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Welcome to The Question House, where all questions come to roost. This facility is easy to use; just click on the question you want answering and you will be taken, as if by magic, to the interview that contains it. (you may wish to use your browser's 'search' facility to hunt for a keyword, such as 'Penguin' or 'film' or 'genre')
Alternatively, you may want to just view a single article, in which case go to the Fforde Questionarium. Last updated: 23rd Sep 2009.
504: How many hits does the site get per day?
503: How many hours do you spend on it per week, and does it ever take over, and interfere with your writing?
502: Can you briefly sum up why you think it has been important to have website, and exactly how it has benefited you?
501: Tell me how much input you have on the design of the site
500: How early in your writing career did you set it up?
499: Would you like living in Thursday Next's world?
498: Why did you choose such strange name for your heroin?
497: And why do you choose Jane Eyre instead of Cathy Earnshaw or Elizabeth Bennet?
496: If you could change the plot of Jane Eyre as Archeron Hades does, what would you do?
495: Thursday resemble to Jane Eyre? If yes: in what?
494: How much your writing had filched from movies?
493: Your web presence by which you communicate with fans is more extensive than most. Does this level of interaction with your audience feed into your writing?
492: Does the fact that your work is considered 'speculative fiction' limit its audience any? Are you writing for the masses or for a select few?
491: Does being the 'Thursday Next guy' make it difficult to break out into other projects?
490: Since your second book, you've been pretty much writing 'under contract'. How does this compare to writing the first one?
489: What's Swindon got that Slough hasn't got?
488: Rumor has it that the translation of your Thursday Next books into German isn 't the best to be. A student of English literature told, me, that your translator has missed same of the less known reminiscences you included. Have you heard anything about that, do you have any influence whatsoever about the foreign books re to appearances and / or translations?
487: The English books contained special advertisements you made up to amuse your reader - and yourself? The first two German editions missed these ads, the third book has at least some of these included. Have you any idea, why the publisher decided to cut the ads?
486: Your Thursday Next books show us a British Empire that once ago was overrun by German forces. Now it has regained strength and is in the middle of an ongoing war with the armys of the Russian Czar. What happened to Germany, will you in times to come tell us about the occupation if Britain by German forces, have you any connection to Germany?
485: How do react when you go on a signing or reading sessions abroad and at home, and hundreds of readers come to your reading? Are you satisfied, is it at least a bit scary, are you proud that you achieved such a large following?
484: "...When I sat down, my intent was to write a good book; and as far as the tenuity of my understanding would hold out--a wise, aye, and a discreet--taking care only, as I went along, to put into it all the wit and the judgment (be it more or less) which the great Author and Bestower of them had thought fit originally to give me--so that, as your worships see--'tis just as God pleases." Do you remember / recognize this quotation and could you have written that?
483: You've often been asked about genre blending, the Thursday Next books overlapping many genres (science-fiction, fantasy, whodunnits, uchrony...). In what section are your books generally to be found in libraries and bookshops? Did you ever hear about them being found in curious sections?
482: Now that you've reached a certain level of success, don't you think it would be a good commercial idea to re-issue old English classics that aren't read anymore presenting them as spin-offs from Thursday Next's adventures in order to boost their sales?
481: If you could use the Prose Portal, what book would you hate finding yourself in and why?
480: Your books are a windfall for literary analysts and scholars, since they provide a rich and curious example of "intertextuality" (a theory about the interconnection of texts and the relationship between one or more texts that quote from or allude to one another). Have you ever had contacts with "University people" interested in your work? Has any scholar begun analysing your prose and do you like the idea?
479: Did you ever consider the possibility that someone could write fiction using Thursday Next's world, just as you use other novel's worlds? What would your reaction be?
478: What is most surprising comparison you've ever read or heard about your writing? Have you ever been compared to people you still can't understand why you were compared to?
477: Your website is particularly surprising. Few author websites are as rich as yours (special features, extra material, resources for journalists...), and it seems to be an ever-expanding network of texts and pages, which reminded me of Borges's library of Babel (an ever-expanding library containing every books ever written), which itself reminded me of your Great Library. Is that pure coincidence or is idea of ever-expanding collection of pages, plots and ideas a kind of obsession?
476: Have you ever given thought to the Mad Hatter's famous unanswered riddle, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?" and do you have any answer to it?
475: How did the last good book you read end up in your hands, and why did you read it?
474: What's the most overused word about your fiction?
473: What CD's are you listening to? Who are your favourite musicians?
472: What's the best cure for writer's block?
471: Who are your favourite heroes in fiction
470: Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good place to start.
469: Which literary character do you most identify with?
468: One book you wish you had written, and why.
467: Which painting, or other piece of art, best describes you?
466: Why is "Shades of Grey" being releasing in America before the UK. As an Englishman addressing a British Author, it strikes as peculiar.
465: Not wishing to answer my own question, but presumably publishers decide such minutiae?
464: Are we (your loving and adoring fanbase) going to see another Nursery Crime Division novel?
463: There was a third question about your possibly visiting the Edinburgh Book Festival. But, having read a bit more of your website it's clearly not something you have the power to decide. However:
462: Is it a pain in the *posterior* to be shuffled around the country (and indeed world) at the behest of your publishers? For a writer, who presumably is happiest when writing, does the endless publicity tours and appearances grate at all? I hope you are adequately recompensed for the hours that must be spent on the road travelling between these locations.
461: Do you keep a writing schedule?
460: How do you balance fatherhood and writing?
459: You've said that Monty Python was a huge influence on your work. How did you begin to translate that kind of comedy to the page?
458: What's the most important thing you've learned about writing?
457: What are you working on now?
456: Pursuing truth and accepting truth, despite its difficulty seems to be a theme. Was that intentional? Would you talk more about that?
454: What was your inspiration for many of the unique names that are a part of the book?
453: What was your favorite book (or books) as a kid? Did the books that you read as a child have any influence on your writing?
452: Have you ever considered writing an annotated version of the book? Having never read Jane Eyre myself, I felt like I was missing out on some really clever uses of the names, scenes and plot line
451: Twilightjess and I were wondering is it possible in your world to jump into non-fiction books?
450: I guess I would love to know which was your favorite character or scene?
449: I'm wondering if you, as the author, actually know what all those levels of SpecOps do, or if you're discovering them as you go, too
448: I also wonder about Thursday's relationship with her father, as opposed to Joffy's. Why does the old man visit one child and not the other? Is he just working, and Thursday is more useful to him? Or does he really have so much trouble relating to Joffy that he can't bring himself to visit?
447: In addition to The Eyre Affair, I have also read The Big Over Easy. You have created your own genre! What inspired you to write about and use other pieces of literature in your books? Have you always been interested in fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and classic literature?
446: What i really want to know, and it might be silly, Is in this world where Thursdays lives How many people are able to read themselves into the books?
445: You reference so many great works. Why does Jane Eyre (and Rochester) get the honor of being the main text?
444: In Italy Thursday Next is at her third adventure. How came the idea of this heroine?
443: In The Well of Lost Plots Thursday enters the place where the stories are created: is there any criticism about the best seller's industry?
