Bursting with humour, action and reality-bending experiences, Bridge is Lauren Beukes at her finest.
What do we make of the title, Bridge?
It’s an in-joke, because Bridget’s mom calls her Bridge, but also because she’s bridging other worlds, trying to bridge the gulf of their relationship.
Where do you get your ideas, and how do you develop them?
I’m a magpie: I pick up shiny things from all over and then figure out how they fit together. Once I have an idea, I do a ton of research, which is the fun part. That might mean going to art galleries and exploring abandoned buildings in Detroit for Broken Monsters, or hanging out with cool neuroscientists in their labs and talking about mind-altering parasites with experts for Bridge.
On the cover of Bridge, George RR Martin, the Game of Thrones author, describes you as ‘major, major talent’. How does that feel?
Oh gosh, my mind kinda record-skips over praise. Like, it’s nice that it’s there and that he thinks that, but it doesn’t feel real to me. I hold it at a distance for my own sanity. Who would I even be without my raging imposter syndrome? I’m serious about the work, but try not to take myself too seriously.
Apart from the speculative aspect, your books often have difficult parent/child relationships as a central theme. Why is that?
I got so irritated with a journalist who asked me way back when Zoo City was published, when my daughter was not even two years old, if being a parent was going to change what I wrote about, mainly because men don’t get asked that. But, of course, we write from our experiences, of being a daughter, of having one …
What does your day look like? Are you very structured, with time specifically set aside for writing?
I live in North East London now and I rent a shared studio space in Dalston, so I either cycle to work if the weather is decent (ha!), or take the tube and the overground, which gives me thinking time. I try to keep normal work hours, although I’m travelling a lot again to support my work – next up is Rose City Comic Con 2023 in Portland, where Bridge is set.
Bridge is out now.
This article was originally published in The Penguin Post, a magazine about books for book lovers from Penguin Random House South Africa.