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By Patrick (2007-01-10)Q:†Characters often take a life of their own. Which of your characters did you find the most unpredictable to write about?
I enjoy them all. I try to write in a different style with each of my six narrators, to communicate some sense of what it's like to be inside their heads. When I finish a long chapter with one it's nice to move to another. Almost like writing a different book.
Q:†Given the choice, would you take a New York Times bestseller, or a World Fantasy Award? Why, exactly?
Either one would be rather nice, of course. But in the unlikely event that I was offered the choice (perhaps by the devil?) I think it would have to be the bestseller. Critical acclaim is lovely, for sure, but I don't think there can be a greater compliment for an author than that a lot of people should buy your book. That means a lot of people reading it, and, hopefully, liking it.
Oh, and the money, of course. I need food and clothes.
Q:†Honestly, do you believe that the speculative fiction genre will ever come to be recognized as veritable literature? Truth be told, in my opinion there has never been this many good books/series as we have right now, and yet there is still very little respect (not to say none) associated with the genre.
There does seem to be a certain stigma attached to fantasy Ė but Iím not sure itís so much worse than that attached to crime, or romance, or any niche fiction. They may be closed worlds to a degree, which is part of the attraction for a lot of fans, but the up-side of being part of a genre is that you can find a solid base of very dedicated readers who know what they like and will come back for more. And it doesnít seem to have stopped Tolkein or Rowling from shifting a few units, or Phillip Pullman from being seen as a heavyweight literary author.
It doesnít matter what you write, youíll never be loved by everyone, and the sooner you accept it the happier youíll be. For me personally, as long as I can find a decent number of readers who like what Iím doing and want to buy my books, who cares?
Q:†Pyr are slowly but surely establishing themselves as a quality outfit in the publishing world. More and more, the Pyr logo is associated with quality products and great reading experiences. Your addition to their roster shows how diversified they wish their readership to remain. What differentiates Pyr Books from the other fantasy/scifi imprints out there?
It's tough for me to say because I still know very little about the US market. Or the British market. Or anything, some would say. But my first impression of Lou Anders, who runs Pyr, is that he knows and cares a lot about what he's doing, and puts a great deal of energy into every aspect of the books on his list. He seems to have a really good nose for intelligent sci-fi and fantasy, and the great reviews his books get, more or less across the board, are testament to that. I guess the bottom line for any imprint is the judgment of the editor who decides what to buy, and from what I see and hear, Lou has great judgment. I mean, he bought me, after all . . .
Q:†The narrative of THE BLADE ITSELF is extremely humorous in tone, somewhat of a throwback to David Eddings' heydays. Was this something you consciously set out to do, perhaps to differenciate yourself from all those dark and gritty fantasy epics?
I certainly think that fantasy often falls into two types Ė immensely serious or slapstick. Real life is neither one, and I didnít want my books to be either. I didnít make a big effort to make it amusing Ė Iím not sure that you can. I just tried to amuse myself as much as possible. Some people have found it funny, others not so much. But I feel strongly that something can be humorous and still be dark, often at the same time. After all (said the author with the highest pomposity) you cannot have shadow without light . . .