442: In this book you speak about the originality of the stories and about the characters' autodetermination: which are the main features of an original story?
441: Do your characters ever wake you up in the night or interrupt you at inopportune moments?
440: What do you think about the future of the Novel? ( some people say that the Novel is dead...) Which is the writer, today, you can read no end and always love?
439: You are considered as one of the finest British modern authors. Your distinctive language, huge imagination and exciting criminal intrigues have given you a dedicated group of fans. You're like a literary magician - I can never stop reading your books once I've started. How did you manage to trick so much your readers? :)
438: You have a fascinating and original literary career. You've worked for 19 years in the film industry. Now, you're a full-time writer. Why have you forsaken movies for books?
437: How do you think your experience in the film industry has influenced your writing most? Is it 'easier' to create a story while you 'see' it? Or does your former experience not matter at all?
436: When you were asked whether your books will be filmed, you've said that yes, but only if you make it. So... When are you going to start? ;)
435: What do you think are the most difficult and most enjoyable things about writing?
434: How do you work? Do you have your daily routine?
433: What do you do when you have structured your novel? Do you go back and slip in tiny clues or there is no necessity to do so, while you have each piece of your novel in your mind?
432: You have started your literary career with books describing adventures of Thursday Next. But now you're in search for 'something different', new projects. Are you bored with Thurs? How many Thursday Next books are there in you?
431: You've said that you think of yourself as Landen, at least to some extent. What are these tangents between your life and life of your protagonist? When I compared your biography with your description of Thurs' life I was sure that she is your alter ego. Am I really wrong? ;)
430: Your next published book will be Shades of Grey, the book that will begin a brand new series, but you've also announced a publication of two more novels: One of Our Thursdays is missing (the continuation of First Among Sequels) and the third and final instalment of the NCD series, The Last Great Tortoise Race. Can you tell me more about your new books at this stage?
429: I've read once that you have Polish roots. Your grandfather, Jozef Rettinger, was a Silent Dark one and fought in the Second World War. Is that true? Have you done a genealogical research?
428: Have you ever been to Poland? Do you feel any bond with the motherland of your grandfather?
427: Do you come from a reading, story-telling family or maybe reading is your own passion? Did you grow up loving books?
426: If you could jump right into any novel, which novel would you choose to visit?
425: Do you have at home your own 'great library'? Do you collect books and, if so, how many do you have and how do you organise them?
424: If you could read one of the lost books (e.g. 'Cardenio'), what would it be?
423: I read that you "Always think whatever my characters are saying are just different versions of me" - Does that make Jasper the writer a bit of a schizophrenic, or just an eight-year old who's enjoying his magic, imaginary friends?
421: Since you deliberately play around with 'highbrow' and 'lowbrow' while writing, have Granny Next fall asleep reading The Faerie Queene, have the Jurisfiction gang policing cross-canon and cross-genre infiltration, what is your position regarding the classics, as enshrined in the Cannon?
420: The most banal/ dull moment in your life, if there has been one? (Is it the interviews or a moment when your imagination's completely blanked out on you?)
419: Intellectual Property Rights and your Swiss army knife cross-genre stories with all the cross-referencing? Do you think Carroll/ Bronte/ Shakespeare would sue you in the court of the bookworld?
418: When you first started out, did you struggle with readers and editors who didn't get your sense of humor?
417: What advice can you give to writers about writing with humor?
416: Your website is fantastic. I mean, who needs the interview? (Well, me, actually. Web traffic and all. ;) ) How much time do you spend on it? Does someone help you with it?
415: Do your characters ever wake you up in the night or interrupt you at inopportune moments?
414: What do you think of social networking like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace? How valuable do you find it to be as an author? How much do you use it to promote your work?
413: Can you tell us about your most memorable convention experience?
412: How do you explain the huge popularity of your books?
411: And a strong, though ironic, social denunciation at the same time.
410: Books are the centre of the parallel universes you write about. Is it to denounce that in real world the opposite is the case?
409: In your books there is a strong relation with the classics. So strong that it seems you are warning us we are dismissing them from our culture.
408: How do you relate to contemporary literature? David Foster Wallace died few days ago and we miss him because for many readers his work also represents the pursuit of a social standing of literature...
407: Just a few days ago the Independent wrote about the birth of "bookshop" where literature is used as therapy. In your opinion, can books really help us to heal? Can they change our life?
406: One of your characters declares:"I've lived longer with Sabbath by Roth than with my uncles". Don't you think this exclusive relationship with literature could be just as dangerous as the alienation brought about by other media? The closer we get the more distant we are
404: Where were you born?
403: Where do you live now?
402: How many books are there on your shelves?
401: What's been the most fun thing about this project? (The first word of your answer must begin with L and the last word begin with B!)
400: Do you think that constraints are creative?
399: Who do you think stole the book from the National Library?
398: Which book would you most hate to lose?
397: Do you often add questions of your own to interviews?
396: Who's your favourite fictional detective?
395: Who's your favourite fictional dog?
394: Which book has affected you the most?
393: When and where do you read the most?
392: Where's your favourite 'booky' place?
391: What do you like most about a book apart from the story: its size, its smell, its cover, its...?
390: For you what does a book lack the most - music, moving pictures, ...?
389: Have you ever used a book as a 1) doorstop, 2) missile, 3) an excuse not to do the washing up?
387: Have you ever regarded a book as a friend, or indeed a monster?
386: Do you ever lie about what your middle names are?
385: The Nursery Rhyme books and the Thursday Next novels are so different from anything else in the market, what makes your mind go in those directions for these stories?
384: How did you get your start as a writer? Do you write full time?
383: Talk to us about the new Thursday Next novel, what is it about? What was the inspiration for this sequel?
382: How do you keep the stories in each of the series fresh and different?
381: A trip to the Jasper Fforde website is a bit like a trip to a three ring circus. What inspires this site and do you do all of the work yourself?
380: What is a typical day in your life like?
379: What do you do to relax?
378: We hear that you have a strange affinity for Volkswagons, what is that about?
377: Tell us a little about what we can expect to see in future books.
376: You have a large and loyal fan base, what would you like them to know about you?
375: What authors do you admire?
374: What would you like to say to your fans?
373: Your Thursday Next novels are a whirlwind of totally incredible yet oddly logical action and adventure, much of which takes place inside the world of literature - a world governed by different laws from those in the real world. It should be chaotic and yet it all makes perfect sense! How did this most original series come to be and how do you keep it all straight in your head?
372: Book lovers particularly enjoy your books because of the wonderful in-jokes about literature and the fun you have with well-loved characters that pop up unexpectedly in the narrative. Are there any sacred cows in literature that you wouldn't dare to touch?
371: In your latest novel, First Among Sequels, there is some consternation in the bookworld about falling reading rates. Do you feel that reading is a dying art?
370: And finally, a question only an anal retentive bookseller would ask: Where do you like to see your work shelved? It could fit neatly into fiction, mystery, science fiction.... Are you ever surprised by the way others classify your work?
369: The density of the language and the puns in your novels are quite amazing. Does it all come out like that the first time round? Do you prep for your plunge into fiction? Do you revise until the cows come in?
