Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Interview with Michael Cobley






As you know I did a review for Micheal Cobley’s Seeds of Earth a few weeks ago, and soon after that i got in touch with Mike himself. He graciously agreed to do an interview with me and, well here it is.

Hope you enjoy it!

For those fans of the Shadowking Trilogy and undoubtedly the new Humanity’s Fire series, what have you been up to during the last few years leading up to where you are now?

Hmm, just dipping my head in the infostream of the world I guess. Well, to be more accurate, after the 3rd Shadowkings book, Shadowmasque, came out from Simon & Schuster, I was working on various outlines. The main one involved some storylines and concepts which will actually form the next Humanitys Fire epic. The trilogy commencing Seeds Of Earth
actually came after those other ideas. Other things I was doing – being involved with the Liberal Democrat party, campaigning in Glasgow and surrounding areas, and even standing in a couple of local elections (didnt win).

(The obvious question) Where did Seeds of Earth come form? Did inspiration bludgeon you over the head one morning or was it something you had been mulling over in your head for some time.

As you see from above, SOE came about after some other groundwork had been done. Various ideas came together for it, though – SF space opera has a long and rich history and therefore has built up a fabulous store of imagery and concepts and notions which are just there for the taking! I love space opera and the sheer scale of it, across time and space and mind, and after the heroic fantasy I was ready for a total change.

Some of the reviews I have read, including my own one, for the Seeds of Earth novel talks about familiarities in some aspects of the story. Let’s clear this up, were there actually some main influences in your design of the story? Such as? Or where you just following your own train of thought and it just happened that these familiarities popped up.

Well, in terms of tone and flavour, I had David Brin’s Uplift War and Banks’ Culture books at the back of my mind – I admire them so much, but when those influences are filtered through my own experiences and technical abilities they are bound to become something else. Luckily, its become something that people are enjoying reading. As for the main story, well I suppose the idea of the rediscovered lost colony has been done before, but did those writers treat it the way I have, with the political aspects and the deep galactic background and the levels of hyperspace? Hmm, probably not! That’s the key, you see, when brainstorming ideas for writing, coming up with concepts that move you and which have not been done before either in certain ways or in combination with other ideas.

Even though you are currently involved with this sci-fi/space opera, do you think you will be doing another fantasy novel somewhere in the future?

I do have a few ideas for what could be another Shadowkings novel, or mebbe just a unique, stand alone fantasy novel. Just have to wait and see how that would pan out, set against all the other book and story ideas I want to grapple with.

Just for interests sake, what book are you reading currently, or is your time fully occupied with your own writings?

I’m always reading something, usually for about a hour before lights out at night. Went through a phase of madly reading every progressive politics book I could lay hands on, anything by Chomsky, or Greg Palast, Mike Davis, Naomi Klein, or Mark Curtis. Recently I reread the Orcs books by Stan Nichols, several David Gemmell books, and am reading Ian McDonald collection, Cyberabad Days. Waiting to be read I have Richard Morgan’s Black Man, Steve Erickson’s House Of Chains, and Jack Vance’s Galactic Effectuator.

Lastly, how about something to tickle the taste buds of our readers, and mine. Is there anything you can give-away about the follow-up to Seeds of Earth, something to make us sit on the edge of our seats with anticipation? Personally I can’t wait to see happens with the other 2 colonies, the enhanced and Robert’s whole journey.

Well, the title of book 2 is The Orphaned Worlds so basically it takes a closer look at what happened to the other two lost colonies, on Tygra and Pyre, what happened to the colonists there and how they dealt with their situations. Some dreadful truths will be revealed and certain realignments will take place. The Enhanced’s role becomes clearer and Corazon Talavera makes a reappearance. Robert Horst’s voyage through the bizarre levels of hyperspace takes him to the very brink of mortal danger, and then later comes into contact with the Achorga, known as the Swarm, the hiver species which almost destroyed Earth a century and a half ago.

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Well there you go, hope you found it as interesting and revealing as i did.

Once again i just want to say thanks to Mike for doing the interview and all the best for the rest of your endeavors.

To get more info about Mike and his work, follow this link to his site, and also, check out this interview Mike did with Mark Chitty over at Walker of Worlds. :-)

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