Friday, February 19, 2010

Author Interview: Jasper Fforde discusses Shades of Grey (and the relevance of book bloggers)

I am super excited to welcome Jasper Fforde to Dystopian February! I reviewed the first book in his new dystopian triology earlier this month and gave it a rating of 5 Zombie Chickens - meaning I thought it was the ultimate dystopian reading experience. Not many books get a 5, so that means if you are at all interested in the genre, you want to pick this one up!


Let’s say someone loves SHADES OF GREY and wants to read other dystopian works. Which would you recommend?
You could do a lot worse than return to primary sources and visit the grandaddies of them all: 1984, Brave New World, Flatland, Fahrenheit 451, The Time Machine, Shape of things to come.

I found the idea of every person in the collective having to wear their feedback openly very amusing (a slippery slope from eBay perhaps?). What would your feedback say?
72% Positive Feedback from 521,879 reports. Opinion: Generally trustworthy

What would happen if Thursday Next from The Eyre Affair jumped into the book Shades of Grey? Now there’s a mash-up I’d love to see!
It won't happen. They are entirely separate. SoG happens in the 'Real' world and not the Nextian one. Mind you, I did reference one of my own books in SoG - sharp-eyed readers might be able to spot it!

Ah, too bad! Why do you think dystopian fiction has such a following these days? What’s the attraction?
Perhaps we are entering another cold-war type era, (Hot war era?) where apocalypse is once again alive in the zeitgeist. What will happen to us all? Will we get another chance? Can we get away from the whole 'killing one another' deal and do things better?

Are book bloggers on your radar? Do you think they are relevant in today’s publishing environment?
Hugely relevant. Blogging is very much another form of 'chatting on the bus' that publishers could never be party to. Only now the busses number several thousand, and many of them can carry upwards of half a million people on them. It's word-of-mouth Jim, but not as we know it.

Personally, I try to stay away from reviews as even though 99 can be good, it's the one that's bad that I think about. On another note, book-blogging is a matter of great concern to publishers because they can't really 'test the water' as they could in the old days by reading the dozen or so broadsheet reviews, or even know where they shouold put their publicity budget. It's a testing time for publishers everywhere.

Thank you Jasper!

Want more Jasper? Check out his fascinating thoughts on visualizing color at his website.

Also, this "very British" interview at Hipster Book Club answered a lot of my questions about Jasper's world building and the color hierarchy in SHADES OF GREY.

Photo credits: Jasper Fforde by Mari Fforde. UK Shades of Grey Cover.

30 comments:

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

I went to listen to Jasper talk a couple of weeks ago and he was a fantastic orator. Nice to see a few more nuggets of information, great interview!

Becky said...

Really interesting to hear about how important book bloggers are in the publishing chain. Cool!

Alissa said...

Thanks for this interview. I'm in the midst of reading Shades of Grey right now, and it is awesome!

bermudaonion said...

Wow! You scored a fantastic interview!! I love his thoughts on bloggers.

Cleverly Inked said...

So all our efforts are not wasted ;)

Patti said...

I totally missed the reference to his other books. I wonder what it was!

Lenore said...

Patti - I remember noticing the reference while I was reading, but now I can't recall what it was!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Not only did you score a great author to interview, but obviously he scored by getting you as a host! This was not your average interview, and I loved it!

Heather Zundel said...

Oh, excellent interview. And I love that he/you hearkened back to the old school masters. I just got a hold of the authorized graphic novel of Fahrenheit 451 that Ray Bradbury supervised and it is stunning.

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Lenore said...

Thanks Sandy and Heather :)

Kristen M. said...

The reference was to The Fourth Bear.

I love all of Jasper's books and I have to admit that I almost picked up Shades of Grey and started re-reading it last night. I've never had the desire to do that before!

Lenore said...

That's right Kristen! Do you have a page number perhaps? I haven't read that one yet.

Alyce said...

Very entertaining interview! I'm off to add his books to my paperbackswap wish list.

Serena said...

great interview. Love it.

Lorin said...

Cool interview, Lenore!

Staci said...

I received an ARC of this one and gave it to a student to read. She seemed to really enjoy it and no wonder...you gave it 5 zombie chickens!!

Andi said...

Congrats on the Fforde interview! Great questions indeed. Very enjoyable.

E.J. Stevens said...

Great interview!

Beth F said...

Great interview. I'm a Fforde Ffan, so this was fun. SOG is on tap for next month.

Paperback Reader said...

I'm a Jasper Fforde fan and enjoyed reading his thoughts, especially those on book bloggers. Like Darren I also heard him speak recently and he is as witty in person as he is in prose, also rather self-effacing.

stacybuckeye said...

Loved this interview. Nice to see him appreciate book bloggers :)

Michelle (my books. my life.) said...

Great interview. But now I'm curious about the book he referenced in Shades of Grey - I must have missed it. :(

Jeanne said...

I'm also in the middle of Shades of Grey right now, so enjoyed this interview very much.

Jeanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.T. Oldfield said...

Wonderful interview!

Zibilee said...

Lenore, you rock for posting this interview! I love Fforde's writing and have already bought my copy of Shades of Grey. He is just a wonderful builder of worlds and characters and I can't wait to start this one! Great, great interview!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the interview! I loved the Next books and I'm really excited to pick up Shades of Grey this week!

readingandrooibos said...

Cool interview, Lenore! Like others, I found it interesting to read Fforde's comments about book bloggers. :) I look forward to reading more of his work, having just finished The Eyre Affair a couple of weeks ago. So torn between heading straight to the rest of the Thursday Next stuff or dipping into his other offerings!

andrea said...

great interview! I've had Shades of Grey on my Amazon wishlist for 2 years and I'll make sure to get it soon...