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By Patrick (2007-01-10)
Q:†For obvious reasons, many authors steer clear of religion. And yet, with the Black Road you have made religion an integral part of the tale. Was that a deliberate choice right from the beginning?
Yes and no - itís more a consequence of my initial choices than a central decision in its own right. As I mentioned, my first thought was to write about how history and the past shaped events rather than religion specifically. Fairly early on, though, I came up with the idea of banishing the gods from my invented world, and that led to the notion of having a faction who were driven by the desire to bring the gods back. Almost all the choices Iíve made are story-driven rather than theme-driven, to be honest.
Even now, anyway, Iím not sure itís really about religion - the characters may not see it this way, but I suspect the Black Road is about, not so much a religious desire to bring the gods back (whoís to say there ever were any real gods, anyway?) as a more generalised desire to recover some notional, lost Ďgoldení age, i.e. itís still about people being fixated on the losses and injustices of the past, rather than on the possibilities of the present or the future.
Q:†The fact that you have your own website is an indication that interaction with your readers is important to you as an author. How special is it to have the chance to interact directly with your fans?
Itís been a real pleasure, as a newcomer, to discover the whole website and interaction thing. I was kind of aware, before I got published, that there was a lot of genre-related stuff going on out on the internet, but itís been a real eye-opener just how active and lively the community is. I think the whole interaction thing is potentially fantastic, though I donít think Iíve figured out yet how best to use the technology. Iíve got a bit of a blog going, and a section on the website where readers can get some more background information about the world in the books - hopefully itís just a start.
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.
Do I think the spec fic genre as a whole will ever be regarded by the arbiters of Ďhighí literary taste as being equally valuable as literary fiction? No. Do I think that matters? No, not particularly. Like most other genres - generalising horribly - sf tends to be more interested in things like plot, narrative, speculation (obviously), commercial success even, than a lot of mainstream fiction is. Quite a bit of literary fiction seems to me to have abandoned the old-fashioned virtues of telling an exciting, engaging story. That said, there will always be a handful of books that cross the divide and achieve wider notice and respect - I suspect they will generally be stand-alones, though, not series. Not many faster ways to alienate the literati than writing a fantasy trilogy. No Nobel Prize for me, then Ö ho hum.
Q:†In the long run, what will differentiate The Godless World from the other popular fantasy series on the market?
Its unprecedentedly high sales figures. As if. No, Iíd settle for people thinking it was an engaging story, well told, and with good, believeable characters. Actually, one differentiating characteristic does occur to me: it is, I promise, only a trilogy. The story has a definite beginning, middle and end, so there will be no Books Four, Five etc.
Q:†Do you have any plans beyond this fantasy trilogy?
I have no shortage of ideas, but no definite plans yet. My publishing contract covers just these three books at the moment. Iíd certainly like to write more fantasy - Iím pretty sure Iíll get better at it the more I practice.
Q:†Anything you wish to add?
Only to say thanks for inviting me over here, and to invite anyone whoís interested to have a look at www.brianruckley.com, and use it to do some of that interaction stuff we were talking about earlier, if they feel like it.
Interview by Patrick
Copyright - Patrick fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com