An Interview with Christa Faust, the Author of The Zodiac Paradox
If you ever wondered what Walter Bishop and William Bell were like in the early days of their partnership, or if you ever imagined Nina Sharp as a hippie, or if you ever contemplated the possibility that the Zodiac Killer was actually from another universe, then you may be interested in reading Christa Faust’s latest book, The Zodiac Paradox. This elaborate thriller weaves together details of the Zodiac killings in the late 60s with the world of Fringe, giving us a much-needed glimpse into Walter and Bell’s early days of LSD trips and inter-universe travel. Faust does an outstanding job of staying true to the characters, while also introducing some new details of their pasts. (You can read Mary’s review of the book here.) Thanks to Titan Books, we got the chance to ask the author some questions about the book, and how she tapped into the minds of young Walter, Bell, and Nina…
The Zodiac Paradox weaves together the case of the Zodiac Killer with the sci-fi world of Fringe. What was it like to re-imagine the infamous serial killer through the lens of Fringe?
It was a blast, and allowed me to invent answers for some of the mysterious questions involving the real world case that had always bugged me. For example the mystery of the gloves found in the back seat of the taxi cab. Why would the killer take off his gloves in the middle of a murder and then be seen by witnesses minutes later trying to wipe his fingerprints off the cab. If he didn’t want to leave prints, why take off the gloves at all? And then why leave them behind in the back seat? It doesn’t make much sense in the real world, but if you mix a touch of Fringe science (no spoilers) all of a sudden it makes perfect sense. That was the most enjoyable part of this book for me.
True to the nature of Fringe, this book includes a lot of serious science talk. (I’m still trying to wrap my head around “monopropellant-grade anhydrous hydrazine.”) How much research did you have to do to master the dense scientific language that permeates Walter’s and Bell’s everyday speech?
Tons, but I can’ t complain because I really love research. The hard part isn’t reading up on all these topics, it’s not letting yourself get sucked down the rabbit hole and distracted by intriguing but unrelated things. However, I will admit that I do worry I’m gonna end up on some FBI list for the types of things I read up on, like monopropellant-grade anhydrous hydrazine and other ingredients needed to make your own LSD.
Some of my favorite moments in the novel include the young, independent and slightly reckless Nina Sharp because she had a sense of adventure and carefree rarely seen in the series. How difficult was it to keep the characters fresh while still maintaining a familiar environment for the readers?
I really like Nina too, and wanted to give her a little more depth and humanity without undermining the established character. It was a tricky balance but I like to think that I was able to pull it off.
One of the most memorable and revealing scenes about Olivia Dunham’s character occurs in episode 3 of season 5 when she tells Peter she felt conflicted being a mother because she always felt destined for something else. Will teenage Olivia grapple with this same destiny in The Burning Man?
While I did try to weave in all the complex and subtle nuances of Olivia’s evolving character over all five seasons of the show, my prime focus in all three books is to get the three mains to the point in their lives where they begin the first episode of the first season.
Special thanks to Christa Faust. Make sure to grab her next Fringe novel, The Burning Man, on July 16, 2013.
-Mary and Louise