368: Tell us how you go about visualizing the reading process itself. You've managed to turn what was once an entirely interior mental experience into a wonderful Rube Goldberg device.
367: The Thursday Next novels--'The Eyre Affair,' 'Lost in a Good Book,' 'The Well of Lost Plots' and 'Something Rotten'--for all their wildly imaginative goings-on, have a pragmatic feel to them. How do you wrap your brain around these two seemingly opposite approaches to fiction?
366: As mysteries, the Thursday Next novels, with a woman in the lead role, have a feminine approach to the mystery genre. Is your new novel, 'The Big Over Easy,' with Jack Spratt in the lead role, going to offer readers something more hard-boiled?
365: When you're writing, do you act out the parts you write?
364: Tell me a bit about the research you undertake for your writing. For all the fun you have and all the wild imagination you exhibit, everything is grounded--in literature.
363: Tell me about your very extensive website at www.jasperfforde.com.
362: What about your vision of turning literature into something more suitable to compete with the movies.
361: What was your impulse to write a story using established nursery rhymes?
360: Did you have any character/people in mind as you created the NCD team?
359: How were you able to come up with nice lead ins for each chapter? Usually relating to the chapter's content. And, how did you come up with names for the periodicals that were running them?
358: How did you keep everything straight - meaning the different papers and tabloids and who was writing about whom?
357: How did you manage to keep the complex plot from becoming unwieldy while using the simplistic nursery rhyme approach?
356: Have you considered or has anyone considered making this a movie - even a cartoon? Although I think a mixture of animation and live actors would be a wonderful creation.
355: How did you come up with some of the character names? Some are true to one or more nursery rhymes, but others are not and yet, fit in so nicely.
354: AnneTeldy writes: My sister wants to know: In the Thursday Next series, are vampires and werewolves actually from that world/reality or did they 'escape' from the pages of fiction and began inhabiting Thursday's world/reality?
353: Friedland Chymes has the catchphrase "The case... is closed!" If you had a catchphrase, what would it be?
352: Jack Spratt keeps track of the crossword puzzles he's failed to complete. Is this a trait of yours?
351: and of course the Dong, who so generously agreed to entertain us with his luminous nose." Does 'dong' mean over there what it means over here?
350: Jack tells Mary he's been at Nursery Crimes for 26 years. He would have been 18 when he started which seems unlikely, unless being a PDR changes that some how?
349: Antisocial butterflie writes: "In the book Jack talks about how most nursery characters don't even realize they are one until something strange happens. So is Jack a nursery character, himself, or are his senses merely attuned to the nature of nursery crimes? Basically, did Jack, in cutting down the beanstaqlk fulfill some nursery destiny or was he just an awesome detective?"
348: You have a very complex "world" with a large amount of geo-politics factored into the story (which you incorporated beautifully). Did you develop the world before the characters or was it vice versa?
347: Was there any particular person upon whom you based the Jellyman or is he just your idealized version of a politician?
346: Why a veruca, of all the foot ailments? Was it just because it sounded the coolest?
345: Michelle writes: "Has the book been translated to other languages, and were there any in which the nursery story references just couldn't be translated sensibly?"
344: In the world of the book, is everyone in the society obsessed with true crime stories, as for example the way our society obsesses about actors? Or is the book just focused on that aspect of the society?
343: Edith writes: "One aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the setting. As a resident of Caversham during the 60/70s (we lived over the bank where my father was manager. The front door used to blow open and we'd have a policeman ringing the doorbell to let us know.) I have to say I can't think of a better place to set that part of the story. I went to school up on the Heights, and it is, in my imagination, just as you describe it. Did the setting help to generate some of the ideas for the story, or was it simply a familiar place?"
342: I have a feeling we had some Friedland Chimes - I'm sure our front door bell played a tune. I recognize the allusion - do you ever envisage a scholar going through all the references and writing notes - or indeed, doing them yourself? Perhaps something like "Pale Fire" - or is that taking the whole thing too seriously? I expect it is.
341: Arctic Goddess writes: "Were you aware of a short play called Nursery Crimes: Four And Twenty written by Damian Trasler, David Lovesy and Steve Clark when you wrote your book? I found the plots of both stories very unique in their treatment of childhood Nursery Rhyme characters. Why did you pick this genre for your novel?"
340: LineNoise writes: "Jack Spratt makes an appearance in "The Well of Lost Plots" a couple of years before "The Big Over Easy" was published. At what point did you decide to give Jack his own book?"
339: I enjoy the Nursery Crime books more than the Thursday Next series probably because I at least have an inkling about the nursery rhymes being referenced. Unfortunately I haven't read most of the literature generally visited by Thursday so I feel I'm missing a lot of the humour. Have you considered referencing more modern works of fiction in forthcoming Thursday Next books?
338: Narelle from Aus writes: "A Thursday Next question if you don't mind. How difficult is it to write some of the passages which involve waste products of apostrophe's and ampersands?"
337: Did you find Humpty Dumpty a sad character when you were younger or was it a portrayal that you decided on just because it assisted the storyline?
336: Lola Vavoom features in both the Nursery Crimes and Thursday Next. Apologies if you've already explained this elsewhere, but who is she a representation of? She feels very Zsa Zsa Gabor. Lola seems like she'd have a good right hook or she'd hire someone who has a good right hook to do it for her. And maybe a slapping glove.
335: Particularly in the Thursday Next series you incorporate jumping into classic titles, time travel, alternate history, just for starters. Are you a writer that has a full concept of where the book will go and what it will cover before you start writing or do you partly "use the force" as you go?
334: What does writing mean to Jasper Fforde?
333: How did you start writing?
332: How did you publish your first novel?
331: Is there a culminating moment that marks your career as a writer?
330: What part of writing do you find more difficult as a writer: characterisation, documentation, dialogue, a good beginning or the epilogue?
329: You tend to write different series, (Thursday Next, Nursery Crime...). Is it because your characters need more than one book to tell their stories or because when you find and outline it is more easy to develop a story?
328: How is your creative process, and your daily routine when writing? Do you have any rites, or places you have to be when writing?
327: How do you fight against the writer's block?
326: Did you erase characters, or plot lines because your publishing house demanded it?
325: Speaking about romantic literature, do you believe it is a proper genre or it is an invention of the market that needs labelling?
324: How would you define your ideal reader?
323: From all your books... Which was more fun to write?
322: Which was more painful?
321: Which one is the one you feel more proud of?
320: Of which one will you deny?
319: Which will you recommend to someone that wants to start reading Jasper Fforde?
318: How is your editing process? Do you hire editors?
317: When will the Spanish readers find out what happens next in the Thursday Next mysteries?
316½: At last, what would you tell a starting writer?
316: How did the last good book you read end up in your hands, and why did you read it?
315: What's the most overused word about your fiction?
314: What CD's are you listening to? Who are your favourite musicians?
313: What's the best cure for writer's block?
312: Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
311: Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good place to start.
310: Which literary character do you most identify with?
309: One book you wish you had written, and why.
308: Which painting, or other piece of art, best describes you?
