Monday, March 8, 2010

[Interview] Kaaron Warren on Angry Robot Books

It is high time my love fest for Angry Robot Books to start and I am kicking it off with a blitz style interview with the always delightful Kaaron Warren. Since, this is a Marathon dedicated more or less to the publishers through the books and author I meet, this interview will focus on the author's experience with Angry Robot Books, magic man Lee Harris and his boss Marc Gascoigne.

Since we are spreading the love about Angry Robot, tell us. What is the best thing about Angry Robot?

There’s a lot of good things I can say about Angry Robot Books. They love what they do, and they’re willing to take risks. They’re choosing amazing books, most of which don’t fit neatly into any genre compartments. They have a keen, book-lover’s eye for story. They’re very funny and lots of fun to be around. They’re highly professional, highly experienced publishers.

Can you tell our readers how you became an Angry Robot author? Submission process and everything.

It was really one of those ‘be prepared for when an opportunity comes along’ situations.

I’ve been writing and publishing since 1993, working hard at it even when my children were young. I published a lot of short stories and made contact with a lot of writers and editors. I wrote three novels, finishing the third in 2008 while living in Fiji.

When Marc Gascoigne was asked to set up a new imprint of Harper Collins, he knew he wanted to seek far and wide for authors. He wanted an international cast of characters. So he asked writers he’d worked with when he was with The Black Library to give him the names of writers they respected in their own countries.

Matthew Farrer, a Warhammer 40,000 novelist, included me on his list.

From there, I nervously emailed Marc to tell him I had three novels and he asked me to send him proposals for all three. His response to the proposals was to ask for sample chapters and his response to the sample chapters was to ask for full manuscripts.

That was a nervous time, waiting for his final response.

Then I got an email, telling me that Angry Robot would buy all three novels. I had to get my husband to read the email for me, to check I wasn’t dreaming!

What is the experience to work with Lee Harris? How have you found working with Lee Harris? AND Marc Gascoigne.

Lee, Lee, Lee. Lee is one of the more interesting characters I’ve worked with. He’s a very funny man, almost as funny as my Uncle Peter who’s very funny indeed. He’s also extremely smart and I have a lot of faith in his judgment.

On the editing side I worked more with Marc Gascoigne on all three books. Marc is an intuitive editor, seeing the story at many levels and able to verbalize where problems lie without being intrusive.

Since this blitz interview is more or less oriented towards the imprint, do you mind sharing a bit of inside information about how the marketing campaign for your novels progressed? Did you work closely with the imprint and what was the strategy?

The marketing side has mostly come from Angry Robot. They’re pretty good, aren’t they? They understand how the world works and have utilized the internet really well.

You were nominated for a Bram Stoker award. As a horror writer, this is a pretty epic moment in your career. Please do describe how you took the news.

“Slights” made it onto the preliminary ballot of the Stoker Awards, but not to the finalist list. Even to make it as far as I did was remarkable. Really, it’s not something I thought about as I was writing the book. If you spend your time thinking about awards, I don’t think you get anything done!

Speaking of Lee Harrris, he was the one who broke the news. He sent me an email saying “Check this” or something like that, nothing else. Very exciting moment, opening that link!

For a limited period, readers of Angry Robot had the opportunity to read a novella along with your newest release ‘Walking the Tree’. This is a pretty good marketing move from the side of the publisher. Can you share how it came to being?

This came about because the publisher trusted me and had faith in me as a writer.

I wrote “Morace’s Story” after I finished the first version of ‘Walking the Tree’, because I had the idea I wanted to show the character Morace’s point of view, and I wanted there to be a young adult version of the book available.

Angry Robot went with the free novella idea because they thought it would be a good extra and because they’re willing to try new things in publishing.

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