Fluence was published just over a month ago and after a fortnight of interviews and reviews the official launch took place on 21 July in a packed Primrose Hill Community Library.
I was really pleased that people took the time to come along on a sunny evening and I certainly enjoyed meeting them, reading extracts and talking about the inspiration behind the novel. The most enjoyable part for me (apart from the pub afterwards) was the Q&A at the end.
All the questions were thoughtful and wide-ranging, including whether I thought setting Fluence in London limited its appeal and if genre imposes a constraint on authors.
My short answers to those questions are:
no, because I believe that London is well-known and loved worldwide and when writing near-future fiction it’s helpful for readers to have some familiar hooks and;
yes, I think genre can limit an author if they let it and it’s a shame because it’s really only a marketing construct, although I understand that the flip-side of bookshops offering lots of choice is the need to categorise.
Fluence is described as Dystopian, but I’ve always thought of it in wider terms and I’m happy to say its reviewers agree with me. If the question of genre interests you then listen to Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro debate this hot topic on Radio 4.
And finally, the Fitzrovia News wrote a splendid piece about the launch which you can read here: “Author praises community library and warns about corporate power“