Chris McGeorge – Q&A

Chris McGeorge is the author of Guess Who, Now You See Me and Inside Out. His latest novel, Half-Past Tomorrow was published by Orion on 5 August 2021.
2. What inspired the book?
Chris kindly answered a few of my questions.
It’s interesting – I used to be a total pantser. I used to sit down to a novel and have absolutely no idea what was going to happen during writing that day. Particularly, with my second novel Now You See Me. I sold the idea with Guess Who in a two book deal about a year before I had to write it, and by the time it got down to it I had no idea what I was doing. That book was absolutely made up as I went. Since then, I have started planning more, and finding it really beneficial. I think, maybe, it’s a part of growing older. Half-Past Tomorrow was planned rather broadly in its three parts, and I left myself to puzzle out the between bits. Book 5 however was sold on a full synopsis, so I pretty much knew every plot point. There’s definitely pros and cons to each approach, and there’s no completely right way.
7. I like to end my Q+As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q+As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?
That’s such a good question. I don’t know that I have a question exactly, but there are definitely aspects of my books that no one has ever picked up on. There are many many video game references in my books, and I haven’t had one person point them out! I’m not complaining – there is definitely limited crossover between the two audiences, and it’s quite nice to have a few things that are still hidden.
But then the presenter starts reporting murders – murders that happen just the way they were reported.
I am now finally all grown up (I wasn’t when I started!) so I have limited free time. Along with working, I have a family so a lot of time is spent with my partner, as well as walking the dogs, and caring for the animals. Walking the dogs is very therapeutic, and is a great time to think about ideas. When I get some time to chill out, usually I watch TV series, films, or play video games. I like things with strong narratives, so there is always a way I am consuming stories. I love podcasts too, for the same reason.
It would probably be House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It is a horror about a fictional film that documents a photographer moving into a haunted house with his family. One day, the photographer stumbles upon an endless labyrinth inside the house. It is an incredibly complex book, told through at least three different framing devices. There is a lot of discussion online about what the book actually means (there’s even a podcast that examines one page every episode) and there is so much hidden meaning. I think I could read it forever and still not unlock everything inside, much like an endless labyrinth…
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which book would it be?
Shirley Steadman, a 70 year old living in a small town in the North East of England, loves her volunteer work at the local hospital radio. She likes giving back to the community, and even more so, she likes getting out of the house. Haunted by the presence of her son, a reluctant Royal Navy officer who was lost at sea, and still in the shadow of her long dead abusive husband, she doesn’t like being alone much.
About the Book
1. Tell us a little about Half-Past Tomorrow
And Shirley is the only one who can stop them.

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you just sit down and see where the words take you?
I used to volunteer at Durham Hospitals Radio when I was 18 and I absolutely loved it. I used to have my own show, as well as going around the wards and collecting requests once a week. This was the main inspiration, and I enjoyed revisiting those memories while crafting the book. I am always thinking about how I can turn seemingly mundane situations on their head, and bring in other elements from different genres. I am a huge fan of science fiction, and I wanted to see if I could bring parts of that genre over to crime and more importantly, over to the real world.
One day, at the radio station, she is playing around with the equipment and finds a frequency that was never there before. It is a pirate radio station, and as she listens as the presenter starts reading the news. But there is one problem – the news being reported is tomorrows. Shirley first thinks it is a mere misunderstanding – a wrong date. But she watches as everything reported comes true. At first, Shirley is in awe of the station, and happily tunes in to hear the news.
I think maybe if I had to say a question, it would be something to do with how my books are connected. They all take place in the same universe. Maybe the question would be – do you have a plan about the over-arching story of your world, and how they are going to connect? And the answer is that, yes, there is a little bit of a plan, but I never want the connectedness to take away from being able to read each story standalone.
The main surprise in entering publishing was the speed at which projects happen. Guess Who was a two year project, and I had had ideas for it before that. In comparison, my other books have had a development time of around eight months each. I think that still surprises me sometimes, but ultimately it is a good thing as I am prone to going off ideas, and second-guessing myself. This pace doesn’t really allow me time for that.
Half-Past Tomorrow follows Shirley Steadman, a 70-year-old living in Chester-Le-Street, County Durham. She volunteers at a hospital radio in her spare time to combat her loneliness, and dwelling on her past. One day, at the station, whilst playing around with the equipment before a show, she finds a pirate radio station broadcast that seems to be reporting the news a day in advance. She doesn’t think much of it, until the things reported start coming true. At first, she is excited by it, but then the radio station starts reporting murders, and she finds that she is the only one who can stop them.
4. You’ve been through the publishing process a few times. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that still surprises you?

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