Today is the publication day for Adrian Tchailkovsky third book and last book in the Echo of the fall series Hyena and the Hawk. I started reading the series this week, I have just finished reading The Tiger and the Wolf. (Review to come tomorrow) As I was giving the chance to read this series from the publisher Pan Macmillan, this meant I was lucky enough to get hold of Adrian and to ask him some questions. I have asked a mixture of questions to do with either the books/series and to get to know Adrian better.
Before the questions here is a little information about Adrian from the Pan Macmillian Website:
Adrian Tchaikovsky was born in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire before heading off to Reading to study psychology and zoology. For reasons unclear even to himself he subsequently ended up in law and has worked as a legal executive in both Reading and Leeds, where he now lives. Married, he is a keen live role-player and occasional amateur actor, has trained in stage-fighting, and keeps no exotic or dangerous pets of any kind, possibly excepting his son. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed Shadows of the Apt series, and his standalone novel Children of Time is the winner of the 30th Anniversary Arthur C Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
- What is your favourite fantasy creature?
Well, my fantasy standards tend to come from D&D rather than from the hallowed halls of mythology, and so I like mind flayers, doppelgangers and rust monsters, among other things. In traditional myth, the kraken has a certain appeal, as does the basilisk for its sheer over-the-top lethality.
- As you have a degree in Zoology what would you say is your favourite Animal/ insect?
Currently a neck and neck tie between Portiid jumping spiders and octopuses, if either of them had necks. Praying Mantises (which do have necks) are jostling in there as well.
- What draw you to writing fantasy?
The pure exercise of imagination at the start, followed by the ability to follow the evolving logic of that initial imagination wherever it might go. I love building worlds based on a “what if…?” So, with Echoes of the Fall, the question is “What if everyone was a shapeshifter” – so being able to turn into a wolf, a tiger, a bear, isn’t just the outlier, the curse or the single secret bloodline. Everyone in the entire culture has an animal form available to them. How does that shape their society, their beliefs, their interactions with the rest of the world. It’s a hugely enjoyable intellectual exercise and, if I do my work well enough, it means that the story and the characters just arise organically from the world I’ve built for them.
- Favourite TV/ Movies?
Tough call, and one of those questions I’d probably answer differently depending on what day you asked me. For movies, I think either Arrival or Ex Machina, or maybe The Europa Report. I love intelligent SF that asks questions. I also loved Rogue One, Last Jedi, Blade Runner and Thor: Ragnarok though, so I’m not exactly placing myself in an ivory tower. For TV comedy, The Good Place wins hands down, not least because it hurdles the usual sitcom problem of getting stale and bogged down because it exhausts its concept without being able to move on. For series TV, The Expanse is perhaps the best SF I’ve ever seen on TV, and I also liked the recent Star Trek Discovery. Going back a bit, the Syfy Children of Dune was a remarkable adaptation of a couple of books that must have been a tough call to adapt.
- How did it feel writing The Hyena and the Hawk, knowing this was the last time you would get to spend time with these characters?
It always gets a bit emotional at the end, though that’s as much the wringer I’m putting the characters through as the fact that they and I will soon be parting ways. With my first series, Shadows of the Apt, I’ve gone back a lot in shorter fiction (the Tales of the Apt series is onto its 3rd book already). With this new series I think the three books will probably be it. However, they had a good run, Maniye and the others.
- Which character in the series did you find the easiest/ hardest to write?
Venat of the Dragon was the most fun, because a grumbling misanthrope is always good company. Hesprec the Serpent priest was a lot more difficult because they don’t say things outright or look at things straight on. It’s very hard to write a character who’s supposed to be wiser than you are.
- What is your favourite pizza topping?
A complete absence of cheese, and probably an absence of tomato as well. In fact, a lack of pizza is probably ideal for me.
- Did you have listen to any music when writing The Hyena and the Hawk, and if yes what were you listening too?
I almost always listen to music when I write. With me it’s mostly film soundtracks (instrumental stuff rather than songs), music for computer games or the remarkably large amount of music written for film trailers, which gives you the emotional punch of film music without the recognisable leitmotifs that might drag you out of your immersion.
- What books do you enjoy reading?
I read almost entirely within genre. Specifically I read fantasy and SF that is doing something original with its concepts – whether it’s a new spin on an old concept (I used to say that zombies bored the hell out of me, for example, and then I came across Mike Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts), or something wildly imaginative and different like Jeanette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun or Emma Newman’s After Atlas.
- How do you celebrate finishing/ publishing a book?
Mostly by staring around in a daze for a couple of days and then starting the next one. I have ideas backing up inside my brain, trying to get onto the page.
- How do you relax after writing?
How do I…? Does not compute. 😊
- What is the best piece of writing advice you have you even been given?
Take hard criticism to heart when you can get it. Let go of things you like if they’re getting in the way of the story. It’s still something I have difficulty doing.
I would like to thank Adrian for his time in answering my questions.
Echoes in the Fall is a three-part series I have placed the order below.
- The Tiger and the Wolf
- The Bear and the Serpent
- The Hyena and the Hawk.
If you would like to read more books by Adrian, I have listed his books below;
Shadows of Apt
- Empire in Black and Gold
- Dragonfly Falling
- Blood of the Mantis
- Salute the Dark
- The Scarab Path
- The Sea Watch
- Heirs of the Blade
- The Air War
- War Master’s Gate
- Seal of the Worm
- Children of Time
- Guns of Dawn
- Dogs of War
Thanks for reading