307: When I sat down, my intent was to write a good book; and as far as the tenuity of my understanding would hold out--a wise, aye, and a discreet--taking care only, as I went along, to put into it all the wit and the judgment (be it more or less) which the great Author and Bestower of them had thought fit originally to give me--so that, as your worships see--'tis just as God pleases. Do you remember / recognize this quotation and could you have written that?
306: You ve often been asked about genre blending, the Thursday Next books overlapping many genres (science-fiction, fantasy, whodunnits, uchrony ). In what section are your books generally to be found in libraries and bookshops? Did you ever hear about them being found in curious sections?
305: Now that you ve reached a certain level of success, don t you think it would be a good commercial idea to re-issue old English classics that aren t read anymore presenting them as spin-offs from Thursday Next s adventures in order to boost their sales?
304: If you could use the Prose Portal, what book would you hate finding yourself in and why?
303: Your books are a windfall for literary analysts and scholars, since they provide a rich and curious example of intertextuality (a theory about the interconnection of texts and the relationship between one or more texts that quote from or allude to one another). Have you ever had contacts with University people interested in your work? Has any scholar begun analysing your prose and do you like the idea?
302: Did you ever consider the possibility that someone could write fiction using Thursday Next s world, just as you use other novel s worlds? What would your reaction be?
301: What is most surprising comparison you ve ever read or heard about your writing? Have you ever been compared to people you still can t understand why you were compared to?
300: Your website is particularly surprising. Few author websites are as rich as yours (special features, extra material, resources for journalists ), and it seems to be an ever-expanding network of texts and pages, which reminded me of Borges s library of Babel (an ever-expanding library containing every books ever written), which itself reminded me of your Great Library. Is that pure coincidence or is idea of ever-expanding collection of pages, plots and ideas a kind of obsession?
299: Have you ever given thought to the Mad Hatter s famous unanswered riddle, Why is a raven like a writing-desk? and do you have any answer to it?
298: I'd like to finish with a French tradition: In France we have a very famous literary journalist, Bernard Pivot, who used to have a tv show called Apostrophe . At the end of each show he would ask his guests to answer the same questions, which form what is now called Le questionnaire de Pivot (Pivot s questionnaire). Would you mind letting me pretend I'm Bernard Pivot and answer those questions? Here they are: What is your favourite word?
297: What is the word you hate most?
296: What is your favourite swearword?
295: What is your favourite drug?
294: What is your favourite sound or noise?
293: What is the one you hate most?
292: What would you like to reincarnate in?
291: If God exists, what would you like him to tell you when you meet him after death?
290: Rumor has it that the translation of your Thursday Next books into German isn 't the best to be. A student of English literature told, me, that your translator has missed same of the less known reminiscences you included. Have you heard anything about that, do you have any influence whatsoever about the foreign books re to appearances and / or translations?
289: The English books contained special advertisements you made up to amuse your reader - and yourself? The first two German editions missed these ads, the third book has at least some of these included. Have you any idea, why the publisher decided to cut the ads?
288: Your Thursday Next books show us a British Empire that once ago was overrun by German forces. Now it has regained strength and is in the middle of an ongoing war with the armys of the Russian Czar. What happened to Germany, will you in times to come tell us about the occupation if Britain by German forces, have you any connection to Germany?
287: How do react when you go on a signing or reading sessions abroad and at home, and hundreds of readers come to your reading? Are you satisfied, is it at least a bit scary, are you proud that you achieved such a large following?
286: Your web presence by which you communicate with fans is more extensive than most. Does this level of interaction with your audience feed into your writing?
285: Does the fact that your work is considered 'speculative fiction' limit its audience any? Are you writing for the masses or for a select few?
284: Does being the 'Thursday Next guy' make it difficult to break out into other projects?
283: Since your second book, you've been pretty much writing 'under contract'. How does this compare to writing the first one?
282: What's Swindon got that Slough hasn't got?
281: Your latest book 'The Big Over Easy' is a departure from your Thursday Next series. Did you deliberately set out to take a break from that character and the literary detective series?
280: Where and how did you dream up the idea of a criminal investigation into Humpty Dumpty's demise?
279: What other nursery rhymes will Jack and Mary be investigating?
278: Did Jill deliberately push jack down the hill?
277: The title is redolent of Chandler and Dashiel Hammet. Are you a fan of detective fiction and film noir or does it simply lend itself well to pastiche?
276: Have we seen the last of Thursday Next?
275: How do you explain the huge success of the literary detective, particularly overseas? Is it because this is a unique character and premise?
274: Would you like living in Thursday Next s world?
273: Why did you choose such strange name for your heroin?
272: And why do you choose Jane Eyre instead of Cathy Earnshaw or Elizabeth Bennet?
271: If you could change the plot of Jane Eyre as Archeron Hades does, what would you do?
270: Thursday resemble to Jane Eyre? If yes: in what?
269: How much your writing had filched from movies?
268: You are noted for your popular Thursday Next work, which chronicles the literary detective Thursday. The series is not one that can be pinned down to one genre category. Can you please tell describe to readers who may not have yet jumped into this series, what the premise of the Thursday Next series is?
267: Your have a new book coming out in July, The Big Over Easy: a nursery crime . This novel, if I am correct, takes place in the same setting as your Thursday Next work, but doesn t feature Thursday. What can we expect from this work, and would you consider it an accessible start off point for new readers?
266: I mentioned before your work is not easily categorized. It a times is called one, all, of a combination of a fantasy, alternate history, mystery, satirical/parody, and you come from a film background. With all that in mind, what or who influences your writing?
265: What can you we expect from you in the future? Any plans for any work outside of this series?
264: You have and maintain an expansive website. How important do you think the web contemporary authors, and how, if at all, do you feel has it helped you?
263: As already mentioned you did work in film industry. Is there any news on a possible adaptation, and also I saw a comment on your site, which reflect your adamant stipulation of total control of any such production. Is this motivated by things you have seen occur in prior adaptations? Ursula Leguin was in the news earlier this year, voicing her displeasure with the Sci-Fi channel adaptation of her Earth Sea work. Is it due to avoid similar circumstance or another altogether?
262: Can you please recommend authors or individual works that you admire, regardless of genre, contemporary or not.
261: Before being published you had a long & successful career behind camera on some famous films. Can you tell us about that?
260: The Eyre Affair was not your first book, and not the first to be rejected by a publisher either! What made you keep writing, and how did you feel when your book was finally published?
259: What has been the response around the world to a fairly unusual set of books?
258: Is there one author who has been a great influence on your work? (Sorry, I know you've been asked this a million times, but it's one people alway"s want to know....)
257: You maintain an extensive website which introduces readers to BookWorld and entertains fans. How important is reader feedback to you?
256: What are the burdens, responsibilities and advantages of creating a series with popular characters and the odd famous literary figure? And are there any literary figures who are just too 'untouchable'?
255: There is a great deal of satire in your books about modern life in the UK (or perhaps just in Wales). Why do you think your books have been so popular around the world despite this? And will you be buying shares in Goliath Corporation?
254: What's next for Thursday Next?
