Tim Lebbon Courtesy of timlebbon.net

Tim Lebbon
Courtesy: timlebbon.net

“I don’t kill all my characters–usually. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t,” he said, chuckling lightly. Tim Lebbon, with all his British charm, reassured me during our phone interview that he’s ‘quite a cheery guy’…after laying claim to a total character death toll of trillions.

“I love destroying the world. I’ve done it a lot, actually.” Unsurprising for a horror and dark fantasy author who’s penned plenty of apocalypse-themed novels, as well as several horror movie tie-ins.

Courtesy of timlebbon.net

Courtesy: timlebbon.net

One of Lebbon’s more recent works, the first of the trilogy novel tie-in to the “Alien”  film franchise, “Alien – Out of the Shadows,” has some deaths as well…though he’s not  sharing how many.

“That would be telling. There’s not a massive death toll, but there is a group of  characters,” said the writer, “Quite a few people meet their sticky end.”

Published by Titan Books, “Alien – Out of the Shadows” is an officially canon take on  what happens between the films “Alien” and “Aliens.” Lebbon said he and two other  authors, Christopher Golden and James A. Moore, were approached by 20th Century  Fox to write the trilogy–one book each–and he got lucky number one.

“Fox sort of gave us the basic concept of the story of the trilogy…and sort of, I  guess, a  one-page outline of each novel, then left it up to us to take on the novel and  expand it–to  make it into what we wanted to do,” recounted Lebbon, “I was actually really pleased to  be able to write the first book, because I wanted to write a Ripley book.”

The author, though a self-proclaimed decades-long fan of the series, admitted that  writing about the franchise’s iconic hero came with some pressures.

“If you’re a dedicated “Alien” fan, Ripley’s your darling. I think, because I’m such a big  fan of the films, I think I wrote her well…and people seem to be pleased with how I dealt  with her.”

As to the general fan base surrounding the movies, though, Lebbon wasn’t as worried. “I’d already written a “Star Wars” novel previous to this, and, obviously, the level of fandom with “Star Wars” is probably larger than “Alien,” so I had some experience,” he explained, “You can’t please everyone all the time, and I never try to–I always like to say I’m writing my own book. I don’t sit there thinking, ‘All right, what do I do to make sure everyone’s happy with this decision?’”

Lebbon said that each novel will be a standalone book, though they all connect in an overall arc. But even with his portion already published and on store shelves, the writer is far from settled.

Courtesy: timlebbon.net

Courtesy: timlebbon.net

“I’m not one of those guys who just writes a book every eighteen months–I write two or three a year,” he said bluntly. It shows–his website is filled with updates on different books he’s contributed to, as well as a list of writings both old and new. Lebbon said he’s already working on a U.S. release of a book previously published in the UK, “Coldbrook,” about multiple universes and zombies (“I destroy–it’s a multiverse, uses the multiverse theory, multiple universes–I destroy lots of different earths.”) as well as another novel due to come out next year called “The Silence.”

“It’s a big apocalyptic thing about creatures that hunt purely by sound…so there’s a massive form of these creatures start streaking across the globe,” said Lebbon, close to gushing with excitement for the soon-to-be-published novel, “It’s all told from the point of view of a deaf girl–she’s used to existing in a world of complete silence, so she can navigate her way through life without being able to hear anything. So her family puts her at support while they try and stay quiet. [T]his was written purely from one family’s point of view–it’s all about their struggle to survive in this plague sweeping across the earth.”

“It’s cheery,” he added, laughing, “It’s a cheery book.”

When asked whether he considered himself a masochist, the author seemed taken aback.

“I do tend to bump off characters left and right, but the sort of stories I’m writing–you know, you write an “Alien” novel and nobody gets their face chewed off by aliens, I’m going to get a lot more complaints from fandom. It’s just a natural thing to do,” explained Lebbon, adding, “And also the apocalyptic thing […] I’m just fascinated by the fact that there will come a time when there’s no human left on earth. It’s almost inevitable, in a way.”

The horror author laughed again. “I am quite a cheery guy, usually, honestly.”

“Alien – Out of the Shadows” is available through Amazon.

For more information on Tim Lebbon and his work, you can visit his website.

About The Author

Amanda is a columnist for DestroyTheCyborg!, as well as a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for an ABC News affiliate in Kentucky and wrote in her spare time--now, she lives and works in London...and writes in her spare time. Follow her on Twitter @4mandastevenson.

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