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INTERVIEW: CHRISTOPHER J.T. LEWIS – AUTHOR OF “GALILEO’S REVENGE”

  • AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Interview

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    Today we sat down with historical fiction author Christopher J.T. Lewis, author of the acclaimed novel “Galileo’s Revenge”.

    1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? About 12 years ago. I thought ‘I know a lot of history, perhaps I could write a historical novel. Can’t be that difficult, can it?’ (But see Q.2 below). And then, because I love Chandler, Cadfael, etc., I thought of making Galileo into a sort of private investigator. And actually, at that time astrologers did have that function: finding lost/stolen property, identifying adulterous spouses, and so on. ‘Not an astrologer’, you say? To discover the truth, read Galileo’s Revenge.
    2. How long does it take you to write a book? 5 – 10 years. When things are going well.
    3. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? Very dull. A lot of tea and Eccles cakes are involved. I only manage 2 hours of actual creative writing a day. Borges or somebody said that they use to feel guilty because they only wrote for a couple of hours in the morning, so they forced themselves to write in the afternoons as well. But everything they did in the afternoon was rubbish, which they had to re-do the next morning. Thank you.
    4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I don’t keep a notebook, which is often said to be an essential part of the writer’s craft. Well, I do have a notebook, in which I jot down odd things – mostly random bits of information – but I hardly ever look at them again. A few months back I seem to have wondered why a U-tube video goes ‘viral’ instead of ‘bacterial’. See what I mean?
    5. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books? I read a lot of the literature of the day (e.g. Aretino’s pornography, Elizabethan plays) and modern history books (e.g. Evelyn Welch, Shopping in the Renaissance). I might use the occasional libelous cameo of a friend. Occasionally, if all else fails, I make things up.
    6. When did you write your first book and how old were you? First history book in 1976 (aged 28). First fiction – Galileo’s Revenge or, A Cure for the Itch to give the full title – finished in 2018, when I was much older. But look at Mary Wesley.
    7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Play table-tennis, which is a sublime cross between billiards and ballet. Also talk to people. One of the advantages of growing old is that you look harmless, so it’s easier talk to random barmaids and people on the bus etc.
    8. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? That would be like choosing between one’s children. They are all brilliant, each in their own distinctive way. That’s the children.
    9. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they? Write a lot, and really, really listen to people’s criticisms – and act upon them. You do have to kill your darlings (although you might be able to revive them in another context). I found How not to write a novil by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark very helpful when I started out, partly because it’s very funny.
    10. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say? ‘I quite liked your book, actually.’
    11. What do you think makes a good story? If I knew I would probably have more readers, no?
    12. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? I wanted to become a cowboy, an engine-driver, a doctor, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Now I just want to be invited to Hollywood for the première of Galileo’s Revenge.

    “Galileo’s Revenge” is available to purchase now on Amazon and on Kindle.

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