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New Q & A with Steven Erikson, Courtesy of SF Bokhandeln

Another cool Q & A with Steve for you as we prepare for The Crippled God’s release. 🙂

SF Bokhandeln is a Swedish bookstore chain –here’s their website– and they used their website and Facebook Page to ask their customers and fans to submit questions for Steven to answer; the Q & A will be printed in their consumer magazine at the end of the month and will also get coverage on their Facebook Page. They’re even giving away 3 signed copies of The Crippled God. 🙂

I’ve been given the go-ahead to post the Q & A for your enjoyment! (Thanks to Angela Thomson at Random House Struik!)

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Do you have any plans to turn The Malazan Book of the Fallen into a role playing game?

Not personally: my publishing schedule is far too busy for that.  That said, I am amenable to the idea.

You seem to be able to write one novel each year, and still maintain an extreme high quality on your writing. How do you manage that?

Thanks for the complement on writing quality.  With respect to writing a novel a year, I seem to have stumbled onto a system that works for me.  Four hours a day, five or six days a week, for eight to nine months usually results in a finished book.  Each day, I begin by editing what I wrote the previous day, before starting a new section.  This helps me maintain momentum and continuity.  These days, however, I’m looking at eighteen months between novels.  Getting old, I guess.

What are you planning to write next, now that The Malazan Book of the Fallen is finished?

I am signed to two more trilogies, in addition to five or so novellas.  At the moment I am writing the first novel in the Kharkanas trilogy, which returns us to the formative period underlying The Malazan Book of the Fallen: specifically, the story surrounding the Tiste Andii and their neighbours.

Will we meet Kalam Mekhar again?

That depends on when you last met him, doesn’t it?

Who is your favourite character?

Alas, I can’t really play favourites.  I enjoy my time with all the characters I write, even when they’re going through hell.  I know, sounds perverse, if not sadistic.  The thing with characters is that they bring pressure to bear on a writer – to get them right, to treat them with dignity, even though they are only fictional creations when on the page.  In my head, they have to be alive (unless, of course, they’re undead).

“Erikson” is a common Swedish name – do you have Swedish ancestry?

‘Erikson’ is my mother’s maiden name.  My actual last name is Lundin, which of course isn’t Swedish at all.  (joke)  Both my parents were Swedish and I have been back to visit relatives in recent years, in Uppsala and Stockholm.

It´s not uncommon for your characters to die all of a sudden. Have you ever been emotionally upset when you had to finish off some of them?

Although deaths may appear with shocking suddenness on the page, you can be sure that I have been thinking about those moments for months, even years beforehand.  Accordingly, I write characters towards an inevitability that a reader might only see should they go back and re-read the series.  For the death scenes themselves, if I do not feel any emotion, neither will my readers, so I do my best to achieve a kind of authenticity when writing those scenes.

Which volume in the Malazan Book of the Fallen is your personal favourite?

It depends on how I measure them, and the answer changes accordingly.  Deadhouse Gates feels like a compact (!), complete work, where I did what I set out to do, which was to immerse myself (and  the readers) as deeply into the Malazan world as I could.  House of Chains satisfies me on other levels, in particular the opening part following a single character over multiple chapters, and the novel’s anti-ending, which I knew would throw many readers.  Midnight Tides pretty much wrote itself, and for that reason, I appreciate it for its effortlessness.  Toll the Hounds is perhaps my most complex novel, and on that basis I rank it as the novel for which I am proudest.  That said, I think the conclusion of the series ain’t so bad, either.

How do you create your fictive characters? Do you occasionally glance at real persons in your surroundings, and incorporate traits from them?

Not consciously, but a writer always observes and takes mental notes on body language, physical traits, mannerisms, patterns of speech, relationships, and so on.  It all feeds into a stew with plenty of flavours.  In practical terms, characters generally arrive (for me) as names first; sometimes that name describes something about the character, in a Dickensian fashion; while at other times that name runs counter to the character’s traits.  Two examples would be Antsy for a nervous, agitated, paranoid character; and Tiny Chanter, for the biggest and nastiest of the Chanter brothers.  Obviously, some characters arrive with names that have no earthly correlation, and there I find that the ones that sound right in my head often do so because they trigger some related (or not-so-related) image or emotion in me.  In still other instances, I use names to resonate with historical, earthly personages, though usually when I do that I disguise that resonance so that only I am aware of it.   Finally, some names I invent and keep only because I like the look and sound of them.

