An interview with Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

Conference is only a week away now! This year it will be ending with a real bang, with the final session on Sunday being given by the creators of the bestselling Edge Chronicles, Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I recently asked Paul and Chris about their collaborative work. Here’s what they had to say…

Chris: Collaboration is not easy. If we’d been in our twenties when we first met, we’d probably have split up over ‘literary differences’. Thankfully, we were older than that, and wise enough to realize that, more important than the two individuals concerned, were the books themselves. We’ve been working together now for twenty years, so something’s going right!

Paul: Yes, as a writer, it’s fantastic being able to describe anything, knowing that Chris will capture it visually. I am working with a fantastic talent.

Chris: And as an illustrator, it is great to have access to a writer’s head – so that one can mess with it!

Paul: We develop ideas for stories from all sorts of things – stolen cuttings from dentists’ copies of the National Geographic, overheard conversations, half-forgotten memories of children’s books from our childhood, bedtime stories conjured out of the air and told to our own children…

Chris: I often sketch out characters or mock up book covers to show Paul, who will then write descriptions or preliminary pages. We put these things together, write a synopsis – and then invariably stray from it!

Paul: I sometimes think Chris believes that when he’s done a mock-up book cover the book actually exists. It’s my job to see the story through to the end. An additional aspect to the way we work – something that our editors particularly like! – is that it is impossible to get writer’s block.

Chris: Creating stories is the best thing in the world, and sharing the creative process is even better! Of course, it helps that we never argue, only ‘discuss’ – and that we both enjoy beer…

FCBG: Thank you Chris and Paul – here’s to plenty of discussion at conference, and maybe even a beer or two!

One response to “An interview with Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell”

  1. AZ says:

    A great peek into creative collaboration! Love these guys – thanks!