Tag Archives: World Fantasy Convention

Audio Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal

Early in November, at the World Fantasy Convention, I interviewed a few authors. Below is my interview with Mary Robinette Kowal, my final one from that weekend. Mary spoke of everything from modeling naked, to impersonating Patrick Rothfuss, to zombie-Napoleon on a steam-powered wheelchair. With cannons. She also spoke of her writing, and her upcoming novel.

Take a listen, and I hope you enjoy!


My Interview with Patrick Rothfuss

As some of you are aware, earlier this month I attended the World Fantasy Convention here in Toronto and had the opportunity to meet some great people, and interview a few authors. My other interviews have all been posted at this point.

Patrick Rothfuss, best-selling author of the Kingkiller Chronicles (The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear, and the forthcoming The Doors of Stone) was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time and answer some of my questions.

So, without further ado, here’s my last (but not least), interview from the convention.

For convenience, P = Patrick Rothfuss and R = Rebecca (myself).

R: Thank you Pat for doing this…  So, you’re a popular guy, and pretty recognizable, with the beard and hair and all. But is it odd having people recognize you when you go places?

P: When it’s at a convention, it’s not that odd. Because I know they’ve read my book, or seen an episode of Story Board. [Watch the latest episode of Story Board HERE].

A weird thing did happen to me recently when I was at a book store. Someone looked at me and said “You’re Patrick Rothfuss!” then he said “I haven’t read your books, but I saw you on Story Board. I listen to these podcasts that you’re on.” I was surprised because typically if someone recognizes me it’s from my books. This guy recognized me for other things that I do for fun. That was a little odd.

R: Yeah, that’s probably going to take a bit of getting used to.

P: Yeah, but I think that was a little bit of an anomaly. Most people know me from my books and my blog.

R: So yeah, you have your much anticipated conclusion to the Kingkiller Chronicles, now what are you going to do after that? What’s next for you?

P: I actually have a novel that I stumbled into, I was trying to write a novella that I promised someone years ago, and it got longer and longer until I realized that it’s really going to be a short novel. So that will be coming out eventually, after I finish it and polish it up.

I also have some ideas for some short stories that could be a lot of fun to write. Some urban fantasy, some sex and violence and all that kind of stuff.

R: About sex, I noticed a lot of people commented on that in your second book…

P. Yeah, some people especially are strange about sex. And you are from Toronto?

R: Yep

P: Now, out of curiosity… In America we have a real problem with sex. You know, it’s weird. Are people like that up here?

R: I would have to say that it varies from community to community. Most people I know are just like “Yeah, sex… whatever, that’s cool.”

P: Okay, I do have to ask, have you read the second book?

R: Yes, I have.

P: Okay, so what was your opinion about the sex?

R: Well, with how you spoke of Felurian, it’s really just what fitted with what you wrote of her in the past. And it wasn’t overdone… Like, it could have been like the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones.

P: <Laughter!> Right, yeah. Nothing approaching that. And the rest of it in the book? Did you find it at all off-putting?

R: I was completely fine with it. But at the same time I can understand that if it was a younger reader they might not be so comfortable with reading that, and their parents may not be fine with it either…

P: Right, although, given that, I start thinking at what point are they considered young readers? A sixteen year old is going to run into worse language, violence and sex like on network television than in my book.

It’s weird. People get unfairly twitchy about sex. And truthfully, Kvothe kills like 30 people in this book… Some of them horrifically. And not one person has ever said “This is really horrible.” If they said that, I’d have to say, “Yeah, it really is.” It lets you know that he’s not all sunshine and moonlight, fluffy bunnies and confetti. There’s some dark stuff to this character.

But nobody says that. Ever. No one has ever emailed me, or in a conversation or interview has said “This is a little dark, y’know, with all the killing” but he has healthy, enthusiastic consensual sex with a couple women and people have a spazm. I mean, how is that horrible?

R: It isn’t… Like sex is perfectly natural, and then you have killing which is illegal and horrible.

P: Right.

R: But they’re just like “Ah, that’s alright. It’s just killing… Sex though? Hell no.”