How much of the plot is planned in advance, and how much grow “organically” when writing the novels?

I think there needs to be plenty of both in a novel.  If it is all planned down to every last detail, chances are that novel will never be written, because it will mean that the creator has already done all the fun stuff – the creative bit – leaving the writing itself a chore.  And should that writer actually slog through the ordeal of writing lifeless stuff, well, the finished product will be unreadable.

For myself, I held to broad arcs through the series, and knew where the end of each novel would be, but I left plenty of scope for invention on the fly, and a good many threads were spontaneous creations which I then had to work hard at entwining into the whole.  A writer needs room in which to be surprised by their own creation, and to then feel free enough to follow unknown and unexpected paths in the narrative.

Cheers, Steven Erikson

::

As you can see, no really new info but it’s great to hear conformation once again that there’ll be more novels in the Malazan world, and I also enjoyed reading about Steven’s writing process – I’m nowhere near emulating that kind of focus myself just yet! 😉

To pre-order your copies here are the links you’ll need: Amazon US (paperback & hardcover), Amazon UK (hardcover), and here for South Africa (Kalahari.net hardcover). There are different release dates for the US, UK and SA, so make sure of those details at the links.

To get more info about Steven and his work, check out his official website here, and also check out Malazan Empire – a great community of fans of the work of both Steven and Ian Cameron Esslemont. 🙂

Be EPIC!

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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Announcements, Interviews

 

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Release Days and Competitions

Hey everyone, March is an absolutely *massive* month for SFF!

First up, The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss has been released – I saw it on the shelf in Australia while I was there and it looks like a gorgeous monster of a book to read; couldn’t afford a copy, though, not in Australian Dollars! I’ll definitely be reading it as soon as I get my hands on a copy, though – it’s been too long since I’ve enjoyed Kvothe’s company. 🙂 It’s not available in SA *just yet* but should be arriving early in April; I’ll let you SA fans know as soon as it does. 🙂

Second March-release of note (which I’ve reviewed here) is Lily Herne’s Deadlands – zombies, kickass action and awesome characters that is proudly South African. 🙂

Next up (and will definitely be picking up a copy as soon as it arrives in SA), Peter V Brett’s The Desert Spear is now available in paperback! 🙂 Suvudu’s got a post up to celebrate the release and is also hosting a competition, and Peat is also hosting a new contest – check out all the details and much, much more here. 🙂 Massive congrats to Peat!

Another release that’s been getting *plenty* of attention is The Crippled God (as was expected, eh?). It’s been out for a while in the US and UK but hasn’t reached South Africa just yet – will let you know as soon as it arrives. 🙂 I’ll have to wait a while before I get to it, since I’m re-reading the series (at Memories of Ice now), but I’m really looking forward to it.

Another release which I’m really looking forward to is Paul S Kemp’s Star Wars The Old Republic novel, Deceived. I’m really hoping that my copy will arrive soon (please hold thumbs for me)! Paul is hosting a giveaway for 2 copies of the audiobook, read by the awesome Marc Thompson – check out the details here. 🙂

One last release-day celebration – Seanan McGuire’s fourth(!!!) October Daye novel, Late Eclipses was available as of the 1st of March! 🙂 Massive congrats to Seanan – I haven’t yet had a chance to finish A Local Habitation but that’s on my to-do list and will be happening soon. 🙂 Congrats, Seanan! 🙂

That’s it for now – check back tomorrow for some news regarding a new interview with Steven Erikson. 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Announcements

 

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Steven Erikson – Dust of Dreams Update!

Just saw this on Pat’s blog and thought I’d post it here, too – after all, this is the Malazan Book of the Fallen we’re talking about! 🙂

Most of the manuscript has been handed in, except for some of the final chapters – why? Well, Mr Erikson is busy with some “massive battle scenes”! 🙂

Awesome news! Now I’ve just gotta get myself in gear and finish my second read-through of the series! 🙂

As always, I’ll update you as more news breaks. 🙂

Be Fantastic!

P.S. Look out for Toll the Hounds, hitting the shelves in paperback soon! 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2009 in Announcements

 

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Poll: Another Malazan Audio Excerpt?

