Author Interview with Genevieve Cogman
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.