P: Yeah. It’s okay that you killed those folks, Kvothe. We’ll give you a pass on that. But watch out with the tongue kissing, because that’s evil.

R: Ah yes, it’s dangerous stuff.

P: Yes, it’s dangerous. Lord knows what would happen if we kissed people instead of killing them.

R: I don’t suppose you know at all about the release date of book 3?

P: There is no pub date. As soon as we do have something, I will blow a trumpet and announce it on the blog.

[Update: Pat has said in another interview that “It probably won’t be 2015, but it isn’t going to be this year as well.” Which means the release date for book 3 will probably be in 2014. — Just thought I’d add this is, since most of you have come here from trying to find the release date ;) ] – http://twit.tv/show/triangulation/99 at about 11:50 

R: Alright, cause I have a post on anticipated fantasy novels of 2013, and I was hesitant about adding it on there.

P: I would be surprised if it came out in 2013. I would have to rush things, and I really don’t want to rush.

R: Yeah, it’s better to take the time it needs to make it the story it should be.

P: I really want it to be perfect.

R: Makes sense, I just thought I’d ask! Also – I don’t suppose there are any hints or anything I can tell my readers?

P: <Deep ominous voice> Everyone dies! <Laughs> No, I don’t go in for spoilers.

R: Well, I had to ask… So, what do you find to be the most challenging thing about being a writer?

P: Juggling the time for writing with the time I want spend doing other things. I run my charity, and I love it and I think it does some good in the world, but it takes a lot of time…

Conventions that take a lot of time, but I like meeting my fans. Short stories take time, and there’s my son… You know, I want to hang out with my son and play with him, and that takes time… and together it’s too much time. So where do I get the extra time? Do I stop sleeping? Stop playing with my son? What do I do? Go to fewer conventions? It’s my job, in some ways to go to these conventions. So that’s the hardest part.

R: And can you tell us a little bit about your charity?

(Note: Pat’s Worldbuilders’ charity ended January 21st. If you didn’t get a chance to participate; there is always next year!)

P: I talk about it at no small length online, it will probably be live by the time you post this interview. [Please check out Pat’s post about the Worldbuilders’ Charity: http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2012/11/worldbuilders-2012/ ]

Here’s how it works. People donate books. Authors, publishers, bookstores and fans, then we use the books as donation incentives to get people to donate to Heifer International

We also run a lot of auctions. My agent is doing a critique for 100 pages of a novel. So you win the auction for that, you get a real professional piece of advice about a section of your unpublished manuscript. Some authors are offering tuckerizations like cameo appearances in their upcoming books. Ernie Cline and Mary Robinette Kowal are doing that – you come in, you bid on it and you have a chance of being part of their books.

I’m doing one too for Book 3.

R: Oh, that’s awesome!

P: So, we’ll probably do one auction, and one will go into the general lottery – where anyone can win that one. All you have to do is pitch in $10 for Worldbuilders and you have a chance.

R: I think that’s definitely something I’m going to have to do.

P: Well, if you kick in $20 you have twice as many chances. And Worldbuilders will also match a portion of all donations made, so your $10, $20 actually works for more than that. And there’s a bunch of other stuff.

There are a ton of great authors involved, too. Neil Gaiman has donated some books; there’s a limited first edition copy of Stardust, like it’s actually earlier than first edition, it’s an ARC copy in a slip case, numbered and signed by Neil. That’s going into the general lottery.

R: Okay, That’s really cool. I think I will have to participate in that. And a bit of a topic change, but you’ve mentioned in the past that you don’t believe in writer’s block. So, what about times when you have trouble transitioning words from your mind to the page?

P: Sometimes it’s hard to write, that’s undeniable. But I think to call it writer’s block is a little unfair. No matter what your job is, some days you wake up and it’s hard to do your job. If you’re a teacher, sometimes the thought of getting up in front of your class is exhausting, or in customer service the thought of being polite to someone is just tough. If you do manual labour, sometimes you’re tired, hung over or whatever… or sometimes you pull a muscle, and it’s not just hard, you almost have an impediment from you doing your job.

But nobody calls that “construction workers block.” It’s not treated as some sort of mythic affliction.

