Saturday, 19 July 2008

Chris Evans - Author Interview

A Darkness Forged in Fire


Pitch your novel

> A Darkness Forged in Fire is an epic adventure story inspired in part by the works of Rudyard Kipling, George MacDonald Fraser and Bernard Cornwell, melding traditional fantasy of elves, dwarves and magic with one of muskets and cannon in a time period that has a definite Napoleonic feel to it.

What are your favourite three books?

> Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser – This is one of the greatest memoirs of war ever written.

The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

At the risk of revealing my nerdiness – the dictionary.

> If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

The cool thing about being a writer is that you do get to change places with your characters – not literally, but nonetheless in a very real sense. As fun as it is to write about adventure and mayhem and magic I enjoy my deity-like position as writer too much to ever really want to change places and become a pawn in someone else’s world.

> What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?

A fantasy set in a time period similar to the Second World War. It took me about a year and a half to write it. It hasn’t been published and it would need a total revision before I even considered trying.

> What is the strangest question you have ever been asked by a fan?

As this is my first book it’s been more along the lines of “Who are you and why are you sitting by that stack of books looking hopeful?”

> If you still have one, what's your day job?

I work full-time as a book editor in New York City, editing military history and current affairs and conflicts books.

> What is your university degree in?

My Masters is in History, and I have two undergrads – one in English/History and one in Political Science. They all come in handy.

> Do you think it is easier to write fantasy or science fiction?

Here’s the thing, anyone can write anything. Whether they write it well is a completely different story. I don’t view writing as easy or hard, more in terms of how interesting the subject matter is. The more interesting, the more energized I become, no matter how technical or emotional it might be.

> When and where do you write?

I get up around 6am, go for a run in Central Park, then come back home shower, have breakfast and write for an hour or so before work. When I’m out and about I often make notes, but most of the writing is done at home.

> What's the best/worst thing about writing?

It’s a solitary endeavor.

> What is something you didn't know about the publishing industry before you had your fist book published?

That’s a tough one because being an editor for eight years I’m deep in the belly of the beast. Still, being a writer for the first time has helped me better understand some of the concerns and anxieties of my authors (especially when I find myself voicing the same concerns to my editor).

> Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Accept that you were born with a genetic defect that makes you want to write in the first place. Accept that you don’t want them to find a cure for your affliction. Accept that no matter how brilliant you know you are, some mouth-breathing basement-dweller is going to think your writing is terrible. Accept that and then get back to writing. Read. Read a lot, and read a variety of genres, especially nonfiction. Write. Write every day. Not just blogs and email and book reviews, but actual pages in your story. The only thing that adds pages to your book is the physical act of writing pages in your book (it’s the tautological approach – do it, and it will get done). Everything else is rationalized avoidance. When you finish your book, start writing the next one. Don’t fall into the trap of revising and re-revising the same book.

> Any tips against writers block?

Try to avoid it, I hear it’s really frustrating. Seriously though, I’ve come to accept the school of thought that there really is no such thing. If you’re a writer, you write. If you’re not, you talk about it over coffee while listening to music from a country you’ll never visit. So I suppose the tip is don’t give in, don’t wait for the stars to align and the muse to whisper in your ear – just write. The first page or two might be dreck, but then it’s out of your system. You delete it then start writing the good stuff.

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