“Am I a creature that feeds on lost sleep?” Nick Setchfield puts your questions to the Dream King
Your questions answered on Death and Doctor Who.
Ais facing inquisition in a London hotel suite. “Will there be spikes?” he asks, refusing another pot of tea on the grounds that he has attained a state of “hyper- caffeination”. As ever he’s charismatic company, a mazy, diverting bookshop in human form. Placing his boots on the posh sofa with the diplomatic immunity of the famous, he’s here to talk up
The Sleeper And The Spindle, an intriguingly fresh take on some well- worn fairytale characters (“What age group is it for? Humans”). SFX is taking this opportunity to throw your questions at him. Even the one that asks him to confront his own Death…
At what point do you decide an idea for a story is worth keeping?
It could be anything from 20 years before it gets written in the case of The Graveyard
Book, to ten years after you wrote it, when you look at a thing and you go “What was I doing? What was that for? That was rubbish.” A lot of the time it has to do with if something has sticking power, if it sticks around in your head. With The Sleeper And The Spindle it began with about five different things coming together, including my incredible boredom. When I did Snow Glass Apples 21 years ago it didn’t feel like anybody was revisiting fairy stories. And then you had that period where any idea that I would have had about doing something with fairy stories seemed almost redundant, because the whole world was doing them. And then, having the idea for this, I thought, actually, that’s a Snow White that nobody’s told, and it’ll be a really interesting
Snow White to tell, and it’s a Sleeping Beauty that nobody’s told. And I can bring them both together, and it wouldn’t be about the things that people thought they were about. And even then I wasn’t sure if it was any good. I just knew that it was interesting enough to want to write it.
Ramon Macario Martins
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I really don’t. I believe that writers are really clever and we made up writer’s block to impress people, because it sounds so much better than “I got stuck” or even “I didn’t have anything to say”. Gardeners don’t get gardener’s block. Cellists don’t get cellist’s block. Taxi drivers rarely get up in the morning and say “Oh, I can’t do it today. I’m just blocked. I can’t find it in myself to taxi drive.” One of the things that I learned doing Sandman on a monthly deadline was that you can write on the bad days. You may not get as much done, and you may think it’s all stupid, but the truth is that the next day may be one of the good days, and you look at