Similarly, a writer can pull a muscle in their head. You can have traumatic events, have someone die, you go through a break-up, or someone cuts you off in traffic and it just pisses you off. That can effectively get your head into such a place that writing is extremely difficult. Part of being a professional writer is learning to manage those elements of your life so that you can still be a productive writer.

R: Alright, thank you! Let’s see… Who are your favourite authors?

P: Neil Gaiman, obviously… Terry Pratchett is brilliant. I really enjoy Brandon Sanderson. I love the Dresden Files, the Jim Butcher books, and I just picked up Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey… Blew me out of the water. I can’t believe it’s taken me a couple years to find that book – it’s so much fun, and he’s written like four of them.

I also just read Myke Cole’s first book Control Point, it’s military fantasy, and that’s not my cup of tea, but it’s not *just* military. It has really interesting characters, an interesting world and magic, and it’s great. I love it. It’s not a book you have to be into military stuff to enjoy. It’s just a great book.

R: Yeah, I got Sandman Slim in the big bag of books we got. I’ll be sure to read it. Now, speaking of fantasy, are there any books you’d recommend as a starter book for readers new to the genre?

P: Stardust, maybe Neverwhere for Neil Gaiman is probably where I’d start people.

R: Thanks, because I know there are some readers of my blog who don’t really read much fantasy, and I think knowing a book that would be a good introduction to the genre would be beneficial.. I do reviews, and I’m always reviewing fantasy.. But having something where they can be like “Oh! So this a good one to start with…” and actually get them more into the genre is something I feel would be a good thing. And similarly, is there any advice you can give to aspiring authors?

P: My best advice is the advice that people will find the least satisfying. Live somewhere cheap.. If you’re working full-time job just to pay your rent, you’ll be exhausted and won’t have much time to write. I live in Central Wisconsin, which means I was able to work short hours at crap jobs which gave me enough time to work on my books.
You should also invest on an reliable power supply for your computer, if the power flickers and you lose the last 4 hours of your writing, it’s infuriating. You should back-up your files regularly, you should read a lot – including things outside your genre. It gives your work a breadth it wouldn’t possess otherwise.
You should have a lot of good experiences in your life. Sitting at home all the time reading and writing is not awful, but go hiking, have disastrous relationships, go to the sort of parties that people end up kissing each other.. Because you know, those are useful experiences. They will lead to you being a more experienced human being, and the more you experience in life, the more you have to draw from in your writing.

I’m not saying go hiking then write a story about it. I’m saying that if you go hiking, you’re able to draw from that very small experience and hopefully extrapolate what it’d be like to be a member of the roman legion, walking 20 miles in a day with your heavy pack and armour. But if you’ve never walked a mile, you can’t draw from that experience. If you’ve never carried a pack you can’t draw from that experience. You can’t write a relationship book if you’ve never had a relationship. You can’t write about people fighting if you’ve never had an argument. So diversify your experiences. You can’t help but be a better writer.

R: Though, obviously it has its limits… You can’t practise magic and call forth lightning… But the motions, doing something exhilarating… if you don’t know what the feeling feels like, you can’t write about it.

P: Yeah, and even though you might not be able to do magic, maybe you know what it’s like to bluff someone in a game of cards, give a back-rub, read a story and feel incredibly excited and alive. Those are the emotions you can draw from, and relate to things in your books. You don’t have to kill someone with a sword to know what regret is.

You know, It’s probably a good idea to not experience certain things just to write about them.

R: I can’t imagine police or anyone would be happy if you killed someone with a sword, and your reasoning was “I’m a writer?”

P: “Pat Rothfuss told me to.” No, that is not acceptable… I did not actually say that.

R: Aw… Way to ruin my fun. Also, one last thing… What’s your opinion on the transition from book to movie?

P: Different medium are required for different types of stories. The best you can really hope for is a good adaptation. And if you get that you’ll be lucky.. If you look at the best movies made out of books, they typically diverge pretty wildly. Like Fight Club is a great movie, and it’s a great book and they’re related, but they’re not a direct one-to-one.

Harry Potter on the other hand stays pretty faithful to the books, and they’re good, but I don’t think they’re *great* movies. They’re not great unto themselves.

