Book Talk: David Mitchell
His new novel, “Slade House,” is due in October and he has sold rights for a small-screen serial of his 2014 book “The Bone Clocks.”
The English author of “Cloud Atlas” also has one year to write a novel for “Future Library,” a project that aims to collect one original story by a writer every year until 2114.
Mitchell, 46, spoke to Reuters about how “Slade House” began on Twitter, expanding his so-called “uber novel” or several interlinked works spanning his fiction writing, and plans for “The Bone Clocks,” now out in paperback.
Q: Why has this year been so productive?
A: “Slade House,” I haven’t had to do from scratch. I tried Twitter fiction (writing chapters of 140 characters or less) last year, and part of what has turned into “Slade House” was translated into tweets. I’ve kind of re-translated it back into page prose.
Q: Would you do Twitter fiction again?
A: If I had an idea best served by that format. The (“Slade House”) protagonist, a 13-year old boy who we’d probably describe as at the Asperger’s end of the spectrum, has got into using his mum’s Valium. He’s essentially thinking in tweets.
Q: Will your fictional universe keep expanding?
A: Yes. In the last books, I’ve been starting to plan forwards a little bit. I’ve got a rough idea for my next three, four, five books. It’s like a highly defective crystal ball. I can see the foggy outlines of the uber book. It’s not a series.
Q: What pressure do you feel from earlier successes?
A: I did a piece of media. The journalist wrote “David Mitchell, author of ‘The Bone Clocks’…” I could have punched the air! Great! Until then, it’s always been “the author of ‘Cloud Atlas.'”
Q: How will the Future Library book fit into your work?
A: I might put into (it) something important to the uber book, a key.
Q: Will there be more movies?
A: Small-screen form is where things are at the moment. For “The Bone Clocks,” that’s the format that would be better suited, a series of one-hour episodes. I signed the deal recently.
Q: Where are you on your creative arc?
A: I’ve got four or five ideas for fairly hefty books. It takes me to my early 60s. There’s a couple of novels set in future, a couple in the past. One or two in the present. ReutersDavid Mitchell, The Bone Clocks