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Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

10
Oct

Interview: Bernard Cornwell

   Posted by: admin

This week we continue our series on the ‘blog: interviews with speculative fiction authors and illustrators about things that matter to them and to us here in the Wayfarers. Our first interviews (with J.M. Frey and Tim Marquitz and the legendary R.A. Salvatore) were very well received and we’re ecstatic to have bestseller Bernard Cornwell with us today. If you’re new to the site, please take a moment to check out our home page and read what the Quest for the Cure is all about – raising $100,000 for cancer research and support worldwide, by doing a 500-mile trip from Belfast to Edinburgh this October using only medieval gear.

Bernard CornwellKnown best for his Sharpe series, historical writer Bernard Cornwell has been writing for more than thirty years and has produced countless bestsellers. Both his Warlord Chronicles and his Saxon Stories books are set in Medieval Europe and served as a big part of the inspiration for the Wayfarers.

Find him on AmazonChapters and Goodreads.

1. In your opinion, is fantasy inherently about the hero’s journey – literal or rhetorical – or about something else? How does this play out in your work?

I honestly have no idea – I mean, it’s fantasy!  And fantasy, surely, is about the imagination loosening its bonds with reality. It can take many forms; inspirational, horror-ridden and everything in between. Inasmuch that most written or filmed fantasy needs the framework of a story then it might be compared to a journey.  How does it play out in my work? Again, I have no idea! Truly. I don’t analyse my work at all. I would say I write earthbound stories and rather shy away from fantasy, but I imagine others would disagree!

2. How does your work involve people, events, or actions that change the world?

Only in passing and by accident. Most of my books are set against a military-historical background and, inevitably, some of them are concerned with world-changing events, but that’s not a sine qua non.  I think they’re about men and women under severe pressure, especially moral pressure.

3. Who inspired you to write? Not your writing style specifically, or characters, setting, etc.; who inspired you to put pen to paper in the first place?

I was a journalist for many years, so I lost the fear of the empty page. Then I fell in love with an American, couldn’t get a Green Card (work permit) so idiotically told her I’d make some money by writing a book. That was it! The inspiration (or necessity). I look back on it and think we must have been crazy (and in love), but it worked. We’ve been married 32 years and I just finished the fiftieth novel.

4. We’ll be walking for four weeks, and our average day is going to see 17 miles of walking done. Motivation has always been a key part of our training. When the going gets tough – in your writing or your life – what do you do to keep going?

Irish whiskey is an enormous help.  Usually there isn’t an alternative except to keep going??  I suppose people could just give-in and give-up, but those people wouldn’t have started the walk in the first place?  Still, a bottle of Jameson might be a great walking companion.

5. Arthur was my hero growing up, and remains so to this day; without my vision of him being tempered by works like your Warlord Chronicles this Quest may never have come to fruition. What do you think Arthur’s place – and the place of the Matter of Britain in general – is in the literary world?

Arthur is a completely malleable hero!  He began, in the Celtic saints’ lives, as a villain.  He became a warlord. Chretien de Troyes, and others, made him into the exemplar of chivalry (and added adultery). Tennyson turned him into a muscular Christian hero. T.H.White invested him with literary magic. Every age writes the Arthur they want and he becomes that. He long lost any touch with reality. He’s the true hero for all ages and I suspect that a thousand years from now they’ll still be writing Arthurian epics in a form we would find unrecognisable, yet inspirational.

10
Oct

Interview: Tim Marquitz

   Posted by: admin

This week we continue our series on the ‘blog: interviews with speculative fiction authors and illustrators about things that matter to them and to us here in the Wayfarers. Our first interview with J.M. Frey was a hit and we’re excited to have Tim Marquitz with us this week. If you’re new to the site, please take a moment to check out our front page and read what the Quest for the Cure is all about – raising $100,000 for cancer research and support worldwide, by doing a 500-mile trip from Belfast to Edinburgh this October using only medieval gear.

