Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Jasper Fforde
By OFW Editor: Michael Keyton
Published: May 18, 2013

Accomplishment: Jasper Fforde began his career as a focus puller in the film industry, where he worked on a number of films, including The Trial, Quills, GoldenEye, and Entrapment. His books, and there are many, are noted for their profusion of literary allusions and word play, tightly scripted plots, and playfulness with the conventions of traditional genres.

Has a book every made you angry. If so, which one?

To Kill a Mocking Bird. Angry, frustrated, helpless - but then I think it was meant to. Lots of
books have made me angry because they're shit, but that's not the book, it's the author.

Which fictional character would you like to have a close relationship with?

Merlin. Tricky to work with, but the fringe benefits of close companionship to a wizard can't
adequately be overstated.

Which four literary characters would you like to invite to dinner, and why?

Mrs Hudson, Mrs Tiggy-winkle, Auntie Em and Grace Poole. The conversation might not be
top class, but at least I wouldn't have to wash up afterwards.

Which author makes you jealous and why?

Tom Stoppard. Brains, talent, wit, infallible writing - and married to Richard Brier's screen

What was the first story that ever made you afraid?

The one my parents told me that begins: "If you don't put that vase back where you found it
so help me I will..."

Elmore Leonard listed ten rules, one of which is: 'Try to leave out the part that readers tend to
skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel.' What rule or piece of advice would you add to
the list?

Never use the word 'Majestic', especially in poems. Bad. Very Bad.

Do you have a favourite technique to generate fear or suspense in a novel?

Use. More. Fullstops.

Will we still be reading fairy tales in a hundred years time?

Oh my God! I've just pricked my finger on a spinning machine. I'll tell you when I've had a
nap *yawn*

What is the darkest fairy tale you’ve read.

Rumplestiltskin, during the Wilson power cuts of 1972. We had to steal the braille version
from the RNLB school next door. Then steal a sightless person to read it for us.

Don't you mean RNIB? The RNLB is the lifeboat charity.

Yes, I do, sorry.

Is there a well trodden meme you’re tired of reading?

Identical twins annoy me - why can't we move to identical triplets? I'm none too fond of
Albinos as deranged baddies either. I've asked around a lot, but not one person I've ever met
has been a victim of albino crime. On a more sensible note, the crime genre, which is now so
tired that it can be apparently freshened simply by moving it to Scandinavia.

What are you currently reading?

A series of questions set for my by Michael Keyton, who was terrific in Jackie Brown and
Batman, but might have been overdoing it somewhat in Betelgeuse.

Have you ever been accused of being facetious and a bit OCD?

Often. And can I point out that 'Facetious' is but one of only a few words that contain all the
vowels, and in the correct order?

Why are you particularly proud to be British?

Because we awarded medals to pigeons during wartime.

Have you quite finished making up your own questions?


I slumped. Jasper was a funny man but he hadn't given me anything on Bo or the whereabouts of Sheri Lamour.  I checked out some of the books he'd brought with him: The Woman Who Died a lot, The Last Dragon Slayer, Song of the Quarkbeast I checked out some others, all the time aware that he was looking at me kind of strange - as though there was something, something I was missing and he was willing me to find it. Hell in a basket - why couldn't he just tell me? And then I found it. None of the books had a chapter 13. Why was that? He gave a sly smile and I tried to smile back. But all I could think of was Sheri Lamour, a lighthouse, and the number 13.

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