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Daniel Fraser: Please could you tell us a little about Sleepwalkers?
Tom Grieves: Sleepwalkers is a thriller about Ben, a lovely guy who suffers from terrible nightmares. As the story develops, so he begins to fear that the nightmares are actually real and that everything else in his life is actually a lie, carefully constructed to blind him from the truth.
Daniel Fraser: Have you always been interested in the supernatural, what is it about these ideas which you find so appealing?
Tom Grieves: Well, the novel isn’t really supernatural, but it’s certainly high-concept and has a ‘what if’ dilemma at its heart. I’ve worked on a few supernatural shows but to be honest, it’s more the characters than their powers or strange worlds that draws me to them. I like the terrible loneliness of the vampire, for example, more than their blood-sucking!
Daniel Fraser: Do you think the supernatural elements of fiction allow you to say something about people and their nature you wouldn’t be able to otherwise?
Tom Grieves: No, I don’t think there’s anything can’t be said in fiction whether it’s supernatural, sci-fi or otherwise. But perhaps you can tell stories that a sci-fi audience might not naturally be drawn to if you give it a more original/heightened context. But there is certainly something about this genre that makes people look for the allegory in your narrative.
Daniel Fraser: You have written for TV as well. What would you say the key differences are between the two disciplines? Are there any key similarities do you think?
Tom Grieves: There are LOADS of similarities – the rules of drama and popular fiction are very close and basically come down to telling good stories with engaging characters. But a script is only ever a launchpad for a film or TV episode and as such is taken further by the director and actors. A book is a direct link between reader and writer and feels all the more intimate for it.
Daniel Fraser: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Tom Grieves: Yes. I remember telling someone I was going to be an author when I was about six! But I then felt that a writer needed to have lived and have a voice (and other rubbish) so I didn’t really dare try until I was in my thirties. I wish I’d started earlier, to be honest, although I doubt that anyone would have wanted to read any of my juvenile labours.
Tom Grieves: I have three sons who keep me “busy”. I also like running. But basically, if I’m at home with my wife, then I’m happy, whatever we’re up to.
Daniel Fraser: Do you have a favourite quote?
Tom Grieves: No! I feel very inadequate now.
Daniel Fraser: Who would you say your biggest influences are?
Tom Grieves: Hm. An English Literature degree means I’ve read quite a few writers and all have affected me. I guess the answer would be my favourite writers and movies: so, Douglas Coupland, Robert Lowell, Peter Carey, Blade Runner, Tootsie and The Godfather. Yes, I’ve no idea how to interpret all that either.
Daniel Fraser: What are you working on now?
Tom Grieves: Book 2 and am about 80% through draft two. It’s about women who eat children (it isn’t really). I have some scripts in development which may come to nothing or be THE NEXT BIG THING and I’ve just returned from a three-month spell in LA working on NBC’s new series, Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Myers.
Daniel Fraser: Anything else you’d like to say?
Tom Grieves: …