253: Jean-Claude Vantroyen of 'Le Soir' asks: "Jane Eyre and Martin Chuzzlewit are not well know by the Frenchspeaking readers. Do you mind the loss of complicity outside Great-Britain? Or, next time, will Thursday go into French novels, like Flaubert's Madame Bovary or Hugo' Les Miserables?"
252: Can you name a couple of books that to you perfectly capture the art and essence of writing?
251: How important are short stories and what do they add to the writer's arsenal?
250: Do you find ideas develop more during or prior to writing?
249: Do you need to set yourself challenges to progress your work or is writing enough of a challenge in itself?
248: Are you happy with your writing style or do you wish you could draw on elements of other writers' styles at times?
247: When did you realise your writing style had taken shape or is it something that will always develop and change?
246: What's your most satisfying piece of work and why?
245: Where do you see your writing going over the next year? Any major changes or are there things to resolve before you move on?
244: Are there any current authors that you admire for pushing the boundaries with their writing?
243: Is there one book you wish you'd written?
242: Caroline Godsell asks the 'mauve bedroom' question.
241: Becky and Sarah, outraged Gone with the Wind fans, ask me to clear up a few Tara problems.
240: Laura wants to know the story behind the term: "mad as pants".
239: Daniell526 asks about wombats.
238: 'Talpianna'asks me to explain about 'Leigh Delamere.'
237. Some basic facts to confirm: what is your age, and nationality?
236. How did you get the idea for Thursday Next and The Eyre Affair?
235. You've worked in the film business. What made you decide that you wanted to be a novelist? How did you find the time to write?
234. I was thrilled to come across your name as focus puller in the credits for Quills. What was it like working on that movie?
232. Why do you think it is necessary or a good idea to write a "literary whodunnit" ?
231. You're currently working on the sequel...What is it going to be about?
230. Have you got hate mail or reaction about toying with literary classics
229. You've been creating multiple worlds on the internet to contextualise The Eyre Affair's world. Why and how did you start doing that?
228. Are such websites good marketing tools for the book?
227. How many hits have there been on the websites already? Any other sorts of surfer feedback?
226. Future plans for your world of websites?
225. You also make memorabilia based on your books (e.g. Dodo road signs). Why do you do that? What are some of your favourite creations?
224. How have sales for The Eyre Affair been like so far? How's it doing on the bestseller lists?
223. Any word from Hodder about renewing your two book contract?
222. You work on short films. Tell me about some of your favourite film projects.
221. The Eyre Affair has been compared to the works of Terry Pratchett and Kurt Vonnegurt. What do you think of these comparisons?
220. Tell us more about your life. Are you married, where do you live, what are your hobbies, and who do you like reading?
219. The Eyre Affair is as much a romance story as a detective-thriller. How interested are you in these genres?
218. Do you write your books with the thought of filming them later?
217. Despite being a funny book, I get the feeling that there is a certain satiric quality to it all. What are some of the issues that you sometimes bury in your writing?
216: General question: can you share any fine stories from the trip you took from rejection to acceptance? (Prize comments from editors or agents, general observations . . .)
215: How did you get through 76 rejections? Did you just file them away, or destroy them, or did you hang them up like Fitzgerald used to do?
214: How long did the publishing of the book take?
213: Did you ever think of giving up the fight?
212: Did one agent submit the book 76 times, or did you go through a few agents or self-submissions?
211: Did you ever alter the book based on comments in a rejection?
210: What different spellings of your name have you seen and which was your favourite?
209: When and how did you transition yourself out of a working life as a film professional and into a full-time writer?
208: Based on what you've seen in your professional life and in the bookstores, what (in your opinion) is it that publishers think we like to read?
207: Followup: Based on what you've seen of most readers, are they right?
206: What difference (if any) do you see between general UK and US fiction reading habits?
205: If Oprah picked your book for her book club, how would you react?
204: Based on your insider knowledge of the film business, would you like your book to be made into a movie? Would you want to write the screenplay?
203: Did you read Harry Potter and If so, were you inspired by J.K. Rowling's success story (or did you secretly think it was a big corporate fairy-tale)?
202: Who is your favourite current author?
201: Are there any current authors who really appall you? (Not just fiction here.)
200: Now that you are a famous author, do you feel self-conscious at all when shopping for books?
199: Are there any books you would be too embarrassed to be seen examining in a public place?
198: Do you get any strange fan mail?
197: As you travel around America in the midst of the Enron scandal, what thoughts do you have about your own Goliath corporation? (Especially as I see you will be in Houston on February 11th.)
196: What's the strangest thing you've seen on the trip so far?
195: You give your readers a lot of credit. Did you ever have any concerns about how people might handle the many literary references in the novel, or did you always have faith that the book would find its audience?
194: You operate in the back hallways of some famous works. What other books do you see great possibilities in investigating? (Without giving anything away, of course.)
193: What literary "continuity problems" are some of your favorites?
192: When you were growing up, was there anyone in particular who encouraged you in creative pursuits, such as film and writing?
191: How did you get your start in the film business?
190: So, you're getting ready to head off on a U.S. book tour. Any worries about flying in the current heightened security climate? Are there any places you are especially looking forward to visiting in the States?
189: I'd like to talk about your first book, The Eyre Affair, which has just been released in the United States. What was your inspiration for the book?
188: Although many writers resist the idea of being categorised, bookstores and publicists generally insist upon it. Although I see it as mainstream satire, or perhaps a detective thriller, in the United States this book could be placed in the sf section of the big chains, because of the alternate history and time travel aspects of the story, which Americans tend to associate solely with sf or fantasy books, although this is changing. (Even romance novels here are always labelled as "futuristic" or "paranormal" if they include those elements.) What genre do you see yourself writing in? Do you think the British are more accepting of the sf elements in what is really a detective novel or thriller? I think of Terry Pratchett, for example, as primarily a satirist - the genre of his books is really incidental.
187: What did you most love about the film industry?
186: One of the very funny plot points is the continuing argument over the authorship of Shakespeare's plays - and the resolution of the question is quite funny. What's your opinion on this all- important issue - Did Shakespeare write his own plays?
185: In the book, the villain kidnaps Jane Eyre and Thursday Next actually steps into the world of Jane Eyre. Did you feel any trepidation putting words into the mouths of such characters as Jane and Rochester?
184: The lead of the book is Thursday Next. What was the greatest challenge in creating Thursday?
183: Thursday has a rather complicated love life. When you start a series with a single heroine, do you have any concerns about foreclosing future plot opportunities if she gets married?
182: A very entertaining character in the book is Thursday's Uncle Mycroft, who is quite the mad scientist. How did you create the character of Mycroft?
181: The Great Britain in which Thursday lives differs from our world in a number of aspects: not the least of which is the general public's zeal for great literature (I especially liked the Will-Speak machines that quote Shakespeare on command). Do you find that the popular culture of television, MTV and the like has almost extinguished young people's love of great literature? Will the love of great books endure in the age of high technology and lowbrow entertainment?
