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Interview with Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 28, 2013


Please welcome Libby McGugan to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Eidolon will be published on October 29th in the US and Canada and November 7th in the UK. You may read Libby's Guest Blog - Why I wrote The Eidolon and a few thoughts on why anyone writes anything. - here.



Interview with Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 28, 2013




TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery.



Libby:  Thanks Sally. It’s a privilege to be here.



TQ:  When and why did you start writing?



Libby:  I’ve always dabbled in writing – poetry for a while, and a children’s book about 10 years ago, which was a mishmash of all the stories I’d known growing up. Once I started writing down ideas, the floodgates opened. I found I love the process and the freedom it gives you. Like having a party in your own head.

When I first started The Eidolon, I worked with Cornerstone’s Literary Consultancy, which was a great help in steering me in the right direction.



TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?



Libby:  I found this technique a couple of years ago, and it’s something I apply to pretty much everything now. The idea is that before you do anything, you spend some time thinking about how it will feel when it’s completed the way you would like it to be. After I went to the Writers’ Festival in York a couple of years ago, and got some direct, painful but extremely valuable feedback from an agent and publisher there, I was faced with a major rewrite. So I tried this technique. Before I wrote anything I’d do something else – go for a run, tidy up, whatever, and spend time imagining how it would feel to have written that particular part and feel really satisfied with it. Scene by scene, chapter by chapter, it all came together. So a story that had taken me three years to write, I rewrote (changing the narrative stance, tense and eighty percent of the plot) in ten weeks. Works for me!

I also write to movie soundtracks.



TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?



Libby:  Hmmm. A bit of both. A plontser. I plot general goalposts, but I like to let intuition guide me along whatever path it thinks best along the way, usually while I’m doing something else.



TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?



Libby:  Remembering to eat. My longest stretch was ten hours.

I used to struggle a lot with letting go of scenes I loved. It was like cutting off a finger. But I’ve developed a more ruthless streak now, and it’s funny how often you can incorporate the essence of those scenes in different ways down the line.



TQ:  Describe The Eidolon in 140 characters or less.

Libby:  A pragmatic physicist, recruited to sabotage the CERN, discovers the secret of dark matter and the boundary between the living and the dead.



TQ:  What inspired you to write The Eidolon?



Libby:  I started writing The Eidolon in 2007 after my dad died. His death got me thinking about some big questions. I had a great upbringing: my mum is a catholic and my dad was a protestant-turned-atheist who explored science for his own answers, and while each respected the other, we had this dichotomy of worldviews in our house. I guess I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to square it all, and The Eidolon is the product of that. I love science – with its rigor and obsession with facts, but I also love the spirit of life – the thing that makes us feel, love and question. I didn’t actually set out to be a writer, but once the idea for the story came to me, it wouldn’t let go. So I went with it. It’s been a hugely rewarding journey.



TQ:  What sort of research did you do for The Eidolon?



Libby:  Most of what I read is non-fiction. I read a lot of layman’s books about physics. Brian Greene’s Fabric of the Cosmos is one of my favourites, but don’t ask me to explain it. I also read a lot of books about belief systems, eastern philosophy and the like.

I visited CERN for the purposes of research and saw one of the control rooms in ATLAS. And I have been to the potage mine mentioned at the start of the book, and saw the entrance to the dark matter research facility there. As for what’s inside, I made that bit up.



TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?



Libby:  The easiest character was probably Arcos Crowley, who appears later in the book. He’s so bad tempered – it was just entertaining to be a grouch the whole time as him.

The hardest character? I can’t say – that will blow the plot. The second hardest was probably the main character, Robert Strong. In the earlier drafts he was far too cynical, so he needed a bit of reworking. I was surprised and a little unsettled by that…



TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Eidolon?



Libby:  I like the opening scene. It’s set in Tibet and I drew on experiences from a trek I was on in Bhutan, so it was great to have a chance to write about it. Nothing as dramatic as Robert has to endure, but I enjoyed writing about the power of wilderness and the interaction with the Buddhist monk.

Another favourite would be the rooftop scene, on which the cover art is based. As I mentioned, Robert is inherently cynical and has lots of internal dialogue as he tries to make sense of what’s happening to him. That was a lot of fun to write.



TQ:  What's next?

Libby:  Well, some great news is that there is film interest. Can’t say too much about it at this stage, other than IT’S REALLY EXCITING.