The audio excerpt has been out there for a few days now, and has been pulling in some great views! 🙂 Thanks to everyone who showed an interest and kept on checking, I’m really glad that I got the chance to do it. 🙂

So I got thinking, if I could do another one, would you want to hear it? The next one (if it can be arranged) would of course be Deadhouse Gates. So I set up this Poll so that those who haven’t yet heard the excerpt can give it a listen and make their decision, and those who’ve already heard it can go ahead and have their say. 🙂

I’ll check back in a week or so – that should give me enough time to finish The Modern World by Steph Swainston and get the review ready – and hopefully you’ll all have had your say. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2009 in Poll

 

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Audio Excerpt: Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson

Hey guys and girls and all lovers and fans of Steven Erikson’s monumental bad-ass epic, The Malazan Book of the Fallen – the audio excerpt is ready! 🙂 Just check the right-hand column, right at the end. It’s the blue box with the file, final_edit_prologue. 🙂

But before I get to the background of it, lets get the legal stuff out of the way first. 🙂

Steven Erikson holds the copyright to Gardens of the Moon, and the publishers, Transworld Books, hold the rights to the book. Under no circumstances may the book be copied, sold, or used in any way without permission from the publishers.
To purchase the book, follow these two links: rBooks and Amazon!

Okay, now that that’s done, let me fill you in about what happened that led to this excerpt being recorded. I had the idea wayyy back, but only started doing something about it a few months ago when I saw a post at Malazanempire.com. They guys and girls there were talking about an audio book of Steven Erikson’s series, how it should be done, etc. and I thought that I would go ahead and start recording – being a fan of the work, and not getting any payment for it, I thought it wouldn’t be a problem.

So I started and recorded the prologue and just about all of the first chapter; only later was I told in no uncertain terms that I should get permission for it first before going ahead (and mentioning it anywhere that might cause trouble for the folks who owned the website where I spoke about it).

So I checked out Random House’s website, saw that I would need to write (or fax) and letter through asking for permission and I thought, Bugger that! I then contacted a very cool lady by the name of Emily van Hest at Random House’s South African offices and asked her if she could help me with getting permission for it in any way. A few days and emails later I had the permission, and I promptly set about getting the recording done, fine-tuned, edited (to fit the ten-minute limit) and ready to post. 🙂

So, thanks to Steven Erikson, first, for writing such a brilliant book, for writing all the books that followed, for creating a world that we all love and for telling a story we all want to hear with characters that we care about. You, Sir, are a god among the gods of fantasy. 🙂

Second thank you goes to Emily; thanks for putting up with a blogger from SA, supplying books to review, and everything else! 🙂

And thirdly, thanks to Zoe and Transworld! 🙂 This wouldn’t have been possible without your permission! 🙂

Last, but not least, thanks for all the people who have encouraged and supported me in this. 🙂

Okay, last thing, I promise:

I’m not a proffesional audio book reader. I don’t have a studio or a thousand-dollar microphone. I’m just a fan who took a chance, got permission, and did a recording of a book (damn, the whole series) that needs to be done as an unabridged audio book. 🙂 So please keep that in mind when you want to critisize me. 🙂

Be Fantastic!

P.S. I’ve moved the Blue Box up, it’s no longer right at the bottom of the right-hand blog-column, so it’s easier to see. 🙂

P.P.S. Once you’ve listened to it, wont you please click this link and vote whether you would like to hear another Audio Excerpt from me? Thanks. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2009 in Audio Excerpts

 

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Attention all Steven Erikson Fans!

This has got to be one of the biggest giveaways to hit the blog’sphere: a chance to win a copy of the Subterranean Press limited edition Gardens of the Moon! 🙂 I think I’ve got it right when I say that Pat is going to have an incredible influx of entries! This, my friends, will be one of the most beautiful books in anyone’s collection! So follow this link to Pat’s blog and follow the instructions to enter! 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2008 in Announcements

 

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Potentially Very Exciting!

Other than the interview that Mark did with me (still one of the most kickass events that have sprung from this blog!), I may be able to report (soon) on something pretty damn cool; let’s just say that Del Rey’s marketing department will be in contact with me at some time (I was told these things can take some time, so no worries there)… 🙂

Also, next week I’m going to get stuck into polishing up my half of the audio recording of a ten-minute excerpt of Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen opener, Gardens of the Moon, so I’ll have that for you guys very soon. 🙂 The guys at Random House here in SA, as well as some of the members at malazanempire.com are waiting for this, so that’s my priority for next week. 🙂 Got a wedding to go to this weekend, and I work during the week, so bare with me, k? 🙂

Oh yè, my RSS feed is up and running! FINALLY! Hehe, told you I was a newbie at this. 🙂

Alrighty then, that’s it for the time being! 🙂

Be Fantastic!

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in Announcements

 

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