180: The Goliath Corporation is certainly quite scary, perhaps because there is a grain of truth in its depiction. When reading a book of this type, it is tempting to read into the work the author's own views about society and life in general. What opinions of yours about our modern society are really reflected in 'The Eyre Affair'?
179: The world of SpecOps is a complex and shadowy one, full of conspiracies, double games, secrets and spies. Do you have a fondness for spy novels? Would you have made a good spy, do you think?
178: The very nature of Thursday's job will lead her to experience different times and places (some real, some imaginary). As a writer, how do you keep it all straight? Do you use outlines, or have a system for which you can reference plot points in future books in the series? (You know how picky dedicated fans can be about these things!)
177: As one reads the book, it is quite easy to visualise the scenes and the characters. Do you consider yourself a very visual person? Do you visualise your scenes before you write them?
176: The dialogue in the book is fast-paced, and very funny. How did you hone your ear for dialogue?
175: After reading 'The Eyre Affair', I felt like rereading 'Jane Eyre'. What will I feel like rereading after the next book in the series -- 'Lost in a Good Book' - would it be 'Great Expectations?' (The rumour is that Miss Havisham makes an appearance.) What is it about Great Expectations and Miss Havisham that you find compelling?
174: What is your opinion of ebooks? Will print books even be in existence (except as a collectors' items) in twenty years?
173: What is your advice to those who are thinking of starting a writing career in their thirties or forties?
172: What are your pet peeves in life?
171: When you're not writing, what are your favourite ways to relax and have fun?
170: Who are you most like; Maeve Binchy, William Burroughs or Tom Clancy?
169: What is the worst book you have ever read?
168: If you weren't a best selling writer, what would you have ended up as?
167: What was the last book that you bought
166: Have you ever submitted a really nasty review of a rivals book anonymously to an Internet site? What about a really good review of your own book, anonymously to an Internet site?
165: What character out of all your books do you most identify with
164: Sex. Can you write it, or are you just fumbling in the dark?
163: At school, were you a jock, a bookworm or a nerd?
162: How many Thursday Next novels can you see yourself writi
161: Was Douglas Adams a big influence on your style of humour?
160: What soundtrack is playing in your head when you write?
159: The pictures you slip into some copies of your books have become a cult collectable. What is the thinking behind them?
158: Have you ever read a Booker winner?
157: Is Harry Potter the savior of the book trade, or a speccy kid that gets on your nerves?
156: If you could change the plot of any book, what would you do?
155: If your latest book got made into a film, who would you cast as the lead?
154: What should be the punishment for people who break the spines of their books?
153: Do you ever sneak into bookshops and rearrange displays in your favour?
152: Censorship? Is there any reason good enough for banning a book?
151: Who is Thursday going to meet next time out? Is there an element of wish-fulfilment for yourself when you introduce her to classic literary figures?
150: Were you concerned that The Eyre Affair would be difficult to market because its eclectic nature?
149: What motivated you to pick first-person narrative?
148: Your work reminds me a bit of Grant Morrison's. Are you a reader of his work?
147: Did the plot of The Eyre Affair come first, or the character of Thursday Next?
146: Do you write from an outline or just let the story un-spool, as it will?
145: Did you originally intend the world(s) of Thursday Next as ongoing, or did Thursday's universe end up demanding it?
144: What makes a cinematographer want to become a writer?
143: When writing, do you miss the excitement of a movie set?
142: The Eyre Affair has multiple levels in its storytelling - how did you know when to stop the story from expanding where it did?
141: Were you concerned at all about how your work would be received by American audiences?
140: In works like The Eyre Affair, where the plotting is especially complex, dialogue can become a casualty, with lines between characters becoming interchangeable. How did you manage to retain the unique voices of your characters?
139: Can someone who has not read Jane Eyre still enjoy The Eyre Affair?
138: How did you know you had a passion for writing rather than more a love of reading?
137: Your first book started as a script, went to short stories, then became a novel - will readers see any of your short fiction in print?
136: Why did you make Acheron Hades the third most evil person in the world? Why not higher or lower in the rankings of evildom?
135: Do you have any plans for stories outside Thursday's world?
134: Has there been any interest by filmmakers to bring Thursday to the big screen?
133: You steered away from Jane Eyre having too much dialogue in The Eyre Affair, but in Lost In A Good Book, you take more liberties with Miss Havisham of Great Expectations and the Cheshire cat. Were you apprehensive of how you would go about this?
132: What other literary figures will you cover in the next two Thursday Next novels?
131: Ron Hogan asked you if you could step into any book, which would it be? You answered him (The Little Prince) but said you'd have to think about it in case someone asks. I'm asking
130: Which would you rather attend to promote your book, a Romance Con, a Sci-Fi con, or a Mystery Con?
129: An ego surf of your name turned up 3,700 hits. How does it feel to have an international following? Did you expect it for such a "literary" work?
128: You've been compared to Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and Monty Python. Have any of these people influenced your writing and sense of the absurd?
127: In your book signings and interactions with your reading public, do you find that you attract academia who have an in depth knowledge of the literature that you satirize?
126: Would you consider having Thursday involved with an American classic? Which book would you consider and why?
125: Coming from film, which movie comes closest to the spirit of your novels?
124: Your novels remind me of fan fiction. Have you ever indulged in fan fiction? What characters would you write about? Do you consider fan fiction a legitimate form of literature?
123: What books are currently cluttering your bedside table?
122: Has anyone ever tried to correct you on any historical or literary fact in your books?
121: Neanderthals, time travel, Goliath, an endless Crimean War: What came first? What was the imaginative seed from which The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book grew?
120: You do a fine job of rehabilitating Miss Havisham. Was she fun to (re)write?
119: You have described your writing style as "mnemonic"-in your stories, you supplement invention with reminding people of what they already know. How did you develop this style?
118: I would really like to read something by Daphne Farquitt. Any possibility you might include excerpts from her work in future novels? Any chance that Thursday Next might find herself inside a Farquitt romance?
117: Fictional characters jump out of their books and into Thursday's world from time to time. Now that Thursday is a character in a book herself, has she paid a visit to our world?
116: You've done a lot of interviews since The Eyre Affair came out, and you've been asked the same questions many times [particularly about how you market your books, which strikes me as rather odd]. Is there a question no interviewer has ever asked that you'd really like to answer?
115: Planning a trip to Australia? (specifically Mt Beau Brummel, Queensland, but anywhere within a 2000km radius will suffice) (Vanessa)
114: Why 1985? Did something life-changing happen to you in 1985 for you to choose to set the books then? (Carla)
113: Is Elmo, the Abyssinian cat, ever going to appear elsewhere, or do I have to wander around in the Well of Lost Plots to find him? (Minsky the cat)
112: I really admire your ability to handle book-jumping and time travel in the same story, since it does create a very open-ended virtual universe. Do you ever find it gets confusing to write, or does it just come naturally? (Sarah)
111: When you're writing, do you listen to music, and if so, what kind of stuff? Also, how do you take your tea/coffee? (Fuzz)
110: What do you think of obsessive fans who know the books better than you? (Carla)
109: Are you ever tempted to put in a load of really obscure references to give Jon a headache? (PSD)
108: What was your favourite birthday present? (either for yourself or bought by you for someone else)
107: What is your favourite book?
