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By Patrick (2006-02-09)
The second part of Patrick's Q&A with Steven Erikson. The first part can be read here.
"Slim" volumes that they are, do you still believe that you can put out one Malazan book a year?
Steven Erikson: I don't see why not. The actual writing of the novels takes about eight months or so. It's the editing and preparation that can take a while, as well as the launch windows the publishers prefers at any given time.
Are there any tentative plans for another fantasy book/series following the completion of the Malazan saga?
SE: I've a few thoughts on this, but nothing definitive. I know I have three independent novels on tap, but even then, I'm hardly decided on which order to write them in. It still feels far away (though it isn't).
Many people have been complaining about your latest book tour, especially about the fact that very little was made in terms of advertisement. Hence, for future tours, many of your readers would like you to consider letting it be known as far in advance as possible. Do you have any idea where THE BONEHUNTERS promotional tour will take you? Any tour dates in Canada or Australia?
SE: Presumably you mean the TOR release of Memories of Ice. As far as I know, the US west coast junket was first in the works the previous summer. Originally the idea was for ten days/ten cities, but to be honest I nixed that notion -- ten days away from Reaper's Gale was too long. As for The Bonehunters, I'm not aware of any touring for that one. I'm doing a local launch here in Victoria, with Scott Bakker, in March, but that's about it.
Steve Stone's Malazan artwork is very distinctive. How important is cover art for you? Do you have any say in the matter?
SE: I am generally asked what kind of scene I want depicted, which is nice and, I think, rather rare. And I can then comment in a limited sense on the 'first draught' of the work. This is the case with Bantam UK; with TOR I'm pretty much out of the loop which could be more my fault than anyone else's (I've not tested the extent of my influence on those and, admittedly, have no real inclination to do so). For my two cents' worth, a cover should strive to represent the tone and atmosphere of the novel in question, with an eye towards its intended audience. The problem with the first TOR edition (GoM) seemed to be (if I heard correctly) the cover gave the impression of a juvenile-audience quasi boddice-ripper with swords, plate armour and Tom Cruise. Not quite what was between the covers, alas.
Could we get a map of the world for someone to scan and post online (obviously at malazanempire.com)? Many fail to see how hiding the layout of the known continents furthers the story for the benefit of the readers.
SE: I'm not deliberately hiding anything. The version I have of the map needs redoing, a huge task. In its present form I'd need an oversized scanner which I don't have. I'm very particular about my maps. Re-drawing the world map, which I have begun, is damned time consuming. If I could find a decent map-maker program.... as it is, I have to do it by hand.
We know that Reaper's Gale is set on Lether and that Toll the Hounds will take us back to Genabackis. Are you willing to reveal the locations of the final two volumes, or is that too spoilerish? Will we get to visit Korelri during the forthcoming books?
SE: Korelri is Cam's territory. I can't really give much away, apart from saying that after TOLL we're looking at, geographically, new ground for the last two.
What archeology dig sites have you been involved in, and what was found?
SE: This could be a long answer. I've worked on anywhere between fifteen and twenty-five projects (brain hurts trying to recall all of them). Some were surveys, which meant walking farmland, riparian brush and beach, mapping petroforms, tipi rings, medicine wheels, pushing through boreal forest and canoeing around precambrian shield lakes and rivers. And finding sites. By way of excavations, see the previous list for environments/settings then add sites in cities, jungle and tropical scrubland (kinda halfway between desert and savanna).
The projects ranged from paleolithic camp-sites, quarries, etc. right on up to fur trade era (1800s). Among those there were some very nice rock art sites for added flavour. Cam and I were co-workers on a number of those projects, by the way. For me, archaeology was always a paid vacation. I thrived working outside all summer long (except one project in the heart of Winnipeg overseeing a crew of fifteen diggers). I loved the camp environment, sleeping in tents, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, chased by bears, and of course hanging out with the rest of the crew (gods the beer we drank). Alas, as King says, time moves on.