Review Fix Exclusive: Q & A With ‘Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr. Moreau’ Author Guy Adams
Review Fix Editor-in-Chief Patrick Hickey Jr. chats with author Guy Adams about his new book, “The Army of Dr. Moreau.”
Cool and confident, yet intelligent and charismatic, Adams gives the inside scoop on the book and what it was like to tell a story in one of literature’s most-beloved series.
Review Fix: What made you want to take the reins of this legendary series?
Guy Adams: I’ve been a fan of Holmes and Watson since I first discovered the original stories in my school library. Every few years I go back to them and work my way through an increasingly battered omnibus, a Strand Replica edition for the most part, and lose myself in the world Doyle so brilliantly created. A few years ago I played the part on stage in an ill-fated revival of “The Secret of Sherlock Holmes” and always considered that would be the ultimate reward for such a Sherlock junkie.
Now, as a writer rather than actor, I had the opportunity to get into their skins again and it’s even more enjoyable. Who could resist?
Review Fix: Were you nervous about it?
Adams: A little, but you have to let go of that very early on. You’ll never write a good book if you’re terrified every step of the way. You have to be brave, trust your instincts and run with it. That way you stand a chance of creating something worthwhile.
Review Fix: How do you think dedicated fans of the series will feel about your work?
Adams: It’s always going to be mixed. The response to the last book, “The Breath of God” very positive thankfully but there will always be those who don’t like it. For some I hit the characters dead on, others thought my interpretation was off. That’s natural.
Review Fix: How do you think your version of Sherlock Holmes is similar and different to the classic stories?
Adams: I think I bring a little more humor to it than Doyle did. I can’t help that, to me it’s inherent in their relationship. In all long-term partnerships in fact. I’ve intentionally set these novels at a time when they’ve known each other for many years, Watson’s a widower and back in Baker Street, Holmes is a victim of his success (which he can’t help but blame Watson for helping to perpetuate). They’ve been through a great deal together.
These are two men who can finish off each other’s sentences. They love one another. At times they can’t stand each other. They are inseparable, the greatest literary marriage we’ve ever seen.
They are a witty, argumentative pair. The Odd Couple.
In “The Army of Dr. Moreau,” I even let Holmes narrate some of the action. When Doyle tried that it didn’t really work because Holmes is too dry and cold to involve us like Watson can. I made a joke of that, hopefully turning into a strength rather than a weakness.
Ultimately though these are Doyle’s creations. Not that he would have cared if I’d changed them. He was famously casual about that.
Review Fix: The recent films have reignited enthusiasm for these characters. Did it affect your writing at all?
Adams: Not really. These are fun, fast-paced adventures but that’s what I would have written anyway, with or without the influence of Downey Jr. and Law (or Cumberbatch and Freeman for that matter). I love the movies though; I think they’ve done interesting things with it. Though the second suffered from feeling a bit “more of the same,” unable to capture that excitement of the fresh approach.
Hans Zimmer’s soundtracks were a help, but then they often are when I’m writing because the man’s a genius!
Review Fix: How do you want this book to be remembered?
Adams: Fondly, like a mad old aunt that visited one Christmas, drank all the sherry and then entertained the family with a terrifying tale of animal men and monsters in the sewers.
Failing that, I’d settle for “remembered.”
Patrick Hickey Jr.
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