It’s dangerous, and I’m not eager at the thought of my stuff being put onto the screen.. It’s an exciting thought, it would be cool, but my books are not movie-shaped, so it makes me anxious – the thought of someone trying to put it into a Hollywood movie. It could be a disaster.

R: How about a TV series?

P: TV Series might be a little bit better, but again the writing and story is very important, it’d have to character driven, and most fantasy is action-driven. There’s not a lot of people that could pull off that good character-centred story. I would let Joss Whedon do it… I trust him, and maybe a few others, but it’s really dangerous.. I would much rather wait for the right time/place, rather than just trying to cash out.

R: Especially because Hollywood goes for the well-known, but there aren’t many that suit Kvothe, and they don’t tend to cast unknowns…

Alright, and one last question! If you were a flavour of ice cream, what flavour would you be?

P: Someone told me they asked a group of 5th graders this question, and it started out simple. Though, as it went through the room, people started being more and more experimental… Like lightning flavour ice cream, and once the kids saw that you could do something like that, it went crazy…

And by the time they got to the last kid he was just like “Death and thunder flavour ice cream!”

So that’s what I’m going to go with. I’m Death and Thunder ice cream.

R: I imagine that might be quite a bit different than Death by Chocolate Ice cream. It would be interesting… Anyways, Thank you Pat!

P: Thanks for having me.

I included a few links in this post to Pat’s charity/fundraiser.. And I do urge you to check them out. As he mentioned, there are many great benefits and potential prizes for donating, and it does support a good cause.

Heifer International is working to end both hunger and poverty, working with communities and caring for the Earth. I do recommend checking out their website and finding out more about them [http://www.heifer.org/]
As well, the WorldBuilders team page for donating can be found here.

It was great to meet Patrick, he’s an absolutely fantastic guy, and interesting to chat with. If you get the chance to meet him, I recommend trying to get one of his hugs!

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Interview with David Anthony Durham

Last weekend at the World Fantasy Convention here in Toronto, I had the opportunity to interview several authors, a couple of those interviews have already been posted over the past few days. Today, I will be sharing my interview with David Anthony Durham, author of several historical fiction novels such as Gabriel’s Story, and author of the epic fantasy series Acacia. 

For convenience,
D = David Anthony Durham, and = Rebecca (myself).

R: What would you say is the main inspiration for your writing?

D: This is going to be kind of vague… Just life in general. I sometimes get surprised by stories, often though, they slowly creep up on me, and are some aspect of things I have observed or am experiencing. Sometimes it’s something that sticks and doesn’t want to go and needs to find a story for me to work through that.

Other times it can be pretty random, an inspirational moment. My son once borrowed a book about Egyptian gods from our next door neighbour and it was on the coffee table. I had just mowed the grass. It was a Sunday afternoon and I was flipping through the book and I just loved it. For the first time these weird, exotic, strange gods jumped off the page and seemed very alive to me. Hours later I was there with a notepad scratching out notes, with a series concept which I’ve been working on since. Of course I’d known about ancient Egypt, and had been interested in it for a very long time… But something happened that day. I just so happened to flip through that book that afternoon and it just clicked. I’m glad it did cause I’m enjoying writing this series very much. Hopefully, it’ll be in print before too long.

R: Is there anything more you can tell us about that book? Any title or release date?

D: Not yet, we’ve had some negotiations with publishers, including an actual offer. It’s sort of been locked up for a while with one publisher, but we didn’t come up with terms that were agreeable to both of us. We’re going out with a wider range of submissions now. Hopefully, in the next couple of months it’ll land someplace else. I can say that the first book is entirely written, and the second book – I see the series as being 6 books – is drafted as well. So when someone does pick it up, things will roll quickly from there.

R: Awesome, and do you have a name for this series?

D: I do! It’s called The Shadow Prince and it is going to be for the middle-grade audience, set in ancient Egypt. Quite fun, I think. Strange gods, demon fighting, magic based on writing spells in hieroglyphs, and a bit of humour woven through it all. I like to think of it as Jonathan Stroud territory. Very different than anything I’ve published, but I really enjoyed writing it. My kids are my primary readers for it. They’re 11 and 13, and it’s been great to finally be writing something that’s completely for them.

