BGB: Earlier, you mentioned that you are hard at work on your next novel. What can you tell us about that? Other than attempting to carry less of the pieces around in your head, is the process of writing this new novel different from Raw Shark?
SH: It’s very early stages; I’m still very much figuring things out. That’s a fun place to be after all the fact-checking at the end of Raw Shark. Now I can go back to experimenting big ways – putting in whole characters, ideas and subplots and seeing how they fit, whole new directions even. The Raw Shark Texts is still talking up a lot of my time too, that story probably won’t be all-the-way finished for a few more years.
I’m also focusing on my next big ambition, which is to persuade someone at the BBC to let me write and episode of Doctor Who! In fact, if anyone from the BBC is reading this, do give me a shout. Seriously. Please. I have my own dalek and everything.
BGB: So there you were with one month’s rent left in the bank when you sold Raw Shark. How did you get from there to owning your own dalek? Where does one find a dalek? Does it talk?
SH: Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted my own dalek. I always cheered for the daleks (I was one of those children who cheered for the bad guys, especially if they were monsters). Anyway, I’d sometimes keep my spirits up when I was writing Raw Shark by imagining different, outrageous and very cool things I could buy myself if the best case scenario actually happened – if I sold the novel and got a decent advance. A dinosaur egg and a Samurai sword were also on the list, but in the end, it was always going to be a dalek. My dalek came from the good people at www.thisplanetearth.co.uk Yeah it talks. It says lots of different things. Mostly about killing.
BGB: You mentioned to me earlier in an e-mail that you’ve been working on some updates that will be in UK version of the paperback. When will the US paperback hit the shelves, and will you be setting out on another stateside book tour to support the paperback? We’d love to get another crack at welcoming you to Atlanta.
SH: Thank you! I tried really hard to get down to see you folks as part of the last tour. You spoke to Jamie Byng about sorting something out too, didn’t you? I told my US publishers I’d do whatever to fit it in, but they already had me booked up pretty solid and I had events directly before and after my US tour so there was no way of extending my visit. Next time I’m over, I’ll make sure I can stop by.
That said, I’m not sure when I’ll next be in the States. The US Raw Shark paperback isn’t going to be out until next year and, as far as I know, there isn’t a paperback tour planned. My publishers are going easy on me tour-wise at the moment, I think because they want me to write another book!
BGB: Last Question: My journalist friends advised me to end the interview with a “bar question” – a question that I’d ask you over a pint. So have a few before answering this one.
You’ve sold the movie rights to Raw Shark already, and there is a famous story about Nicole Kidman calling you to see if you’d be willing to change your character Eric Sanderson into a woman so that she could play the part. You weren’t. Surely you’ve already assembled your dream cast for the movie in your mind. Who do you imagine playing the roles of your characters on the screen?
SH: I’m quite hung-over at the moment, does that count? You know, I really don’t have any actors in mind for the Raw Shark film. No one believes me when I say this, but it’s true. I try not to think about it because I know I’d start with the actors, then I’d be thinking about scenes, then I’d end up writing the script and shooting the whole thing in my head. I really don’t want to go down that road, because ultimately I can never 100% have that film, so it’s better for me not to even start thinking about it.
I want to let the people I gave the film rights to go away and make it how they want to make it. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come back with and hopefully I can enjoy it as someone else’s work based on what I did. I think that would be the best thing at this stage. That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to get more involved in film in the future though…
That’s it. Even as I was wrapping up the interview, I had another dozen questions swirling around my head. That’s the beauty of this book. Months after reading it, I’m still thinking about it. Be warned: It begs to be talked about. So make sure to get a Raw Shark Reading Buddy™ if you’re just setting out to read it.
Many thanks to Steven Hall who has been so wonderfully so generous with his time. Here are some additional Raw Shark Texts links that you might want to check out: