War Of The Words: Tony Ballantyne

Tor’s Tony Ballantyne lets us into the secrets behind the creation of his novels. Take heed – it could be the difference between getting published or not. I like to keep my desk clean, just a keyboard and a notepad, but as you can see the clutter creeps back in. I’ve got a collection of … Continued

tony-ballantyne-4Tor’s Tony Ballantyne lets us into the secrets behind the creation of his novels. Take heed – it could be the difference between getting published or not.

I like to keep my desk clean, just a keyboard and a notepad, but as you can see the clutter creeps back in. I’ve got a collection of postcards and pictures that I pick up when I’m out and about. I like to move them around to keep me inspired.

I don’t actually own that many books. My mother was a librarian, and so I have always been used to borrowing rather than buying books, added to that I tend to give away books that I’m not going to read again, so the few I do own tend to be very tatty due to being read and re-read.

Some of the books I can’t do without are on my reference shelf. The most useful for an SF writer is probably the New York Public Library Science Desk Reference, which I found by accident in a
second hand bookshop. It’s invaluable if you need to know the weight of the moon or the freezing point of iron in a hurry. I use Brewer’s when I’m stuck for an idea, opening it at random and just reading what’s there. It usually sets me off on an idea… I’m using the Book of Ballads quite a bit for the follow up to Twisted Metal, along with Fraser’s The Golden Bough. There are a couple of history books on there, and a dictionary of quotations, as well as some Collins Gems, showing flowers and trees and so on. The internet is a great resource, but it’s not as easy to browse as a book…