R: That kind of leads into my next question.. You’re written historical fiction, like Gabriel’s Story, and Walk Through Darkness, and you’ve also written epic fantasy like Acacia, what were the challenges you faced switching in between the genres like that?

D: There were a lot of them, but I seem to have a hard time sticking to any one thing. Gabriel’s Story and Walk Through Darkness were two 19th century African-American historical novels and in a way they were more literary. They were well-received, and I could have stayed in that territory. But it seems to me that each book you write – and get fortunate enough to publish and are going to ask people to read – needs to be something you’re fully invested in and care about.

So when it came time to negotiate a new contract for my third book, I did have some ideas that were similar to the first two, but I thought about what I really wanted to do, and that was to write a novel about Ancient Rome and the war with Hannibal. There was no particular reason for me to think that I could do that well. With the large cast of characters and all the research it was a very different book, but my publisher was behind it, and so we went there.

After that was done, I could’ve done another historical novel like that, but what I really wanted then was take a lot of the largeness of the story like Hannibal’s War with Rome but put it into a fantastical setting. I had been a fantasy reader as a kid. That’s where I learned to love reading. In a way, the idea I had was to write a historical novel for a place that doesn’t exist, and that had a little bit of magic. That helped me quite a bit because some of the things I had learned to do in a historical novel for world building was equally applicable to a fantasy setting. Also, the Acacia books we begin fairly low in magic, and they get more magical as they proceed… In a lot of ways, that paralleled changes in me as well. I knew the books were going to get more fantastical as they went, but it was a way of me working my way into the genre and becoming more at home in it, more comfortable with writing fantastical.

And it also made for a whole new puzzle for my publisher. They did a great job of bringing in a consultant who could help them place the book because they don’t normally do fantasy. It meant meeting an entirely new group of writers and coming to conferences, and meeting the fans in the community of science fiction and fantasy. That was actually all new to me. A lot of fantasy writers came up through that. My first convention was World Fantasy Con in 2007. Acacia: The War With The Mein was already out at that point. Fortunately, getting to know the sff community has been great. I love that I can go into a bookstore and look at the titles and be like, “I know that person. And that person. Oh, isn’t that a great cover for so and so’s book!”

R: And “I wrote that one!”

D: At which point, I turn the book to face out. Every bit helps.

R: Do you ever sneakily sign any while you’re there?

D: Yeah. Normally, I would get them and take them up to the desk and say, “Hi, this is me..” But sometimes I just kind of scribble on them. It does feel a bit stalkerish, like I’m doing something mildly criminal.

R: Going back to the historical fiction and fantasy. Which do you enjoy writing more? Do you think you’ll return to fantasy?

D: It’s a work in progress. The next book I’m contracted for – Doubleday has already bought – is a historical novel about Spartacus. It’s a return to the ancient world and warfare, and I am thoroughly behind doing that novel, but it’s been difficult re-entering purely mainstream storytelling. For a while there, I couldn’t help but want to change it to a werewolf vs. vampire thing… I actually spoke to my publisher about that and they said they were interested, but worried that it could either be really good or really bad. I agreed. So I’m keeping it straight historical.

But it does seem like having opened up the fantastic in my approach to storytelling, it’s not easy to put that back into the bottle and then just be Earth-grounded again. I think where I’m getting traction with the book now is finding the fantastic within the ancient world setting. And it’s there, because they have strange names, worship different gods and believe different things, and in a way it is a world that doesn’t exist now. So it is quite fantastical, in a realistic way – if that makes any sense…

If you were to ask what was the funnest to write so far…

R: Funnest?

D: Funnest… Is that a word?

R: Nope. Definitely keeping that though.

D: And I’ll say it again. What’s funnest to write has been the ancient Egyptian stuff, because a lot of my writing has been kind of serious, intended for adults. Finally writing stuff for kids – and particularly writing fantasy for kids – has been really engaging.

R: Do you think you’ll ever return to writing epic fantasy?

D: Yes, I would like to. I don’t have a plan exactly for what that is, but there is some talk of revisiting the Acacian world – not in a trilogy or big one again, but in stand alone books. That attracts me. I spent a lot of time creating that world and I’ve only just looked at half or it. I’d like to see more of that world.

