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By Chris (2007-10-09)
Hi Karen, welcome to my blog and thanks for participating! I'd like to congratulate you on and excellent book and series. I'd normally offer you cookies at this stage, but I'm out – is there anything better than cookies in your opinion?!
A: Thank you very very much. I'm so thrilled that you liked the books, seriously. As for what you can offer -- coffee ice cream, please! We don't do plain coffee ice cream in Australia. Breaks my heart, I'm telling you! For some reason Hagen Daaz tanked here. Sniff.
I'm sure that can be arranged ;) For those who are yet to read your books (or don't trust my reviews – damn you, people!) could you give us a brief overview of the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series?
A: Well, The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage, together, make up the story of two very unlikely friends whose paths are fated to cross so that a kingdom can be saved from great peril. Asher, who belongs to a race of people called the Olken, is a blunt, forthright young fisherman who wants to make enough money to buy his own fishing boat and escape the confines of the family business. Gar, who belongs to a different race called the Doranen, is a king's son who can never rule because he was
born with a disability -- he can't do magic. But the safety and prosperity of the kingdom depend on magic. And the kingdom's ancient enemy knows this, and is just biding his time ... So these books are about how things go very very wrong for these people, and what sacrifices are required of them to save Lur from destruction.
A duology is a rare thing in today's fantasy market – what is it that made you write your début series this way?
A: Well, there's the specific answer and the general answer. Specifically, the story was originally written as a single volume. But it became apparent that the story had been totally short-changed, so after it was knocked back by my Australian publisher, Voyager, with an invite to rewrite and resubmit if I
fixed a few things, I took another look and saw that it needed to be expanded to two volumes. So I found what I thought was the best break point, ended the first book there, and completed the story with the second volume.
In general, and possibly because of my theatre background, I see big stories in terms of the two and three act play structure. That's why, when you read my books, each instalment doesn't stand alone. It can't stand alone, because it's part of a greater whole. For me, that's what a trilogy or a duology is -- a very big story broken down into acts. As opposed to a series like Pratchett's Discworld, for example, which is a series of standalone adventures in a single world. There are long-term story threads in Discworld, but the events of each novel are self-contained.
Of course, there are authors like Kate Elliott and George RR Martin who write bigger stories with more acts -- and I love them both! -- but I think the principal still applies to their work.
How does it feel for Book 1, The Innocent Mage, to be one of Orbit's titles for the launch of their World Empire ... erm, US division? It's done very well with its new audience, I hear.
A: It's a huge compliment. The guys at Orbit know the spec fic genre upside down and inside out. They have an amazing team of people working to make the books that we love a real force in the literary market place. They amaze me on a daily basis, not only because they do great covers and design and promotion, but because they're so embracing of the genre. They don't turn up their noses at any kind of s
pec fic, they recognise that it's a Big Tent genre, and that there's a flavour of fantasy and sf and horror for everyone. Being selected by them to help launch the US imprint is a huge thing, quite intimidating. Because that's a lot of faith to be placing in someone.
So far, things are going very well. Better than I could have hoped for, ever. The Innocent Mage is currently at #3 on the US spec fic mass market bestseller chart. For an unknown début author, that's just overwhelming, and the credit largely goes to Orbit for doing such a great job.