I asked Stephen to talk with us about his experiences during the creation, editing, and self-publication of Pandora’s Grave, among other things. He kindly agreed to the following interview.
Weldon Burge (WB): Pandora’s Grave includes many Christian, Jewish, and Muslim characters. Did you write character profiles before starting the novel, to keep things straight?
Stephen England (SE): Not really. I learned so many things about my characters through the course of the novel—I’m afraid it would have been a very boring book if I had attempted to lock them away at the start. To give an example—about half-way through Pandora’s Grave I realized that the character of Bernard Kranemeyer, the Director of the Clandestine Service, was really little more than another faceless bureaucrat. A major problem considering the major role he plays in the story. But then it occurred to me one day—what if? What if he was a retired Delta Force operative, an amputee who had lost his leg in an IED attack? It was quite literally as though someone had turned a light on for me—it’s those type of revelations that make writing so rewarding for me—those moments when you turn a corner and something fits so perfectly—I can’t imagine Kranemeyer any other way now. That’s who he is.