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By Patrick (2007-12-30)
- Will you be touring during the course of the fall/winter to promote FATAL REVENANT? If so, are there any specific dates that have been confirmed as of yet?
Yes, I'll be touring for FATAL REVENANT. All of the details are on: www.stephenrdonaldson.com/fromtheauthor/appearances.php
- What would you say was the hardest part of the entire process involved in the writing of the various Covenant books? Each new addition reveals yet more depth to a saga which has shown just how rich and complex it truly is.
Leaving aside the question of whether or not I can write well enough to do this story justice: the single most demanding aspect of the project as a whole is internal consistency. Consistency of style. Consistency of tone. Consistency of character (and character development). Consistency of theme (and thematic development). Consistency of symbol. Consistency of logistics (is it actually possible to ride from here to there in X days?). Consistency of geography. Consistency of history (an especially complex issue because I don't use a "story Bible" to guide me). Consistency of magic and monsters. And so on.
- Have the plotlines diverged much since you began writing the Covenant books, or did you have the entire plot more or less figured out from the very beginning? Were any characters added or further fleshed out beyond your original intention? Have you made any changes to your initial plans during the course of the writing of the three series?
My plotlines don't diverge. Not because I'm a "plot" writer (I'm not), but because I can't write at all unless I know exactly where I'm going. In many ways, the destination defines the journey. But I often add characters to my original plans--or emphasize characters in different ways than I had originally intended. In THE RUNES OF THE EARTH, Manethrall Mahrtiir was a late discovery--as was the Mahdoubt.
- After what can only be called an illustrious and prolific career, what motivates you to keep on writing?
Hmm. That's like asking me what motivates me to keep on living. Writing (storytelling) is what I was born to do. I wouldn't be fully alive if I stopped.
- Getting LORD FOUL'S BANE published proved to be a long and winding road for you. How rewarding is it to see that it's still in print 30 years later?
It's amazing what you can become accustomed to. After my vast difficulties finding a publisher in the first place, simply seeing a physical copy of "Lord Foul's Bane" was a transcendant experience. Now everything that I've ever published is still in print--and I take that for granted. I suspect that this does not speak well of me.
- What do you feel is your strength as a writer/storyteller?
For whatever it's worth, in my opinion my greatest strength is my ability to organize a large narrative canvas. Even when my "epics" appear to sprawl, they contain nothing that doesn't contribute to the effect and meaning of whole. Seen simply as an exercise in story design, my 5-book GAP sequence is a thing of beauty. (Do I need to repeat that this is just my opinion?)
- Characters often take a life of their own. Which of your characters did you find the most unpredictable to write about?
Ribuld and Argus in "Mordant's Need". No characters before or since have taken me by surprise the way they did.