James Lovegrove is the author of over 50 acclaimed novels and books for children.
Having dabbled in writing at school, James first took to it seriously while at university. A short story of his won a college competition. The prize was £15, and it had cost £18 to get the story professionally typed. This taught him a hard but necessary lesson in the harsh economic realities of a literary career.
Straight after graduating from Oxford with a degree in English Literature, James set himself the goal of getting a novel written and sold within two years. In the event, it took two months. The Hope was completed in six weeks and accepted by Macmillan a fortnight later. The seed for the idea for the novel — a world in microcosm on an ocean liner — was planted during a cross-Channel ferry journey.
James blew his modest advance for The Hope on a round-the-world trip which took him to, among other places, Thailand. His experiences there, particularly what he witnessed of the sex industry in Bangkok, provided much of the inspiration for The Foreigners.
Escardy Gap was co-written with Pete Crowther over a period of a year and a half, the two authors playing a game of creative tag, each completing a section in turn and leaving the other to carry the story on. The result has proved a cult favourite, and was voted by readers of SFX one of the top fifty SF/Fantasy novels of all time.
Days, a satire on consumerism, was shortlisted for the 1998 Arthur C. Clarke Award (losing to Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow). The book’s genesis most probably lies in the many visits James used to make as a child to the Oxford Street department store owned by his grandfather. It was written over a period of nine months while James was living in the north-west suburbs of Chicago.
Subsequent works have all been published to great acclaim. These include Untied Kingdom, Worldstorm, Provender Gleed and the back-to-back double-novella Gig. Many of his early books are being reissued by Solaris Books in a series of compendium volumes entitled The James Lovegrove Collection, beginning in late 2014. United Kingdom was shortlisted for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, while “Carry The Moon In My Pocket”, a short story, won Japan’s Seiun Award in 2011 for Best Foreign Short Story. It and other stories by James, more than 40 in total, have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies over the years, and most have been gathered in two collections, Imagined Slights and Diversifications.
James has also written for children. Wings, a short novel for reluctant readers, was short-listed for several awards, while his fantasy series for teens, The Clouded World, written under the pseudonym Jay Amory, has been translated into 7 other languages so far. A five-book series for reluctant readers, The 5 Lords Of Pain, appeared at two-monthly intervals throughout 2010.
More recently James has produced the Pantheon series, a set of standalone military-SF adventures combining high-tech weaponry and ancient gods. The third of these, The Age Of Odin, made it onto the New York Times bestseller list, and it and all the others have been huge sales successes. He has also written the first two volumes in a trilogy of novels about a policeman who tackles vampires and vampire-related crimes — Redlaw and Redlaw: Red Eye.
He has also dipped a toe in the waters of pastiche, having produced a series of Sherlock Holmes novels for Titan Books. These include The Stuff Of Nightmares, Gods Of War, The Thinking Engine and The Labyrinth of Death, along with the Cthulhu Casebooks, a trilogy mashing up the fictional worlds of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.P. Lovecraft. As of 2014 he has begun a new action-adventure series set on different planets in outer space, the Dev Harmer Missions. So far there have been two of these, World Of Fire and World Of Water.
More recently, James has moved into the Firefly ‘Verse, writing tie-in fiction based on the much-missed TV series (and its follow-up movie). His first Firefly novel is Big Damn Hero (based on a story outline by Nancy Holder). His second is The Magnificent Nine.
In addition, James reviews fiction for the Financial Times, specialising in the children’s, science fiction, fantasy, horror and graphic novel genres, and was a regular and prolific contributor to Comic Heroes, a glossy magazine devoted to all things comics-related, until its regrettable demise in 2014.