5 QUESTIONS with S.L. Grey

Writing under the pseudonym S.L. Grey, thriller super-team Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg publish their utterly chilling and addictive Under Ground in paperback today. But how will they fare against the Tor blog's punishing 5 Question interview? (Very well, as it happens...)

1. Hello guys. So tell us: what's the elevator pitch for Under Ground

And Then There were None meets The Stand.

 

2. How do the two of you collaborate? 

Mostly by email. We've always lived in different cities and/or countries, so we started immediately by alternating chapters via email. It helps to have all our brainstorming notes automatically typed up rather than scrawled in illegible shorthand on sodden coffee-shop napkins. When the draft is done, we cross-edit to make the stories consistent and coherent. The collaboration also allows us to split and share proofreading, copy-editing and publicity duties. It's just as well we work well by email because one the rare occasions we get together, we either explode our heads with too many ideas for the future or spend the whole time enjoying the food and drink and talking nonsense. No actual work gets done. Last year, on one such rare get together, we stood for four hours in the queue for Dismaland in Weston-super-Mare, and plotted out the 778 years of our collaborative career. The notes Louis had thumbed into his phone were confusing.

 

3. What pop culture work do you most wish you'd created, and why?

Sarah: The Leftovers - it's by far the best thing on telly, and I was blown away by the novel on which it's based. I'll read anything by Tom Perotta.

Louis: Harry Potter. I've been reading them aloud to my sons lately and I realise just how tight and consistent they are even though the books are long and the imaginative world is large. The characters are a lesson in neat distinction and satisfying development. Plus, if I had written the Harry Potter books, the kids and I could camp out in Diagon Alley as often as we like without being evicted.

 

4. Who would you most or least like to get stuck in The Sanctum with?

Sarah: Gordon Ramsay (most and least - he can make a good bacon sandwich which would be ace, but he's a bit shouty which would get annoying)

Louis: If we're bringing chefs down, I'd invite Marco Pierre White. He's very good with local produce and he'd manage to do something great with rats. It would be fun to put him and Ramsey together in one condo.

 

5. What are you working on next? 

We're finishing the edits on our next novel, The Apartment, which offers a dark tale of the airbnb/house swap industry.

 

And a bonus question from John Scalzi: Yoda or Morpheus?

Sarah: Yoda, I prefer.

Louis: Yoda is more huggable and affirming, for sure.

 

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Under Ground is out in paperback right now. You can read an exclusive extract by clicking the image, and you can get in touch with the authors right here and here.