Nous : Your latest novel has just been translated into French. How would you present the plot ?
Tim Powers : A man is recruited into the secret compartement of the british secret service because of certain supernatural aspect of his conception and birth. As he persues his mission, he discovers even more about his own birth and paternity. In fact, he discovers what is the secret at the core of the cold war.
Nous : You said during a speech in Nantes that you're inspired by your childhood years. Have you ever written for children and do you consider writing for children ?
Tim Powers : Because I like a lot of children literature things like The Wind in the Willow, Narnia books, Winnie the Pooh, those are good books, I do enjoy them. So therefore probably I would enjoy writing them too… The thing is I don't know children very well, they seem little aliens. When I was one of them, I read the way the mice eat graine, I was just voracious. So I should be able to write for people like I was then.
Nous : These are many quotations, hints and references to poetry in your books. Is it important in your life ?
Tim Powers : Yes I live in an house with a lots of books around virtually all English language poetry romantics like Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron,Victorian like Swinburne and early 20th century people like T.S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, I like a lot of translations for example French. I read very good translations of Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine even François Villon. I've got very good translation of them, I hope they're good translations, the result is good anyway.
Nous : What's about publishing the complete works of William Ashbless ?
Tim Powers : In fact… In College, I invented William Ashbless just so but we could write silly poetry for the school newspaper. After we've done that it was so fun to keep Ashbless going. And you know books whenever we had needed a crazy bearded poet we always use the name of Ashbless. We wrote a cookbook to keep Ashbless going over the years. In fact, Ashbless recently turned thirty, it was in 1973 that we invented him.
Nous : A part of the plot takes place in the middle East. Would it be possible to write this story now, after the 11 september and the second gulf war ?
Tim Powers : Yes, it would be hard to write Declare now because11 september has polarized things. The West is over here and the East is over there and even when we're being friendly, we're trying to maintain several ties and alliancies. Suddenly, there is a stark awareness that you're Muslim, we're Christians. And it's very infortunate that is emphased that way. Roughly when I wrote Declare, it was before that and there could be a kind of amiable overlap such as you find in Kipling and the East and West kind of mixing, being tangled together. And I wonder if that kind of tangling and mixing together is possible now. It seems to me that everybody is very much this side or that side. So I'm glad I wrote it before, even if only very shortly before.
Nous : Why did you introduce egyptian mythology in Anubis gate ?
Tim Powers : It wasn't so much because of a previous interest in Egyptian mythology before. It comes from Gypsies I believed they were originated in Egypt which may or may not be true but at this time I believed it was true. So I wanted to have an older more powerful origin for Gypsies. And so I thought of Egypt. So I read extensively egyptian history, mythology and religion…