106: Which Star Wars character would you be given the chance?
105: Are you now going to resurrect and publish your previously unpublished novels?
104: How do you keep calm when interviewers ask really inane questions - ones that show that they haven't read the book and/or haven't read many books at all it seems?!
103: How about if there was enough demand after the five books hopefully when (not if) they are published, would you then go on and write one of Millon de Floss' essays/novels? Or would you try and pad the TN books out into another couple of stories as with the Hitch Hikers Guide trilogy in five parts? (Charles)
102: What kind of reaction did you get when getting the Porsche sprayed? (Adam)
101: How often do you read the Ffphorum? and
100: other than your own, what's your favourite website? (both Dave)
99: Why haven't you mentioned Chippenham yet? It's smack bang in the middle of Thursday country, you can't avoid it. (Lycanthra Pod)
98: Is there any book that you hold in such a sacred regard that you wouldn't let Thursday go into it and 'mess around', as it were, with the story? Not that she means to, but you know how she is... (Sarah B)
97: Do you see yourself always writing in this genre (whatever genre it is), or do you have ambitions to write in other fields an account of your adventures in the film industry, for instance?
96: Speaking of films, if TEA and/or LIAGB were to be made into movies, who would you love to see in the main roles? Especially Thursday, Acheron, and Jack Schitt? (And Twila suggests that you write the screenplays as well! Even if it means we have to wait a little longer between books <gasp! i think she's on her own there>.
95: How did you get into flying? Do you get to fly much these days?
94: We don't know of many writers (all right, we don't know of any.) who have such a fan-oriented website. Is this part of some deep-laid marketing plot, or is it just because it's fun? And if the latter, is it fun?
93: Is there anywhere you really want to go that you haven't been to yet?
92: What does 'bobbilicious' actually mean?
91: What's the strangest question anybody has emailed you?
90: Are you ever tempted to move all your books to better positions in bookshops?
89: If there was to be a hideous nanomachine that was either going to eat books or airplanes, which would it have to be?
88: How are your bookshelves organised?
87: And, finally (phew), do you have any message for your, er, adoring fans out there? (Other than sign up for Whatever Next now obviously).
86: What was the book that most influenced your life -- and why?
85: What are your ten favorite books -- and why?
84: Favorite films?
83: Favorite music?
82: If you had a book club, what would it be reading -- and why?
81: What are your favorite books to give -- and get -- as gifts?
80: Who are your favorite writers, and what makes their writing special?
79: What are you working on now?
78: Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.
77: What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind -- whatever comes to mind.
76: The Thursday Next series blends so many elements--humour, mystery, alternate reality, time travel, literary allusions, romance, and more. When you talk to people who haven't read the books what elements do you think are the most descriptive of the series?
75: In previous interviews you've said that finding the right publisher was tough, and freedom to take your story in virtually any direction is great fun. What do you think has been the biggest advantage, and the biggest disadvantage, for you as a writer of a cross genre work?
74: What do you like best about writing stories with a continuing main character? And what's the downside? Have you considered using the Nextian universe in projects featuring any other main character?
73: You've included many characters from literature in the series as significant secondary characters. Who is your favourite so far? Is there any character (from the public domain, of course) you'd really like to include in future books? Any character you think it wouldn't be a good idea to include? If so, why?
72: What did you like best about introducing the generics (characters in training)? What do you think they added to the book?
71: What was your favourite part about setting the bulk of this volume of the series in the Well of Lost Plots, as opposed to the primarily "real" world setting (with excursions to fictional settings) of THE EYRE AFFAIR and LOST IN A GOOD BOOK?
70: Readers are always interested in how authors decide what to write. Is there anything from your personal experiences that inspired any of your choices of settings or situations to explore in the Thursday Next series?
69: What were the greatest literary influences on you as a writer? Monty Python? Charles Dickens? Film Noir? The Brontes? Shakespeare?
68: What would you say are the biggest differences between the alternate England Thursday lives in and the one where you live? What are biggest differences readers will see between literature as she knows (and experiences) it, and what is (hopefully) familiar to us?
67: What do you like best about linking past and present, and factual and fictional elements in the series? Is it the chance to play with characters and situations from some of your favourite (or least favourite) books?
66: Since you use both, how would you compare and contrast foreshadowing and time travel as literary techniques?
65: How do you think your experience in the film industry has influenced your writing most?
64: How would you describe the role of the Goliath Corporation in the Thursday Next series? What do you think is the biggest difference between the menace of an evil corporation and an evil individual in fact and fiction?
63: The galley mentioned you're working on another Thursday Next book, coming in March 2005. Can you tell us anything more about it?
62: Would you like to hear from readers? If so, how would you like them to contact you, through your publisher, your website, or by some other method?
1. The Great Library takes the concept of the universal library (a repository of all knowledge) to its ultimate extreme. How did this concept develop as you created the Nextian universe, and how did you decide that a library was the natural setting for not only the storage of books but their creation as well?
61: The giveaway TNU055 reveals that the famous Trinity College long room is the model for the physical arrangement of the Great Library. What is it about the layout of the long room that inspired you, and have you had any particularly memorable experiences in libraries that have influenced your writing?
60: The Well of Lost Plots is a particularly vivid world within the world of the Great Library. Are there elements of libraries you have visited that inspired such a feeling of vastness?
59: How did you decide to make the Cheshire Cat the Librarian of the Great Library? Does he have certain qualities that seem, well, "librarianish" to you?
58: Your work as a writer encompasses not only your published works, but also the giveaways and web pages that supplement your books. Do you have a complete collection of all of the materials (including all of the web pages) that you have created for the TN books? Is it conceivable that anyone else could amass a similar collection? If a library were attempting to comprehensively collect your work, would you consider it important for them to preserve your website as well? (The issue of collecting and preserving electronic and internet resources is a big issue in libraries at the moment, as evidenced by recent efforts at the British Library to extend the legal deposit requirement to include non-print resources, such as websites).
57: The Well of Lost Plots is a particularly vivid setting within The Great Library where the raw materials of novels are stored as they are formed into texts. The Well lies within the twenty-six sub-basement levels of The Great Library and features shops and storefronts selling plot devices, characters, and grammatical situations. Where did the inspiration for The Well come from? Do you feel as though libraries as a whole operate as a sort of Well of Lost Plots, where the collective identity of a culture is not only preserved but renewed as well? In essence, does the concept of The Well of Lost Plots reveal your thoughts on the role libraries play in society?
56: Thursday Next seems to be descended from a long line of British crime stoppers like Sherlock Holmes and James Bond and her name is a clear homage to G. K. Chesterton's classic, The Man Who Was Thursday. Who are your favourite fictional detectives and how, if at all, did they shape Thursday Next?
55: You worked in the film industry for 19 years before becoming a full-time writer. In our society, film is a more popular and lucrative medium than books, but in the world of The Eyre Affair, the novel is king. Having had a finger in each pie, would you prefer to live in Thursday's world or ours? Did your work in film affect the narrative of the novel?
54: What are your favourite classic novels?