Tim Marquitz

Tim Marquitz
Photo from his website by Rena Mason

Texas-based Tim Marquitz began writing in 1995 and was published a few years later as the dark-fantasy writer his metal-music upbringing would be proud of.

We know Tim through Amtgard, the live-action roleplaying game that he has been playing since he was fifteen years old, 2500 kilometres (1500 miles) away from where we live. He has been instrumental in change throughout the game system and we touch on that, his writing, and his thoughts on motivation in today’s interview.

You can find his books on Goodreads and on Amazon and Chapters-Indigo, and learn more at his website.

1. How does your work involve people, events, or actions that change the world?

In my writing, all of my characters have an impact upon their world. Some for the better, some for worse, but each of their lives are ripples on the surface. The MC from my flagship series, the Demon Squad, more often than not, finds himself in the position of having to save the world, literally, due to the inherited chaos that was wrought by the departure of his uncle, the Devil.

My other stories tend to be smaller in scope and scale than the Demon Squad books, but each of the characters leave their own marks behind. From serial killers scarring the families of their victims to warlocks seeking revenge, my stories focus on the what ifs, the wonder as to what their actions and lives might bring about.

2. In your opinion, is fantasy inherently about morality – good versus evil, and such – or about something else?

No, I don’t think so, not these days, at least. There are tons of books that celebrate the gray inherent in humanity. There are certainly plenty of stories that still rely on that specific expectation, the success of dark and gritty stories where the characters are far from heroes and anything but moral pillars of the community, tend to make me think that fantasy has evolved once more.

3. Who inspired you to write? Not your writing style specifically, or characters, setting, etc.; who inspired you to put pen to paper in the first place?

I have to give most of the credit to my mother. While it took me forever to realize it, she’s always encouraged my writing. She enabled my reading, when I was young, always taking my sister and I to the library and doing nothing to stifle our interests. We got to take home pretty much whatever books we were interested in. She didn’t force kid’s books on us or keep us from the more realistic stories.

Clive Barker is another of my motivators. His stories always resonate with me. As I was entertaining the idea of writing, it was Clive’s work that humbled me, yet so inspired me that I wanted nothing more than to express the images in my head half as adequately and a tenth as beautifully.

4. We’ll be walking for four weeks, and our average day is going to see 17 miles of walking done. Motivation has always been a key part of our training. When the going gets tough – in your writing or your life – what do you do to keep going?

Motivation is one of those things you have inside, or you don’t. It’s all based in passion. For me, it’s that passion that keeps me interested in writing, in telling stories. I’m obsessed with it, so I don’t have a problem with motivation. On those days I don’t feel up to writing, I simply don’t, but the whispered voices of ideas and stories and promotion and direction are all still there. I might be tired or cranky or just not in the mood, but my brain is still firing on all cylinders when it comes to other aspects of the craft. I know I’ll pick right back up the next day.

As for those people who have a hard time doing stuff, it’s because it simply doesn’t feel as if it’s enough of a reward on its own. Unless a person is passionate about what they’re doing, human nature is going to convince them not to do it.

5. Your involvement with Amtgard at the level that you took responsibility meant a great deal of time and, no doubt, a lot of headaches, all for a not-for-profit group that you weren’t being compensated by in any traditional manner. What made you devote yourself to the game and the group for so long?

I did it for a couple of reasons. The first was that Amtgard had been the source of so many good memories during my life. Selfishly, I wanted that to continue, and only slightly more altruistically, I wanted to give something back because I felt as though I’d never contributed my share early on. I hadn’t thanked the club for all it had done for me.

The more specific reason was that I felt the game had moved away from what it had been in my early days. There was so much strife, so many battles going on that I felt I might be able to bring some sense of healing to the game, and push it in a healthier direction. People were missing out on the amazing social aspects of the game because they were too caught up in the drama. I wanted people to experience some of the joy I felt when I came to the club as a disenfranchised fifteen year-old kid. In a lot of ways, it’s made me who I am, and kept me from slipping through the cracks that surely would have happened had I not had the club there to keep me focused, the people there to care for and invest my life in.