The Eidolon is the first in a trilogy, and I’m working on the sequel at the moment.

I’m looking forward to FantasyCon in October too.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.




Libby:  Thanks so much for the interview - it’s been a real pleasure to be involved.






The Eidolon

The Eidolon
Solaris Books, October 29, 2013 (US/Canada)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Interview with Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 28, 2013
A contemporary SF thriller. The divide between science and the human spirit is the setting for a battle for the future.

When physicist Robert Strong loses his job at the Dark Matter research lab and his relationship falls apart, he returns home to Scotland. Then the dead start appearing to him, and Robert begins to question his own sanity. Victor Amos, an enigmatic businessman, arrives and recruits Robert to sabotage CERN’S Large Hadron Collider, convincing him the next step in the collider’s research will bring about disaster. Everything Robert once understood about reality, and the boundaries between life and death, is about to change forever. And the biggest change will be to Robert himself... Mixing science, philosophy and espionage, Libby McGugan’s stunning debut is a thriller like no other.





About Libby

Interview with Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 28, 2013
Libby McGugan was born 1972 in Airdrie, a small town east of Glasgow in Scotland, to a Catholic mother and a Protestant-turned-atheist father, who loved science. She enjoyed a mixed diet of quantum physics, spiritual instinct, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Her ambition was to grow up and join the Rebel alliance in a galaxy Far, Far away. Instead she went to Glasgow University and studied medicine.

A practising doctor, she has worked in Scotland, in Australia with the Flying Doctors service and, for a few months, in a field hospital in the desert. She loves travelling and the diversity that is the way different people see the world, and has been trekking in the Himalaya of Bhutan, potholing in Sarawak, backpacking in Chile and Europe, and diving in Cairns.

Her biggest influences are Joseph Campbell, Lao Tzu, David Bohm, Brian Greene, and Yoda.

Website  ~  Twitter @LIBBYMcGUGAN  ~  Facebook

2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2013


It's time for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars for October 2013!





Since Cover Wars was so much fun as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, we're doing it again for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2013 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when I have it.

I'm using Blogger's poll widget because it's easier for everyone. I'll keep an eye on the poll for anomalies.
















Cover art by John Harris.





















Guest Blog by Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 4, 2013


Please welcome Libby McGugan to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Eidolon will be published on October 29th in the US and Canada and November 7th in the UK.



Guest Blog by Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 4, 2013




A big thank you, Sally, for the invitation to join The Qwillery party! It’s a privilege to be here.


Why I wrote The Eidolon and a few thoughts on why anyone writes anything.

Here’s the longer answer to this one. For those with a short attention span, the brief version will be posted in the Debut Author Challenge on 28th October.

Does the world really need another book? According to Google, who actually counted, there are something like 130 million books out there. We’re not short of them. So why bother?

For me, it was something that wouldn’t leave me alone. It was a way to explore some thoughts I’d been chewing on for a long time. I didn’t set out to be a writer, but I did have a story I wanted to tell.

I had a great upbringing. My mum is a Catholic and my dad was a Protestant (a pretty antiestablishment union for its time and place). When my dad was in his twenties, he realized that religion wasn’t working for him, so he turned to science, as a layman, to try to figure out what’s going on. He lived and breathed it. So we had this dichotomy of worldviews in our house – science on one side and religion on the other. They coexisted harmoniously and respectfully, but it did make me think. I grew up with TV science documentaries, New Scientist, Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke. Until my dad died in 2007, we frequently had long discussions into the small hours about cosmology, life on other planets, quantum physics and what it all means. It left me with a sense of wonder about the world that’s still with me. It’s partly why I went into medicine – I was fascinated by the design of the human body. It lets you enjoy a good meal, go to a movie, eat popcorn and you don’t have to think about what your hepatocytes are up to with your Sauvignon Blanc.

I also grew up with George Lucas, Yoda, The Force and all that this represents. I can still tell you pretty much every line, including Greedo’s. (‘Otta-toota, Solo. Jabba wanecheko, bashuniawe kantanya wanya ooska, hey, hey, hey, hey.’ I’m not kidding.) This, too, left me with a sense of magic about the world. But it kind of clashed with the whole science thing.

