James Swallow is the author of Deadline, the official tie-in novel to the TV show 24: Live Another Day. If you’re quick you could win a copy on Geek Native.
There are many great titles to Swallow’s portfolio; Warhammer 40K, Star Trek, Doctor Who and Stargate to name just a few. Geek Native was lucky enough to be able to fire off a few quick questions and James was kind enough to answer.
How hard was to transform 24 and its format into a novel?
I didn’t try to put a literal ticking clock in the story – instead, I just went with a compact, fast-paced narrative that happens over a roughly 24 hour period, told in 24 chapters, and I tried my best to give it the same sense of velocity you get when you’re watching the TV show. The great thing about a book versus a TV episode is that a novel allows you to show an internal viewpoint – you can get inside the heads of the characters in a way that television seldom can.
There’s an audiobook for 24: Deadline. You’ve written for Doctor Who, Stargate, Blakes 7 and 2000AD audio dramas. What’s the attraction to audiobooks? Which has been your favourite project so far.
Audio is just great to write. I really love it. It’s a brilliant medium for storytelling, especially with science fiction, because you have the greatest special effects budget in the universe – the mind of your listener!
As for favourite projects, I can’t pick just one thing, they’ve all been fun for different reasons. I’ve enjoyed writing for every franchise I been involved in, mostly because they are fictional universes I’ve enjoyed as a reader, a viewer or a gamer and I’ve had the chance to create a new piece of the world, as it were.
Do you think Jack Bauer could survive in the Warhammer 40K universe?
Oh, hell yeah! He’d fit right in, I reckon. I could see Jack retooling as a no-holds-barred Imperial Inquisitor, hunting down daemonic terrorists and torturing heretics. Imagine him with a bolt pistol pointed at the head of a cultist, snarling “Who do you worship? Where’s the warp-bomb?”
Why do you think 24 has been so successful as a series?
It’s exciting, like a great thrill ride. The relentless pace of the show really gets the blood pumping, and you have this iconic lead character, Jack Bauer the ultimate survivor, who takes on all comes and still wins through. All that, plus a great supporting cast, high-octane action and great drama make 24 a modern thriller classic.
What’s the trick in creating likable characters even when they’re in unappealing jobs or situations?
Make them human – even if they’re a space alien or something – make the character relatable to the reader. If you kind find something to connect to in a fictional character, something that relates to you as a reader (and also as a writer!) you’ll have that “likeability”.
If we challenged you to an elevator pitch for another 24 book or script what would your pitch be?
I’m not going to give that away! I’m saving it in case I get the opportunity to pitch an idea for another 24 novel in the future. But if I could do anything? I’d pitch a Jack Bauer-meets-La-Femme-Nikita story set in Hong Kong.
How would you like to see Deux Ex evolve?
Actually, I’m pretty good with how it’s evolving right now. There are plans under the “Deus Ex Universe” umbrella for more games, a feature film and more multi-media productions. I can’t wait to see what comes next!