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M.R. Carey

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Born
in Liverpool, The United Kingdom
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June 2014

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Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel's X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

Also writes as Mike Carey
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M.R. Carey Hi Kim. It grew out of a very specific commission. I’d agreed to write a short story for an anthology of dark fantasy and horror on the theme of “scho…moreHi Kim. It grew out of a very specific commission. I’d agreed to write a short story for an anthology of dark fantasy and horror on the theme of “school days”. Charlaine Harris and Toni Kelner were editing, and I’d had to back out of their previous collection because of time problems, so I was determined not to miss the boat again.

But having said I’d do it, I couldn’t come up with a single workable idea. The deadline started to loom, and everything that came into my head was sort of a grimdark Harry Potter riff – not the slightest bit original, and not appealing either.

Then I woke up one morning with the idea of Melanie in my mind. There was no story, to start with – there was just her. This little girl sitting in a classroom, writing an essay about what she was going to do when she grew up. Only that was never going to happen because she was already dead and didn’t know it.

Everything flowed from that first image, and it flowed really quickly. I wrote the short story, Iphigenia In Aulis, in four days, and for two of those I was in Norway for a comics convention. It was one of those rare situations where the story obsesses you so much that you use every spare moment to write some more of it down. I was sneaking away to the hotel room in between panels to add a few more paragraphs, and writing in bed before I got up to shower.

And once the short was done, I had the very strong feeling that the story wasn’t. I persuaded my editors at Orbit to vary out my contract so I could write The Girl With All the Gifts. Fortunately they were really flexible and helpful. Of course, it helped that they were sold on the story.
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M.R. Carey I think one of the reasons for that, Vesper, is that I'd just completed a novel where I was co-writing with my wife, Linda, and our daughter Louise. M…moreI think one of the reasons for that, Vesper, is that I'd just completed a novel where I was co-writing with my wife, Linda, and our daughter Louise. Most of the characters in that book, The City of Silk and Steel, are female, and I enjoyed writing the dynamics of those relationships. I was still in that head-space when I came to write GIRL, and choosing a female protagonist and point of view character felt like a natural and unforced choice.

Of course the other half of your question is why a child - and that arises of necessity from the nature of the story. It's really a coming of age narrative as much as anything else, and Melanie's changing perspective on the world and her place in it is a big part of the point.

The hardest part for me was writing the scene in which Dr Caldwell attempts to dissect Melanie. It was challenging in the sense that I found it hard to put that sequence of events into words. My mind wanted to slip away from it.(less)
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“you can't save people from the world. There's nowhere else to take them.”
M.R. Carey, The Girl With All the Gifts

“Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved. You've already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.”
M.R. Carey, The Girl With All the Gifts

“And then like Pandora, opening the great big box of the world and not being afraid, not even caring whether what’s inside is good or bad. Because it’s both. Everything is always both. But you have to open it to find that out.”
M.R. Carey, The Girl with All the Gifts

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