53: What other classics can we look forward to reading the backstories of in Thursday's future?
52: Why did you choose Jane Eyre for Thursday's first jump into literature?
51: The Eyre Affair has been described as a sort of Harry Potter for adults. Why do you think fantasy and magic tales are enjoying so much popularity right now? Why do adults find the stories so satisfying?
50: The Tie seller in Victoria says, "There are two schools of thought about the resilience of time. The first is that time is highly volatile, with every small event altering the possible outcome of the earth's future. The other view is that time is rigid, and no matter how hard you try, it will always spring back toward a determined present." Which do you think is more likely?
49: If time travel were a reality, do you think it would be possible for people to visit other eras responsibly?
48: If you could travel in time, when would you want to visit and why?
47: Acheron Hades may be the third-most evil man on earth, but he's also a charming, seductive adversary with some of the best lines in the book. If Acheron Hades is only the third-most evil man on earth, who are second and first, and will Thursday get to face them?
46: Acheron Hades isn't the only personification of evil in The Eyre Affair. Just as evil, and much more insidious, is the English Government's indentured servitude to the Goliath Corporation and Goliath's willingness to sacrifice human lives for wartime financial gain. Why did you choose a corporation as the other major villain in the story? Do you think a relationship like the one between England's government and the Goliath corporation could exist in real life?
45: The Eyre Affair was a great success, and I'm sure your fans will make a success of its follow-up, Lost in a Good Book. If you could retire now and live in any book, which book would you like to spend the rest of your days living in?
44 Discussion Questions
43: It seems that quite a few contemporary British authors have been using classic English literature as the building ground for new modern versions of the original stories. Here I think of the sci-fi writer Jeff Noon (who wrote a cyberpunk version of Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland called Automated Alice) and the comic writer Alan Moore (who wrote the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in which he gathered a hodge-podge of literary figures from English 19th century fiction). And of course all the Jasper Fforde-books about Thursday Next. I would like to ask if you have any idea, why such literary remixing and recycling is a big thing in Britain right now? And if you don't, then why you have chosen this path?
42: One of the major events in TN3 is the upgrade of the number of possible plots from 8 to 32. I find that to be a trademark Jasper Fforde-joke. But is there not also a great deal of truth to the claim that there only exist 8 possible plots? And doesn't the TN-books support this notion in the ever present toying with - and mixing of - conventional stories and genres?
41: You once gave a very straightforward definition of your own writings. You said: I write silly stories. But am I wrong when I also sense a shred of seriousness lurking beneath the surface? Here I am especially thinking of the satire played upon modern society.
40: People have compared your books to those by Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and JK Rowling among others. Even though I find these comparisons quite true, I myself was hunted by very different ghosts while reading your books. To me the TN-books seem to belong between Andy Warhols famous reproductions and the Schwarzenegger-movie The Last Action Hero (except that movie was never really any fun). Does this make any sense to you?
39: Last time we were in contact you told me that the Danish Prince Hamlet will make an appearance in the, yet to be published, TN4. Could you be a little more specific about what will happen in TN4 in general, and especially about the role of the Danish prince?
38. Jasper, if you look in the mirror and into your own soul, what would you see?
37. If you had a time machine like H.G. Wells' to which time(s) and place(s) you would travel and what would you you do there?
36. What do you think are the most difficult and most enjoyable things about writing?
35. What is the thing that makes a book very special for you?
34: What are you currently reading?
33: In a single sentence, how would you describe The Eyre Affair?
32: It's an incredibly inventive novel. Is your background creative?
31: You have been involved in blockbusters like Mask of Zorro, Goldeneye, Entrapment, and The Saint. What was your particular role in these productions?
30: Has this experience had any bearing on your writing The Eyre Affair, or any influence on the style of the book?
29: The Eyre Affair has been described as Lewis Carroll writing a detective story; you create an entire world recognisable yet distinctly different from our everyday reality. Was this a place conceived over time or invented as you wrote?
28: Why does the story take place in 1985 and (largely) in Swindon?
27: The literary references are obviously very important to the plot; not only is the heroine of Jane Eyre kidnapped in the main strand, there's also the hunt for genuine Shakespeare plays and the manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit being held to ransom. What's the background to this?
26: You also take a radically revisionist version of history in the novel, i.e. the Crimean War is still raging and Wales is a republic. Have you a particular interest in the historical?
25: Your main character is a 36 year old literary detective Thursday Next. Why did you choose a female lead?
10: Is The Eyre Affair the beginning of a series?
24)Can you tell me about the way you've set out to engage and interact the reader? Did you see us in the role of the player on the other side of the board? Or was the process much more intuitive than that?
23) To what extent are your small but significant reality shifts satirical in intent? Were you consciously commenting on the artificial divisions between high and low art? Or were you taking an amusing idea for a walk? This question applies to the material on the Goliath Corporation too were you taking a conscious sideswipe at the way we live now?
22) Why do you think so many contemporary writers* are willing to credit their readers with the intelligence to cope with a rich and allusive narrative, while many critics seem to prefer fiction that conforms to their expectations of a specific genre?
*There's you, Michael Moorcock, Charles Palliser, Iain Banks, Tibor Fischer, Lawrence Norfolk and Peter Ackroyd to name just a few.
21) Influences. Who are the writers, filmmakers and other artists who have informed your development as a writer?
20) Genre blending. Did you plan to mix the Chandleresque detective elements, sci-fi tropes and alternate history elements from the start? Or did these elements emerge as an essential way of taking the narrative forward? Or are you drawn to these exotic blends of literary ingredients?
19) Conspiracies. Why are conspiracies such a durable and popular literary and cinematic motif and what led you to explore the conspiracy theme? Has comedy become the most popular mode for dealing with conspiracies?
18) The alternate history is an enduringly popular form which readers never seem to tire of. Why are we all so fascinated by the idea of paths not taken? What drew you to this theme?
17) Can you tell me more about your new book at this stage? And can you tell me about anything other current or future projects literary or cinematic?
16: You used to work in the Movie Industry as a Focus Puller. What the f*** do they do?
15: Where does Thursday come from?
14: Were you hoping that your books would encourage readers to read more classics?
13: Which school did you go to?
12: Did you have a university degree, or what?
11: In the Well of lost plots, who actually pays for everything?
10: Is there any trick you can reveal to find inspiration?
9: You said you would go into 'The Little Prince' if given the chance. Why?
8: Film in the offing?
7: What are your thoughts on contemporary crime fiction?
6: Which authors or books have influenced your work? How have they influenced you?
5: What one book has changed you as a reader or a writer? Why?
4: Which of your favourite literary characters inspired or influenced the character of Thursday Next?
3: Many reviewers have tried to classify the genre(s) of Lost In a Good Book. How would you describe this novel?
2: Much of Lost In a Good Book's success is its development of literary characters outside their original plotlines. How do you choose which characters will play a part in Thursday's stories?
1: Unlike many novels published today, Lost In a Good Book has a clever, light hearted quality that challenges the reader with literary allusions and wordplay. How is this different from other novels written today? Why do you think this quality is important in what you write and what we read?