R: It is pretty interesting, because the map does even say “Map of the Known World”, and there is a lot you can add to that. So, I’m sure it’s safe to say that myself, and other readers would love to see more of it.

D: Well, thank you. I hope they would! The maps of the three books kind of reflect that. The first one is just the Known World, and then the second one expands and has the edge of the Other Lands across the ocean. The third one expands a bit more and goes a further as the story moves more inland of the Other Lands. At the edge of that map is a mountain range. I’d love to see what’s on the other side of those mountains. I do not know. But it’s something really cool.

R: I think that could be interesting to read.

D: Thank you.

R: Alright… Hm… If you could spend a day with any one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do?

D: I would hang out with Mena and Elya, and go for a flight. I’d love that. Elya is kind of a dragon-y thing, but she’s feathered and smells citrus-y and is a little bird-like and is very lovely. The notion of flying into the air above the Acacian ocean is pretty exiting. Of course, this is just a pleasure fight. I’ll leave the aerial battles with other winged creatures to Mena. Going across the Grey Slopes seems pretty exciting too, but I guess you can’t just do that on one day…

R: No, probably not. Maybe if you had a weekend or something. Okay, and not to do so much with your books, but you teach creative writing. Are there any points of advice you could give to people who are trying to get into writing?

D: Nothing that doesn’t always get said, the common wisdom of “Read a lot” and “Write a bunch” and know that you can make time to be productive even though it can be a challenge. For me, on a daily basis the hardest part of the day is beginning to write. It’s looking at the blank page and putting something on it. But it seems to be the case that if I can finish the hardest part of it and push through it, then it’s easier once there’s material to work with.

Also, one thing in terms of productivity, Steven Pressfield – a historical fiction writer – has said something about “resistance” that I find quite apt. It’s his way of talking about all the different ways people manage to not do the things they want to do the most. It’s like this nebulous force that takes on all sorts of shapes. You want to be a writer but maybe you drink to much. You don’t get enough writing done at night, and then you’re hung over in the morning… Or you want to write but you have a bad relationship and that throws you off. There can be so many different things that can emerge each and every day, every time you want to achieve what you most want to creatively, that you’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot. I love the concept that these aren’t all necessarily different things. They’re just different ways of falling prey to resistance.

When I was writing Pride of Carthage, there would be these times that I’d realize I was outside weeding the path in the middle of the afternoon. I’d kind of look up and go, “What the hell? I don’t need to weed this path. I’m supposed to be writing!” Almost without noticing it, I’d managed to go up and outside, and kill an hour. And I found it was really quite helpful to be able to name the thing that wasted that time “resistance”. With a title, I can spot it, and smack it about and then get back to work.

I encourage people to read broadly. That’s something I have always thought, but now I think it even more, with the broadness being across genre as well. Having begun as a literary writer, and then moving into genre, I realize I have learned a great deal from reading commercial fiction, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, and crime. I like to think that mix of reading has made me a better writer at whatever I attempt to do. I would encourage others to read things that aren’t necessarily what they aspire to write yourself. Get outside your box and get exposed to new ideas.

R: Okay, and are there any books that you think everyone should read? Like, ones that you’ve finished and just though “Wow, people have to read this.”

D: I could name a lot of good books, but that doesn’t seem like the right answer… There are books that I think speak to each person at the right moment in their development. I don’t know that there need be one book that can do that for everyone. When I think of some of the books that really hit me, it was really just the right moment for me to be exposed to that, and the books themselves almost seem random. The important thing was that I was reading, and that my growth as a person is bookmarked by great books along the way.

R: Sounds good.. and time for a silly one I think, it’s one that I’ve asked a few people, but if you could be any flavour of ice cream, what would it be?

D: I’m going to answer that with the first thing that came to my mind: Pistachio. But definitely one that is green. If it’s not green.. It’s not me.

R: Alright, and that’s all I have.. So thank you very much.

D: Rebecca, thank you.

