Prolific author Christopher Golden was kind enough to carve out some time in his insane schedule – how does he do it? – to answer some questions for us here at OBS.
Jonathan Maberry has said that he enjoys different types of writing like YA novels and comics because he doesn’t believe writers should be confined to niches. Do you agree?
Absolutely. There are both artistic and commercial reasons for this. First, fiction and non-fiction prose, comics writing, screenwriting, and video games are different disciplines. You exercise different muscles when you explore the various forms, just as you do when writing in different genres. They are all different ways of telling stories, and they provide new perspectives. Shifting from screenwriting to prose to comics, I’ve often had small epiphanies about how to handle a certain scene or character. I also think that all of the work I’ve been doing as an editor over the past ten years or so has helped me as a writer, because it’s a different lens through which to view my own work, not just the work of others. Commercially…career-wise…it’s also healthy to diversify, so that if there’s a bump in the road for one of the paths you are pursuing, there are others going more smoothly.
Your career spans media tie-ins, YA novels and scripts to name a few examples – is there another format as a writer you’ve always wanted to do and why?
Well, I’d certainly like one of those scripts to be filmed at some point. My adult novels have crossed genres constantly, but I do have a big fat historical thriller that I’ve been wanting to write for a decade, and still intend to. Maybe soon.
You’ve often worked with collaborators on books and comics – what is it about collaborations that you enjoy so much?
I always say that writing is a solitary business and I’m not a solitary person. That’s true. It’s also true that when you’re a writer, many of your friends are writers. We share a passion for ideas and a creative engine that makes us want to invent, so sometimes we invent together. It’s also nice to have an immediate audience. When you’re writing with a collaborator, you’re often writing FOR that collaborator, to entertain that one person. Don’t let anyone fool you, though. Collaborating is hard work and should only be done with people you trust and like and admire.
Your collaboration with Amber Benson, Ghosts of Albion, started as an animated serial drama for the BBC – how did this unusual collaboration on an animated drama begin?
The short version: Amber and I had written several comics together for Dark Horse. A friend at the BBC phoned up and said they wanted to do a supernatural period drama as an animated web series, and did we want to pitch for it. What they really wanted—honestly—was for us to do Victorian Buffy, but we had no interest in doing that, both for creative reasons and also because people would have seen right through it and Fox likely would have sued them and us. Instead, I told Amber about an idea I had kicking around that was NOT historical, NOT Victorian, and NOT set in England. She loved it and we reworked the whole thing to fit their needs, and GHOSTS OF ALBION was born.
Is there a collaborator – alive or dead – that you would love to work with? Be it comics, books or scripts? And why?
Oh, where to start. There are lots of writers I’d love to work with someday, many of them my friends and others just authors I respect. It would bore both of us—and your readers—if I were to list them all. Right now I’m working on a trilogy of graphic novels with the amazing Charlaine Harris, with no other collaborations in my immediate future. So we’ll see.
In the different types of formats that you have written, what surprised you the most as an author – for instance, were there more similarities than differences in writing novels and comics than you thought there would be?
I suppose I thought writing comics and writing scripts for TV and film would be more similar than they are. Early on, I didn’t understand how vital story rhythm is to both disciplines. In comics, panel placement and page number—where a particular thing happens on the page and what page it happens on—have a huge impact on the story’s tone and momentum. In film or television, the same idea holds true, but you’re building the tone and momentum with different tools.
Supernatural/paranormal and genre fare (TV, comics and books) has increased in popularity recently – what do you think has influenced audiences embracing this genre now?
A generation of geeks grew up to be Hollywood producers and executives. Mostly, it’s been a good thing.
Going from the previous question and related to your work on Buffy and Angel (and the rumors of rebooting the series), do you think the popularity now would change what those shows were like?
I’m not sure I understand the question. The show was the show. You can’t change what it was. As for rebooting it now…when they first announced it, I don’t think enough time had passed, but we’re getting to the point where a fresh take wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. As long as it doesn’t suck.
The second book in your YA series, The Secret Journeys of Jack London, was released in February this year and as your site says, Fox has renewed its option on it after receiving a script – does that mean we are that much closer to seeing the book coming to a movie screen soon? What will be/is your involvement in the movie?
No matter what anyone might want audiences to think, the truth is that the only time you can be sure a movie will come out is when it is actually playing at your local theater. Ask the makers of the remake of RED DAWN, just for one example. Our film is still in development, but I do think where we are now is promising. More than that, I can’t say. As for the role that Tim Lebbon and I have…we wrote the first draft of the script and now we’re quite content to see what comes of it all. John Collee is a great writer and we both have a huge amount of respect for his work.
Can you give us a hint as to what else we can look forward to from you this year?
I can do better than a hint. Later this month, St. Martin’s will publish JOE GOLEM AND THE DROWNING CITY, a novel I wrote with Mike Mignola. In July, you’ll see a new anthology I edited, 21st CENTURY DEAD. Then, in October, another Golden/Mignola book, a novella called FATHER GAETANO’S PUPPET CATECHISM. The BALTIMORE comic book series continues from Dark Horse. And I have a short story in the upcoming anthology BLOOD LITE 3. Hopefully I haven’t left anything out. It’s a very peculiar slate of offerings from me this year, and that pleases me. I hope they please you as well.
Thank you Christopher for a fantastic interview!
Alright, what title are you guys looking forward to the most this year?!