Today is my turn to host The Spider Dance blog tour. Having read The War in the Dark, a gripping supernatural spy thriller, I could not wait to read The Spider Dance. I was lucky enough to not only be sent a review copy by Titan books, but to do an interview with Nick Setchfield.
How did you approach the fusing of so many genres to create The War in the Dark and consequently The Spider Dance?
Like the crazed scientist in The Island of Doctor Moreau, unleashing unholy hybrids upon the world… It’s a question of finding echoes and resonances between different genres. Espionage and sorcery seem to combine quite naturally but also have a wonderfully combustive quality when they come together. With The Spider Dance I was splicing the thriller genre with vampirism, which shaped the kind of vampires I had to create. Hopefully I’ve put a fresh spin on the myth of the undead.
James Bond meets Indiana Jones is one of the most recurring and incredible comparisons, how would you describe your books?
I think that’s pretty spot-on, to be honest. I’m a lifelong fan of Bond and Indy so it’s no surprise I bleed that love on the page. I’d describe the books as globe-trotting occult thrillers: visceral, romantic, a little murderous but with a vein of black humour.
Was it different writing Christopher Winter in The Spider Dance after the reveals to his backstory in The War in the Dark?
Absolutely – and it had to be. The character can’t be in stasis after what he discovered about himself in the first book. It’s his curiosity about that half-remembered past that essentially propels him through The Spider Dance. That and the chance to make some quick money by doing something very dangerous indeed…
The historical backdrops and different locations are incredible. What was it about this era that inspired you?
Thank you – they were fun to research and it’s always an interesting challenge to put the texture and atmosphere of a place on the page. I’ve always loved the 1960s. Such a vivid, propulsive, stylish decade but one with so many faultlines beneath that gleaming surface. It’s the perfect backdrop for a glamorous, fantastical spy story, which is doubtlessly why there was such a craze for espionage adventure back then.
When you write, do you plan the plot and work the setting around that or do you research the events and locations with that influencing and leading the story?
It’s not a terribly straightforward process, to be honest. In fact it can be a rather spooky one. At first the plot comes to me in flashes, like parts of a trailer, or glances at a mood board, and when those flashes begin to coalesce into something that feels solidly intriguing I begin to thread the story between those moments. Sometimes I get glimpses of a location, like there’s a compass inside me, spinning of its own volition. I knew I wanted to go to Naples in The Spider Dance. But only when I began to seriously research Naples did I realise quite how perfect it was for the story I wanted to tell. Uncannily perfect, given what’s beneath the city… It was as if my unconscious mind already knew, and had packed the passport without telling me.
If you could drop Christopher Winter into any other book, what would it be and how do you think he would cope there?
A Year in Provence, just to liven up the herbed cheeses and rural plumbing with brutal fist fights and vampire slaying.
If you could dream cast a Bondesque film franchise, who would you choose?
I interviewed James McAvoy a few years ago. He has charisma for miles – just something magnetic about his presence. On screen he can be vulnerable, funny, sweet or malevolent, whatever a moment demands. At the time he had close-cropped hair that was just growing back after an X-Men movie. In the middle of the interview I suddenly thought “My god, it’s Winter…” If we’re casting The War in the Dark then the brilliant Elizabeth Debicki would be a perfect Karina. As for The Spider Dance, we’d need to time-snatch Twiggy from the 1960s to play Libby Cracknell.
When you’re not writing, are there particular genres that you prefer? What are you currently reading?
All sorts, really. Lately I’ve found myself reading a lot of factual books about film and TV. Just finished The Man Who Invented The Daleks, Alwyn Turner’s biography of Terry Nation (another Cardiff boy, so I felt some connection with the imagination that left Wales behind for planet Skaro). It was a great insight into the life of a jobbing writer with a taste for populist escapism.
What one thing would you say to readers about The Spider Dance?
Never take your shadow for granted.
Thank you for taking the time out to answer my questions. I hope everyone enjoys The Spider Dance, and The War in The Dark, as much as I did!
Thank you, Tracey – really happy you enjoyed them, and thanks for spreading the word.
After the events of The War in The Dark and the reveal of Christopher’s past, he returns to London. An underworld exchange of a sacred heart turns bloody and uncovers a new breed of supernatural.
Between succubus shenanigans and the secret of the Shadowless, Christopher discovers that British Intelligence don’t like letting go of their man. The answers to his current problems can be unlocked by exploring his recently revealed past and embracing his true self.
As with The War in The Dark, The Spider Dance is a fast paced, action packed supernatural spy thriller. You dive straight into the action and it never lets up. Incredible action, stunning descriptions, intriguing characters, and international adventures.
I utterly adore they way Nick Setchfield writes and I could read about Christopher Winter forever – please.
Thank you to Titan and Nick Setchfield for letting me be a part of The Spider Dance blog tour, check out the other amazing hosts and what they are up to on their blogs.
Both The War in The Dark and The Spider Dance are available to buy now.