Interview: Simon R. Green: Of Supernatural Spies and Ghost Finders
by Drew Bittner
Review by Drew Bittner
Date: 30 May 2013
Links: Review of Casino Infernale / Simon R. Green's Website /
His two current series are the Secret Histories novels, which are supernatural espionage and hidden conspiracy tales centered around the intrepid Eddie Drood and his love Molly Metcalf, and Ghost Finders, which follow the doings of a trio of "ghost hunters" working for a private foundation with its own agenda. Needless to say, both are full of action and richly drawn, exceptionally cool characters.
Green talked with SFRevu recently about both series, as well as some additional books coming up in the near future, wherein he revisits some of his past worlds and heroes.
SFRevu: Thanks for talking with us today, Mr. Green! Considering Casino Infernale is out this month, let's start with the Secret Histories novels. He's battled truly world-class enemies before and come through, but Eddie Drood (alias Shaman Bond) is really pushed to his limits in Casino Infernale. What do you think this story shows us readers about Eddie and Molly?
Simon R. Green: Eddie is still trying to figure out whether he's more comfortable being Eddie Drood or Shaman Bond. Which is the real him. And he's still trying to work out the best way to do his job. Casino Infernale shows us Eddie in a more traditional secret agent role; going undercover.
SFRevu: With the names of the novels--and the name of his alter ego--you cross-pollinate urban fantasy with James Bond-style big picture/global adventure. What inspired this singular mash-up of genres?
Green: I spent twelve novels in the Nightside, working on the idea of a private eye operating in the Twilight Zone, so when I wanted to come up with another new series, it seemed obvious to me to go with the next best fictional icon; the secret agent.
But whereas the John Taylor books were film noir, or neon noir as I liked to call them, the Shaman Bond books are much brighter and sharper and widescreen.
SFRevu: James Bond is a love-'em-and-leave-'em sort of spy; Eddie Drood emphatically is not. Did you mean for him to be more in the Bond mold this way early on? Did creating Molly change how you charted Eddie's story arc?
Green: Eddie and Molly have both been through a lot of changes since I first introduced them, and introduced them to each other. One reviewer once called Molly, Scariest Girlfriend Ever; and that's what keeps Eddie on his toes. They both make each other better people.
SFRevu: Eddie and Molly strike me as the most overtly romantic of the many couples in your books. Is it different writing them, as a couple much in love, than it is writing Hawk and Fisher, Owen and Hazel, and others? What do you like best about Eddie and Molly as a couple?
Green: I suppose Eddie and Molly work best as a couple because they’re not broken or damaged figures, in the way that John and Suzie were. They also want to save the world, but they're determined to have fun doing it.
SFRevu: Each story builds in seriousness, with Eddie and Molly taking out world-class threats (much as James Bond does). Is it a challenge to invent new, larger dangers? Is there an "escalation" that's necessary to the characters and the world? And what does writing espionage tales allow you to say or reveal about the world that other works (say, the Nightside books) might not, if anything?
Green: There is a danger in constantly wanting to top the previous book, but so far I'm not running out of ideas. Some people ask, why do I keep going over the top, and going for extremes; to which my response would be, Why settle for less?
SFRevu: Turning to the Ghost Finders series, there's a new novel (Spirits From Beyond) coming up soon. We've had intimations that JC was very much changed by his experiences, in ways that seem quite sinister-- will we learn more about that? And if he learns the truth, is it a secret he must keep from his partners?
Green: The whole team has been changed by what they've been through, and we'll see some major changes in all the characters, as secrets continue to emerge. And once ghost girl Kim returns, in Spirits From Beyond, and the truth about where she's been and what she's being doing comes out... It's all going to hit the fan.
SFRevu: Melody and Happy Jack, to contrast with Eddie and Molly, cannot end well. (Sorry, just my two cents.) What lies ahead for them? And is the attraction "comrades who've seen too much together"... or is Melody interested in the science of what keeps Happy Jack alive after using so much medication?
Green: Melody and Happy go through some major problems in the new book, as Happy's drug use finally comes to a head. The end result will break your heart.
SFRevu: What does the future hold for the Nightside, Deathstalker, and Hawk and Fisher worlds? Will we see new stories set in therein?
Green: I've just finished a new short Nightside novel, The Big Game, to go in my new collection from Ace, Tales From The Nightside. That book will contain all my Nightside short stories published so far.
Hawk and Fisher turn up in the third Blue Moon book, Once in a Blue Moon, which will be out this coming January. It is epic heroic fantasy, and contains some of my best stuff ever.
SFRevu: Is there anything you'd like to pass along to your readers, regarding Casino Infernale, the Secret Histories series, or... other?
Green: Casino Infernale sets Eddie and Molly off on a whole new path, which will be continued in Property of a Lady Faire, which I’m just finishing now, and then A Drood to a Kill.
SFRevu: Thank you for your time, Mr. Green, and for the exciting preview of these upcoming books. Casino Infernale, the latest adventure of Eddie Drood and Molly Metcalf, is on sale this month.