Author Interview with Genevieve Cogman

Author interview Genevieve Cogman

Author bio:
 Genevieve Cogman got started on Tolkien and Sherlock Holmes at an early age, and has never looked back. But on a perhaps more prosaic note, she has an MSC in Statistics with Medical Applications and has wielded this in an assortment of jobs: clinical coder, data analyst and classifications specialist. Although The Invisible Library is her debut novel, she has also previously worked as a freelance roleplaying game writer. Genevieve Cogman’s hobbies include patchwork, beading, knitting and gaming, and she lives in the north of England.


Hi Genevieve, welcome over at The Book Plank and for taking your time to answer these few questions for us.

BP: First off could you give us a short introduction as to who Genevieve Cogman is? What do you do besides writing; hobbies, likes and dislikes?

GC: I’m a clinical classifications specialist and cross-mapper: I work for the HSCIC, and my work involves the ICD-10 and OPCS-4 classifications. My hobbies include patchwork and quilting, beadwork, roleplaying games and computer games, and of course reading. I tend to sleep in at weekends, for some reason. :-)

BP: The Invisible Library is your debut, before this you wrote for several role playing video games. When and where did you decide that you want to become an author?

GC: Firstly, a quick correction: I didn’t write for roleplaying video games, I wrote for the pen-and-paper round-the-table sort of roleplaying games – Exalted, GURPS, In Nomine, and others.

Secondly, I didn’t actually plan to become an author and go round with the intention of “today I will become an author”. I wrote to amuse myself at first, then to amuse others – fanfiction, filk songs, then my own original fiction – and have been for, um, twenty years or so. It’s only just now that I’ve made my debut as an author.

BP: Writing a debut can be a daunting task, how did you go about and start writing The Invisible Library?

GC: I started writing it several years ago, when I had the idea for a secret agent collecting books for an interdimensional library. Some details were planned from the beginning, while others got developed or created as it went along. Then I had to go back and tidy the whole sprawling thing up and make it into a coherent narrative.

BP: Did your background in writing for roleplaying games help when you were writing The Invisible Library?

GC: Yes, I think it did: it helped me plan the cosmological structure of the Library and the alternate worlds, and gave me some idea of where I wanted the heroine’s “power level” to be in the grand scheme of things. It also helped me get used to being edited!

BP: A time travelling librarian is pretty cool! What gave you the idea behind the story of The Invisible Library?

GC: I think a lot of people before me have had the idea of hidden libraries, or libraries that connected multiple worlds: Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman… I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.

BP: The Invisible Library is out this January, if you would have to sell your book with a single sentence how would it go?

GC: Love books, save the universe.

BP: If you were allowed to make one final adjustment before the book is published, would you do so? If yes, which part and why?

GC: I can’t think of anything specific that I’d change. Sorry!

BP: Did you encounter any specific problems when you were writing The Invisible Library?

GC: Nothing really specific, I’m afraid. Just sit down, write, write some more, make changes, write some more.

BP: What was the hardest part in writing The Invisible Library?

GC: I think the hardest bit was when my editor pointed out a structural flaw in the story and I had to go back and make changes to fix it.

BP: Besides the hardest part, which chapter, scene or character did you enjoy writing about the most?

GC: I think Silver’s dialogue was the most entertaining to write. There’s just something about a character who enjoys living up to the stereotype. (Or possibly down to it, in his case.)

BP: You have sold three books in The Invisible Library series to Tor, do you have any other projects that you wish to pursue in the near future?

GC: Nothing immediate – I do have some half-formed ideas, but at the moment writing on the Library series and holding down the day job are taking up all my time and focus. (Well, I do have a plan for making a quilt based on the Invisible Library, but that’s probably not what you’re thinking of.)

BP: Everyone enjoys fantasy and science fiction in their own way, what do you like most about it?

GC: I don’t really have a specific thing I could put my finger on. It might be the scope: after all, I enjoy books from a wide range of settings, from Star Trek and Bujold and Ann Leckie to Scott Lynch and Naomi Novik and Roger Zelazny. There’s room for everything.

BP: If you would have to give your top 5 favorite books, which would they be?

GC: I’m not sure – there are so many I like. Tolkien’s _Lord of the Rings_ would definitely be in there, though.

BP: And just lastly, can you give us a sneak peek of what will be in store for the readers of The Invisible Library and possible the sequel?

GC: Irene gets to go on an exotic holiday to foreign places – train rides, boat trips, and visits to the opera. Really. Would I lie?

BP: Thank you very much for your time Genevieve and good luck with your future projects!

GC: Thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy the future books too.


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