Lost Souls is the sequel to the brilliant The Reviver - can you tell us a bit about what's in-store for readers? What new threats will Jonah Miller face this time around?
At the start of the book, the opponents of revival are on the rise, and the public are beginning to get uneasy about how revival is used. Jonah finds himself at the sharp end of things, then gets caught up in the investigation of a bizarre death that’s been dismissed as accidental but could be something much darker.
Given that the Reviver series so wonderfully combines elements of supernatural fiction and police procedural, were there any particular cultural artefacts that inspired it?
The main inspirations aren’t exactly contemporary – they’re 170 years old! Two of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales collided in my head to give me the image of a detective interviewing a corpse, and the idea of revival as a forensic tool was born.
As for modern police procedural shows like CSI, those shows avoid any kind of realism in the forensic techniques used; the forensic science in Reviver is played as honestly as possible, and I hoped that would lend a feeling of reality to the whole story, something to add an extra chill to the supernatural elements.
We've heard rumblings of a film deal for The Reviver - can you tell us any more about it or is it strictly hush-hush?
Legendary Pictures – the company behind The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, and Jurassic World (to name a few) – currently have the rights, and a few weeks ago a new screenplay was completed and delivered. I can’t give you any more details than that, but if it gets the go-ahead I can assure you I’ll be unable to think straight for months. A decision is imminent, fingers crossed . . .
You also penned the novel adaptation of the massively popular French TV series The Returned - how was that different to writing purely from imagination?
It’s much easier to adapt something – you have the plot and characters already there, so you’re not plagued by constant doubts about every single damn thing in your book. There’s still plenty of work to do, though. With film and TV you have a neutral viewpoint, but with a novel you need viewpoint characters, and you have to bring the reader inside their heads. That included inventing a lot of backstory, but I was told almost nothing about the second season. Inevitably some of what I wrote conflicted with where the writers of the show were going, so I often had to rework it.
Also, inconsistencies and plot holes that are easily overlooked in the show would have become glaring problems in the novel. Plenty of minor changes were needed, but it was fun to rejig action and tweak characters when I thought it would work better.
Where next for Jonah Miller?
When I started The Reviver, the option was there to write a long series, each one focusing on a new central crime to solve while teasing out a larger plot arc. But that wasn’t what I wanted to do – I wanted each book to have a different feel, and leave the characters in a very different place. The Reviver took its time to explore the world; Lost Souls bursts out of the blocks. Book 3 will bring it all to a very definite conclusion.
* * * *
Lost Souls and The Reviver are out now in paperback.
For more about Seth and his books, visit his blog