It was great meeting David, he was a blast to spend time with and get to know. His books are definitely worth reading, and I’ve (apparently) not posted any reviews of his books, which will have to change — I do recall writing one for the first in the Acacia series, so I’ll be hunting through my binders in search of that. So I’ll hopefully have that review up sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Thank you, David!

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Visit David’s website here

 


Interview with Mercedes Lackey

As with Brandon Sanderson, I had the opportunity to interview best-selling fantasy author, Mercedes Lackey over this past weekend at the World Fantasy Convention here in Toronto. Admittedly, this one wasn’t that great as far as interviews go, simply because I hadn’t been properly prepared for it, as it was completely unexpected. Here’s what I did ask though.

As a bit of a disclaimer, I’d like to say that while nothing written below is false, it isn’t exactly word-for-word what was said. I didn’t have an audio recorder during this interview, so this is just what I was able to write during our conversation.

= Mercedes Lackey, and = Rebecca (Myself)

R: Hi Mercedes, thank you for this.. Just a few questions, will you ever be restarting the “Ask Misty” section on your website?

M: No, I can either answer questions all day, or I can write. I can’t do both.

R: Alright, and by any chance do you plan on writing about the history of the Sunsinger or Shadowdancer? Or will we just have the songs you’ve written about their story?

M: Nope, never.. There will only be the songs.

R: Okay, and earlier during your reading you read a bit of your secret project… I’ve been told that it was excellent, but not much more than that… Can you tell me a bit about it?

M: Well, there isn’t a publisher for it. The story is going to be taken to auction, and it’s a Young Adult post apocalypse novel.

R: Alright, well I look forward to hearing more about that.. And somewhat related to that, what can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

M: Well, there’s the next book in the Elemental Masters series, Steadfast, which will be out June 2013. Other than that, there are two series that I’m currently working on with James [Mallory]. They’re both trilogies, and at the moment are untitled, but Tor has bought the first book of each. The first one is kind of like a mix between the Student Prince, Pirates of the Caribbean and a bit of magic.. So those will be out at some point.

R: I’ve never heard of The Student Prince.. but I’m sure both trilogies will be excellent.

as to how I’d never heard of the Student Prince/explained what it was.>

R: Well, I’ll have to look more into that, and I just have one last question, who is your favourite author?

M: That’s rather broad.. Depends, which genre?

R: Fair enough.. Favourite fantasy author?

M: That would have to be Charles de Lint, definitely.

R: All right, thank you.. That’s all the questions I have.

M: No problem, you’re very welcome! If you think of anything else, do feel free to ask.

So yeah, now after the fact I have a bunch of questions I should have asked her.. But I’m glad I asked what I did. This was also my first face-to-face interview, so I was a bit nervous about it.
Any ways, she was very kind — so, thank you Mercedes for the interview!

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Interview with Brandon Sanderson

This past weekend I was at the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, and Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn series, The Way of Kings, and co-authored the last books in the Wheel of Time series was kind enough to let interview him earlier today.

Slight spoiler warning for Towers of Midnight

For convenience, BS = Brandon Sanderson, and R = Rebecca (myself),

RAFO = Read And Find Out

R: So.. Hoid. We see him in almost all of your books, though I don’t think I saw him in Emperor’s Souls..

BS: He’s referenced in Emperor’s Souls, but he got cut from the book.. I actually wrote the scene with him in it.. But it didn’t fit so we had to cut it.

R: Are we ever going to get his origin story, or learn more about him?

BS: Yes, we definitely will learn more about him.. A book that has more of him is Dragon Steel.. Which I wrote when I was undergraduate as my honours thesis.. It’s not his origin story, but it’s one he’s mostly part of. We will find out everything, and get the complete story for him. It will happen eventually.

R: Well, I look forward to reading more about him… He’s an interesting character. Also, a question about Wheel of Time.. But Mat Cauthon’s fox head medallion is described as having only one eye, and that’s in the shape of the ancient symbol for Aes Sedai.. Was this foreshadowing the events that happened the Mat in Towers of Midnight?

