I've just written a very gritty, non-magical take on the King Arthur legend, 'Here Lies Arthur,' and I'm currently toying with some other historical ideas, as well as working with the illustrator David Wyatt on some sequels to my Victorian space opera 'Larklight.'
As a child I always steered clear of science fiction, but in the autumn of 1977, the bow-wave of publicity for the first 'Star Wars' movie had already reached me, so I was eager for anything science-fictional.
Even tiny children looking at a picture book are using their imaginations, gleaning clues from the images to understand what is happening, and perhaps using the throwaway details which the illustrator includes to add their own elements to the story.
My first encounter with science fiction was reading the work of H.G. Wells when I was nine or ten, and I don't believe 'The War of the Worlds' or 'The Time Machine' have ever been bettered. Plus, I have always had a liking for Victorian and Edwardian clothes and contraptions, which tends to color the worlds I dream up.
I used to be very fascinated by Victorian stuff, and my best-known books, the 'Mortal Engines' series, have a sort of retro, Victorian vibe, despite being set in the far future.
I'm sure it came as no surprise to my friends and family when I became an illustrator and then a writer because, from about the age of five, I was one of those children who always had his nose in a book.
Moving cities are a fairly hoary old sci-fi trope - I seem to recall they were always cropping up on 'Doctor Who' when I was young, though I may be misremembering.