Titan Books just released Fringe – The Zodiac Paradox, which is a prequel novel to the “Fringe” television show focusing on the characters William Bell and Walter Bishop as they face off against the Zodiac Killer.
Now check out the finer details of the book in our interview with author Christa Faust.
AMANDA DYAR: Tell us about yourself and how your writing career got started.
CHRISTA FAUST: I’m an ex-pat New Yorker living in the strange land of Los Angeles with my Boston Terrier Butch and way too many vintage paperbacks. I’m primarily a crime fiction writer with a hardboiled pulp sensibility, but I got my start in horror back in the early 90s. I’ve published a dozen novels, both original and tied into a variety of television shows and movies, including the award winning novelization of Snakes on a Plane. I love my job. To tell the truth, I’m really not fit to do anything else.
AMANDA: What led you to write Fringe – The Zodiac Paradox (review) and what were some of your inspirations for it?
CHRISTA: As with all my media tie in gigs, I was hired for the job based on the strength of my previous work. One of the things that fans may not know about professional tie-in writing is that you don’t get to pick the properties you’ll be hired to work on. You can always turn down a project if you really don’t like the show, but other than that, you don’t get a say. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been invited to work on such great shows and movies so far, but I can’t take any credit for the selection.
My inspiration for the series came from a desire to explore the personal history and backgrounds of the three main characters. I wanted to use the more intimate novel form to allow the fans to go deeper into the characters heads and find out what makes them tick. I was also very curious about Cortexiphan and its origins, which is the main focus of the Zodiac Paradox. As is the infamous Zodiac killer, which is another fascination of mine.
AMANDA: What kind of research went into writing the The Zodiac Paradox, and how closely did you work with the writers of the television series?
CHRISTA: I did tons of research for the series on all kinds of topics ranging from San Francisco history to virology. Uterine deformities to Grape Nehi. It’s one of my favorite things about this job, getting lost in archives and reading up on a wide range of oddball subjects that I may never have thought about on my own.
And yes, I worked very closely with the Fringe writing team every step of the way on this project, particularly the science advisors. The best part of the gig has been my fun, crazy phone meetings with those guys, riffing on ideas and talking about everything from phosphorescent monkeys to Smallpox. Because of the fact that these books are official cannon, every little detail has to be approved several times over by Bad Robot. First the outline must be approved before I can write a single word, and then the final manuscript also has to go through the approval process. But I don’t mind, because I enjoy collaborating and bouncing ideas with other writers.
AMANDA: As a tie-in novel, what do you hope fans take away from The Zodiac Paradox?
CHRISTA: First and foremost, I want them to have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. Enjoy the story, the suspense and adventure of it, and if they get answers to some of their questions about Walter, William Bell and Nina Sharp along the way, that’s a bonus.
AMANDA: Fringe – The Zodiac Paradox is the first of three prequels. Tell us about these three and if more are planned in the future.
CHRISTA: Each book is centered around one of the three main characters. The Zodiac Paradox, obviously, is about Walter. The second book The Burning Man is centered around Olivia’s childhood and teen years, particularly her time at boarding school. The third, Sins of the Fathers, is Peter’s book, set in 2008 just before the first episode of the first season. I’ve only been hired to write these three, but Titan and Bad Robot may decide to do more in the future with a different writer behind the wheel.
AMANDA: Were you an avid fan of the “Fringe” television show before you started writing the novels? Also, what do you like most about the “Fringe” universe?
CHRISTA: I enjoyed the show before I was hired to work on the series, but I didn’t get deep into the minutia of the universe until I started plotting out the three books. And what I like most about that universe is the vast and infinitely malleable potential for stories within stories. Universes within universes. It’s a really fun sandbox for a writer to play in.
AMANDA: Who is your favorite “Fringe” character and why?
CHRISTA: I have a soft spot for Walter, because I was raised by hippie intellectual parents, surrounded by all their brainy, nutty professor friends. He really reminds me of them and writing about him as a young man is almost like getting to know my own parents before I was born.
AMANDA: Do you have any other projects in the works or anything you would like to mention?
CHRISTA: Next up I’ll be tackling an erotic thriller project for Dutton called Bad Romance. It’s sort of like Gillian Flynn does Fifty Shade of Grey, but with my own unique, edgy spin. It will be quite a change from the Fringe books, but that’s what keeps my life interesting.
To learn more, visit the official Titan Books website.
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