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By Patrick (2007-08-09)
Q: Now that you have completed The Soldier Son trilogy, are you satisfied with the way everything worked out? In retrospect, would you have done anything differently?
Oh, Iím still much too close to the book to have any thoughts like that yet. Ask me again in two or three years, and I might have a more interesting answer.
A quick response to the first question. Iím never Ďsatisfiedí with any of my books. There is always the idea of the book I attempted to write versus the book I actually managed to create. In that, I think Iím like most writers. My best book is always the one I intend to write next, not the one Iím working on or the one that is just finished. The Ďnext bookí is always the one that is going to be perfect.
Q: Will you be touring during the course of the summer to promote Renegade's Magic? If so, are there any specific dates that have been confirmed as of yet?
This summer, as in Summer 2007? No, not at all. I will be going to Japan for the first ever Worldcon to be held in Japan, but thatís not a Ďbook tourí. Just me taking advantage of the opportunity to enjoy an SF convention and then see a part of the world Iíve never visited. Other travel plans include France in 2008, for Imaginales at Epinal. And Iím desperately trying to arrange my schedule so I can go to Elf Fantasy Fair in the Netherlands next year. Itís hard to make the travel fit in with my writing schedule and my family life.
Q: While the fantasy genre is filled with long series, you have always stayed within the boundaries of a trilogy. Is there a reason for that? Would you consider writing something longer?
Well, I donít think itís strictly true that Iíve stayed within the bounds of a trilogy. The first three Hobb trilogies (The Farseer Trilogy, The Liveship Traders and The Tawny Man Trilogy) are all linked in terms of being in the same world and having character crossovers. In a way, itís a nine book series.
And when I wrote as Lindholm, I wore a set of books about Ki and Vandien. Four of them, in an open-ended series.
However, as a writer, I like to have a destination. I like to plan things, to pace events and revelations, to think how at a certain point, the story will turn and change everything for the characters and the readers. If you are writing an endless series of stories about the same characters, you have to put up a magic umbrella to protect your characters from extreme disasters. Well, you donít HAVE to, but most readers do expect that the protagonist will live to the end of the story. And if there is no end in sight, then itís almost like a television series, where the reader knows that the cast will return in the next book. Having a destination allows me to let the story unfold naturally. The characters can grow and change.
I do like to write big stories, but Iíve learned that once you go beyond three books, the mythos can become really unwieldy, and the propensity for the writer to forget and then create inconsistencies increases. With every book you add to a tale, you are taking one more chance of having things go horribly wrong and spoiling everything. Itís kind of like a juggling act. Adding one pin too many can bring everything down in a terrible crash.
Q: What makes you decide between a third person narrative and the more personal first person narrative?
First person is more personal and in my opinion, it is the natural story telling voice. The ĎIí is a voice that no one can argue with. The person was there, and unless he is a terrible liar, the reader at least starts out believing all he says. Think of Baron Munchausen, for instance. In the third person, those tales would lose at least half of their flavor.