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BSFA Interviews: Gareth Powell

In this series, BSFA member and author, Gareth Worthington interviews other authors to gain insight into their writing and their writing process and find out about their latest work. We begin with the author, Gareth Powell.

1.      On your social media posts, you indicate that your first published book didn’t come out until you were forty years old—and that it’s never too late to start, which is great. My question is: why did you start writing, and is it still the reason you write now?

GLP:   I’ve always written stories and been fascinated by space. I studied creative writing as part of my university course, but it took me a while to believe I could actually make a career out of it. I left university at the age of 22, and real life got in the way for the next eight years. It was only when I turned thirty that I decided the time was right to get serious about my ambitions and to write a novel. Ten years later, that novel got published.

2.      Your latest book is Descendant Machine. Beyond the synopsis, how would you describe your book to a fan?

GLP: Descendant Machine is like a thriller set in space, aboard a fleet of arks that house the remnants of the human race. There’s a mysterious object that some factions want to open and others want to keep closed, and a race to see which will win. It has talking spaceships, complex characters, and plenty of action and adventure, not to mention some mind-bending notions of time and space.

3.      What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

GLP: The ending, because it’s where I pulled out all the stops, in terms of tension, spectacle, and weird science.

4.      Which of your books would you say is your favourite and why?

GLP: That’s such an unfair question! I know Embers of War is my best-selling novel, and I’ll always have a soft spot for it, but my favourite is usually the one I’m working on.

5.      We are all eagerly awaiting the adaptation of Embers of War, where you are working with the team who brought us The Expanse. Can you tell us a little about this experience so far?

GLP: I’ve been fortunate to read several drafts of the script and have meetings with the scriptwriter and the director, and they are committed to bringing the spirit of the book to the screen. I’m very optimistic that if a network commissions the series, it will be fantastic television.

6.      What is next for you? Can you tell us a little about your work in progress?

GLP: I have a novel called Future’s Edge that is coming out from Titan in Feb 2025. That’s already written and delivered. I also have a short story collection called Who Will You Save? coming from the same publisher in September 2025, and I’m currently writing another novel that I’m hoping to be able to announce soon.

7.      Just a fun question. If you could write another genre what would it be and why?

GLP: I wrote a horror-tinged smalltown police procedural (Ragged Alice from TorDotCom Publishing), and might venture back into that genre again. Otherwise, probably a thriller.

8.      You bounce back and forth between the USA and the UK. Will you be at any events in either country the coming months?

GLP: I may make a brief appearance at Eastercon, and Dianne and I are planning to be at WorldCon in Glasgow in August, but catching COVID at last year’s Eastercon has made me a little wary of big gatherings.

9.      Finally, where can readers find out more about you?

GLP: My website is, and you can find links to my social media and newsletter from there.


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