Friday, 16 October 2009

R. A. Salvatore Author Interview

Books: Again, too many to list. Check out his website.

Most recent books: Orc King
Pirate King
Ghost King

The Dame


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

Sure, until I had to take a shower with cold water.

Seriously, there is a certain purity in fantasy worlds that I wish existed in our world. The idea that one person can be the hero, can slay the dragon and save the town, is very appealing to me, as is the idea of having a very clear reason to go to battle. I’d love to visit the unspoiled lands of Icewind Dale, or the great monastery of St. Mere Abelle in DemonWars. I’d love to be the Highwayman, robbing the lairds to help the ordinary folk get by. Of course I would.

Isn’t that why we read fantasy, after all?

What was the hardest scene for you to write?

The hardest scene for me to write, ever, was the last part of Brother Francis’s tale in the book Mortalis. I wrote that book while watching my best friend, my brother Gary, wither away from cancer, and Francis came to symbolize Gary’s struggle for me, a struggle I knew he could not win, as much as I wanted to deny it.

Any time you kill a character, or send some of your favorites off on a different road, it’s difficult. I remember way back when writing The Halfling’s Gem, when I thought I had killed Catti-brie. I had to take a break and go for a walk. It really hits hard.

What's the best/worst thing about writing?

The best thing is that I get to escape from our world as a matter of course. When I get going, it’s like I’m there in the story; I get the same thrill from writing that most people get from reading, and I’m constantly surprised by the twists and turns in the stories I write.

The worst thing is that, like every writer, I’m cursed. I can’t escape a book. It won’t leave me alone, won’t get out of my head. It’s with me when I’m driving. It’s with me when I go to bed and when I wake up.

Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, you’re a writer. I mean that, and not at all facetiously. You write because you have to write, because if you’re not writing, you’re miserable. You write because you have all these stories inside of you, clawing at your skin and demanding to be told. One thing I want to make very clear here: writing and publishing are two different things. I write because I’ve got the curse, because I have to write, because I won’t be happy unless I’m telling my stories. I publish because, since I’m writing anyway, I might as well share the stories.

So, as far as advice on publishing goes, I’d say, go to the library and look in The Writer’s Market. Learn the business end of the business, and send the publishers exactly what they want, content and format. And as soon as you mail out your work, forget about it and get back to writing, and never, ever forget that you are a writer if you’re writing. Publishing is just the icing on that very tasty cake.

How do you discipline yourself to write?

I’m a professional writer. I’m my own boss. Without discipline, I fail, period. There are many days where I’d rather be out in the sunshine, or watching a ball game, or getting an ice cream, but I have deadlines and I have responsibilities.

You don’t need to have that sense of responsibility to be a writer, but you need it to be a professional writer. And here’s the most important thing I’ve learned: once you start typing, you’ll fall back into the work and very quickly forget anything else you thought you’d rather be doing.

Remember R. A. Salvatore's blog tour continues tonight on Suvudu ( 7-8 EST,
and tomorrow at Fantasy Book Critic (


Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing the interview with everyone, I love to read interviews with R.A. Salvatore as he's my all time favorite author.

To Mr Salvatore, thank you so much for continuing to write and for wanting to share your stories with others. I can't tell you how many times one of your books has taken me away to the realms of Faerun and helped me get through an otherwise boring or horrible day!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words garnetcox, and thanks for being a part of the blog tour, Sci-Fi Fan Letter!

It's been a fun week!

Bob Salvatore

Lisa said...

I sure hope that after the despair and hopelessness of The Ghost King, Salvatore gives us reason again to read fantasy. It was a good story, but a hard read for me. I want the hero to slay the dragon and have all the purity of fantasy intact. It is harder to separate the all too familiar helplessness of a fantasy book like The Ghost King with counterpart feelings in the real world. I want to believe that in fantasy, things are resolved eventually, even if it is only a character's negative feelings about things they cannot change. Salvatore's answer gives me hope that he will return to that purity.