BS: I believe it was probably foreshadowing.. James knew since book one what was going to happen, so I would say yes. My instincts say yes, but there’s nothing in his notes which said so one way or another. I’ve always felt that it was

R: In Lord of Chaos, there’s a point when Rand is in Shadar Logoth, and Lews Therin whispers to him “I must kill Demandred.” Is there some sort of connection between Demandred and Shadar Logoth?

BS: There may well be… I’m not sure if I can answer that question, so… RAFO.

R: Okay, so can Darkfriends or maybe even Forsaken be bound to the Horn?

BS: Let’s see if I can answer this one.. They’re not going to be, I don’t think there’s a law against.. But only the greatest heroes are bound to the horn. They are not the greatest heroes. So, why are you asking this?

R: I’m pretty much asking about Verin, and the likelihood of her being bound.

BS: Okay, I don’t know that there would be anything forbidding Verin from being bound to the horn..

R: Is there any mention of that in a Memory of Light?

BS: That’s a RAFO.

R: Alright, thank you though.. Also, not so much about your stories in particular.. But you’ve written a lot of different types of books, the huge epic fantasies, short stories.. Different types of fantasy, and the odd ones like Legion.. Which do you enjoy writing the most?

BS: Answering questions like this one is difficult, it’s like “Pick your favourite food”, if you eat that food every day you’re going to eventually hate it.. Or slowly find the food less and less enjoyable. For me, that’s how it is with writing.

Epic Fantasy is my favourite form, but if I’m only ever doing Epic Fantasy, I feel like I will get burned out on it, and I’ll stop enjoying it as much and so I don’t want to see that happen.. So when I start to feel like it, I let myself within certain bounds write whatever I want to write so that when I get back to Epic Fantasy I’m feeling fresh. It’s not a matter of what I like to write the most, it’s a matter of what I’m feeling like at the time. Sometimes you may not want to eat your favourite food,

R: And when you’re switching between these different types of stories, are there any major difficulties that you face?

BS: If I do, then it means something’s going wrong and I kind of need to look at why I’m trying to write it… Switching is not hard, usually.. You get to know your writing style, you get comfortable with how you approach things.

R: Okay, and, next year, we’re getting Stormlight Archive book 2? Or will that be early 2014?

BS: It should be Christmas 2013, that’s what we’re aiming for.. In fact, I have to name it this weekend so TOR can start the publicity for it.

R: And then we’re also getting A Memory of Light, obviously, and The Rithmatist?

BS: Yes, that’s the book I wrote just before Wheel of Time in 2007, back before I was offered a Wheel of Time offer.. And it languished for years because I was so busy with Wheel of Time and when I had any free time, The Way of Kings, I wasn’t even able to do revisions.. The three of four months it would have taken would have slowed down one of those two books, so I was able to take those months after A Memory of Light was done.

R: And is there anything next year?

BS: I don’t know when Steelheart will be out, but probably 2014.. But it is on people’s radars, this is another one before I took up before Wheel of Time, but I wrote it in gaps between books, so people know about it. I’ve been trying to shop it Hollywood for years, but I was finally able to polish it off and sell it. Once Wheel a Time was done I was finally able to spend time on these things which have been put aside for years.. Things like this are good, but to give them the time to make them great while I was working on them would have taken time away from a Memory of Light.. And it wouldn’t have been right to let them demand that time, so it wasn’t until recently that I’ve been able to give them that time.. So, I think that’ll be 2014, but we do get three books next year most likely.

R: Yep, and that’s great.. I’m looking forward to reading them all.. and with a Memory of Light being finished, is it odd not having it to work on?

BS: It is.. It’s very strange experience since it’s been such a part of my life for so long, to not have it to work on.. But I do intend to be a part of fandom for the rest of my life. So, there is that..

R: I know a lot of people are looking for it, and there will always be more theories.. I do remember last year when I spoke with you, you did say there will be loose ends, so people will be theorizing on those for a while.

BS: Yeah, there will be loose ends, and I can talk to that when the book comes out.

R: Alrighty then! You’ll just have to come back to Toronto then.

BS: Okay, well that’s a deal then.

R: Alright, I think that’s it… Thank you!

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Brandon also read a passage from A Memory of Light while he was here in Toronto (the beginning of the first chapter/the wind scene), as well as a bit from the Stormlight Archive Book 2.

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