I love science, with its homage to evidence, fastidious rigor and obsession with facts. But I also love the spirit of life – the thing that makes you feel, love, question, desire. For a long time, I couldn’t square the two – it seemed like science was real but detached and the spirit of life inspiring but intangible.

In the end, I sat down and wrote a book about a scientist who’s exploring these ideas. As it turns out, The Eidolon is the first in a trilogy. It’s dressed up as a thriller (with some unabashed parachuting into fantasyland), but it’s really a story about one man and how his worldview is shaped and changed by his experiences. Once it got hold of me, it snowballed, and I’ve loved the whole journey. Even, and in fact especially, the editing! Given that writing is a fairly solitary process, working with other people – Cornerstone’s Literary Consultancy to begin with, Ian Drury, my agent, and Jonathan Oliver, chief editor at Solaris - to improve what’s on the page, has been thoroughly rewarding. It’s an ongoing apprenticeship and each contribution sharpens the story. I’ve also been lucky to have some really supportive and patient people in my life to allow it to happen.

For me, writing this story and the ones that follow is a chance to explore two apparently disparate ideologies, and I see now that it is that space in between, where the edges blur, that it gets exciting. It’s our curiosity, our foresight, our ability to ask ‘what if?’ that drives science. So from this vantage point, science is an expression of the mind. And the best part is we get to benefit from the daydreams.

So why do we write stories, or for that matter, play music, study physics, climb mountains or do whatever our thing happens to be? Maybe it’s because those passions are the fabric of life. They connect us with ourselves, with other people and with the world around us. It’s the stuff of life, of feeling truly alive.






The Eidolon

The Eidolon
Solaris Books, October 29, 2013 (US/Canada)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Guest Blog by Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 4, 2013
A contemporary SF thriller. The divide between science and the human spirit is the setting for a battle for the future.

When physicist Robert Strong loses his job at the Dark Matter research lab and his relationship falls apart, he returns home to Scotland. Then the dead start appearing to him, and Robert begins to question his own sanity. Victor Amos, an enigmatic businessman, arrives and recruits Robert to sabotage CERN’S Large Hadron Collider, convincing him the next step in the collider’s research will bring about disaster. Everything Robert once understood about reality, and the boundaries between life and death, is about to change forever. And the biggest change will be to Robert himself... Mixing science, philosophy and espionage, Libby McGugan’s stunning debut is a thriller like no other.





About Libby

Guest Blog by Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 4, 2013
Libby McGugan was born 1972 in Airdrie, a small town east of Glasgow in Scotland, to a Catholic mother and a Protestant-turned-atheist father, who loved science. She enjoyed a mixed diet of quantum physics, spiritual instinct, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Her ambition was to grow up and join the Rebel alliance in a galaxy Far, Far away. Instead she went to Glasgow University and studied medicine.

A practising doctor, she has worked in Scotland, in Australia with the Flying Doctors service and, for a few months, in a field hospital in the desert. She loves travelling and the diversity that is the way different people see the world, and has been trekking in the Himalaya of Bhutan, potholing in Sarawak, backpacking in Chile and Europe, and diving in Cairns.

Her biggest influences are Joseph Campbell, Lao Tzu, David Bohm, Brian Greene, and Yoda.

Website  ~  Twitter @LIBBYMcGUGAN  ~  Facebook

2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Eidolon by Libby McGugan


2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Eidolon by Libby McGugan


The Qwillery is pleased to announce the newest featured author for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge.



Libby McGugan

The Eidolon
Solaris Books, October 29, 2013 (US/Canada)
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2013 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Eidolon by Libby McGugan
A contemporary SF thriller. The divide between science and the human spirit is the setting for a battle for the future.

When physicist Robert Strong loses his job at the Dark Matter research lab and his relationship falls apart, he returns home to Scotland. Then the dead start appearing to him, and Robert begins to question his own sanity. Victor Amos, an enigmatic businessman, arrives and recruits Robert to sabotage CERN’S Large Hadron Collider, convincing him the next step in the collider’s research will bring about disaster. Everything Robert once understood about reality, and the boundaries between life and death, is about to change forever. And the biggest change will be to Robert himself... Mixing science, philosophy and espionage, Libby McGugan’s stunning debut is a thriller like no other.


Interview with Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 28, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - October 2013Guest Blog by Libby McGugan, author of The Eidolon - October 4, 20132013 Debut Author Challenge Update - The Eidolon by Libby McGugan

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