorite hero is Sherlock Holmes and the villain would be Moriarty
    debby236 at gmail dot com follower

  11. Batman and the Joker

    I follow your blog.

    Thanks for the giveaway.


    + 1 comment
    + 1 follower

  12. superhero the shadow...villian joker

  13. I'm not sure I'd call Thor a super Hero, but I love Thor!! I also love Batman and the Riddler!

    +1 Follower
    +1 Comment


  14. My favorite superhero has always been Daredevil, but I love Spiderman and Captain America as well. My favorite villain is Magneto.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    GFC follower - Barbara E.

  15. I'm BATMAN!! Put Batman & the Joker together & BAMM!!

    I follow.


  16. Batman and The Joker!
    GFC: Vivien

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  17. I have always loved superman. Please enter me in contest.

  18. No question SUPERMAN!!!
    GFC-Mary @Sweepingme
    email- mary_reiss @ hotmail . com

    mary_reiss @ hotmail . com

  19. Superman! I love to fly with him)))
    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower as Sofija Kapranova
    +1 tweeted:!/soni_sonik/status/168614169287999488

  20. Gosh, I love so many Super-heroes; it's so hard to pick just one. But I'll go for THE SPECTRE, from DC Comics.

    I'd love to read this book. It looks wonderful. I'm so happy there's a giveaway!

  21. I'm quite partial to Darkhawk, who had a stint with Wolverine in The Secred Defenders stuff. Loved it! Still have the comic, too.


  22. I love:
    - Superman for his sense of justice and the fact that his name is really "Kal-El"
    - Batman for his innovation in creating great super gadgets
    - Iron Man for his genius
    - Selene of "The Underworld" for her strength, bravery, and sexiness
    - Mystique for her ability to shape-shift

    I'm a follower of The Qwillery +1
    I've tweeted about the giveaway +1

    Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez
    On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis

  23. Superman is the one and only! LOL. No, okay, I can do with Batman as well

    +1 comment
    +1 blog follower

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  24. I always liked Lex Luthor as a supervillian - he had no powers, but his intelligence and superman has all these powers but his main bad guy is a human...
    Superheroes I admire are always He-Man and She-Ra - if they count! I loved the ability to change into a different character - and I always wanted the power! :-)

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC Name - Mel S

  25. There are so many great superheroes and super villains to choose from. But if forced to choose I might go with Green Lantern (one of the most awesome powers ever :)) and as far as supervillains go I really don't have any preferences (other than that they be of the brainy kind...brute force smashers are a little bit boring :))

    thanks for the giveaway!

    +1 comment
    +1 follower


  26. I'm not very original: Superman is my favorite superhero

    +1 comment
    +1 follower


  27. As a young girl, my fave superhero was Wonder Woman. But as an adult, lately I find myself partial to Iron Man. (I have a bit of a RDJ crush...)

    Enjoyed the interview and am looking forward to the book.

    +3: commenter, follower, retweeter...

    P.S. I seem to love ellipses... LOL

  28. Definitely Batman and Joker, love their relationship.

    Asylos at gmail