V. E. Schwab Interview

V. E. Schwab Interview

For this week’s episode of the Writers of Fantasy Podcast, I got to talk to Victoria Schwab, aka V.E. Schwab. She is an American fantasy author best known for her 2013 novel Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and her children’s and young adult fiction.

We had a really good, long talk about world building, characters, writing, and gender issues in science fiction and fantasy. Listen here, and there are some key quotes! Check it out!

[Listen here]

On The Near Witch and How a Writer changes

I started out when I was quite young, and I wrote my first book when I was nineteen. The Near Witch was the second book I’d ever written, and I was twenty-one! And I’m now thirty! There’s some growth that happens, I’ve not got thirteen books published, and obviously you grow and change as a person.

I get asked often ‘do you go back and look at your previous work and think of things you would do differently?’ The honest truth is that I kind of look at each and every one of my books as a time capsule of who I was and what I was capable of doing. So, I never want to change any of them, as The Near Witch is a capsule of who I was in college and what I was studying and what excited me.

Whereas The Shades of Magic series and The Monsters of Verity series are just as much time capsules of who I was and what I was going through while doing a Masters Degree on depictions of monstrosity. And I was travelling a lot. So, they’re precious to me in different ways.

Monsters and Villains

Certainly with something like Vicious, which is about villains, and villainy. About the arbitrary labels that we apply to heroes and villains. It’s a book about personal vendettas, and who is a hero and who is a villain. Is it determined by where they fall on opposite sides of this argument? In that book, specifically, I wanted to play with the idea [of villains].

I sat down and thought ‘wouldn’t it be a fun challenge to write a book without heroes?’ Could I write a book without heroes and make the reader strongly root for one of the villains? It was a craft exercise in learning it’s not what our characters do, it’s not what we do as people, but why we do it. Motivation Vs action.

Sometimes I do sit down and think. There’s always a seed. I gather ingredients for a story until I have enough to make a meal. But I think there’s always that one ingredient that’s the core, bonding thing.

[More]

Legend of Korra Comics: Irene Koh Interview

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Legend of Korra Comics: Irene Koh Interview

The Legend of Korra is back! We spoke to Irene Koh, the artist behind Turf Wars, the upcoming graphic novel trilogy. The first graphic novel trilogy continuing the series, written by co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino, is coming out this month.

Irene Koh is an illustrator from Seoul, now living in Los angeles. She received her BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design and has worked for Dark Horse, DC, Marvel, IDW, Oni Press, and Stela.

If you read Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Batgirl, you might have seen her work before.

But we are here to talk about Korra! So let’s get started! Spirits, elements, martial arts, and maybe a bit of Korrasami?

lokturfw-4– For those who might not have heard yet, can you tell us a little bit about how you got the job on the Korra comics?

I’d been joking for years that I’d be a perfect fit for the comic, as a bisexual Asian martial artist and avid Avatar fan. After Brittney Williams dropped out of the project, a friend of mine was offered the gig, to which she referred me instead.

I drew a few test pages, and now here I am, almost done drawing Part Two.

– There have been a lot of artists who have worked on both Avatar and Korra, do you have any favourites that informed your own style? 

The key art people on staff (or at least the ones whose work I can readily find on the Internet) have been great to look at. Not necessarily for style’s sake, since I was asked to draw the book in my own style, but for movement.

Animation folks have totally different way of approaching movement and character acting, and there’s a lot of great tricks I picked up just studying their work. Specifically, I looked at Steve Ahn’s work for action, and Ki Hyun Ryu’s amazing, expressive faces.

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Foz Meadows – Writers of Fantasy Interview

atyrannyofqueens_144dpiFoz Meadows – Writers of Fantasy Interview

A new series of the Writers of Fantasy Podcast from Scifi-fantasy network!
Joel Cornah talks to Foz Meadows, author of An Accident of Stars! Foz is a genderqueer author, blogger, essayist, reviewer and poet.

In 2014, she was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer for her blog, Shattersnipe; she is also a contributing writer for The Huffington Post and Black Gate, and a contributing reviewer for A Dribble of InkStrange Horizons and Tor.com.

Give the episode a listen here, or on iTunes! There’s a transcript below.


READ THE TRANSCRIPT

Gemma X Todd – Writers of Sci-Fi Interview

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This week’s Writers of Sci-Fi interview is with Gemma X Todd. She is an author, Mobile Librarian and LEGO enthusiast! Her new books, The Voices series, begins with Defender, which comes out in January 2017! So be on the lookout!

As a librarian and all round cool person, she has plenty of unique perspectives on the state of sci-fi and fantasy in the book world. Check it out!

1) Can you remember your earliest writing projects? If so, do you see any common themes that have followed through into Defender, and The Voices series?

defender-coverThe first “serious” project was a fantasy book I tried to write when I was fourteen. In the opening chapters, I killed off the main character’s family, so even back then I was all about the gore and violence and putting people through terrible ordeals. Honestly, though, I spent more time drawing the map for the story than actually writing it (see pictures). So, in terms of themes: violence, the predilection for killing people, and the loss of loved ones, all transferred over in to DEFENDER.

2) The Voices is going to be a quartet (or possibly a quadrilogy); how did you decide on that as the format for the story?

It decided for me, really. DEFENDER was initially a standalone story (which is why it reads so well as a standalone book with a satisfactory resolution at its end), but when I finished it, the characters wouldn’t leave me alone. They had a lot more to say and do, and there are a lot of questions that still need to be explored. The world I had created was so rich in possibilities I’d have been crazy to stop at just one.

3) What part of writing are you most comfortable with? Dialogue, prose,
characterisation, plot, etc.?

I’ll rank them in order of preference: characterisation, prose, plot… … … … … … … dialogue. I don’t hate dialogue – it plays an extremely important role – but I spend a lot of time writing it and then re-writing it then reading it aloud to myself before cutting half of it out. My main characters, however, are like family. I know what choices they’d make in any given situation. And plot is fine – I don’t tend to plan very much, but I am a huge film fan, and I do believe that over many, many years of watching thousands of movies, techniques such as story arcs and plot devices and pacing have all seeped into my subconscious.

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Mary Robinette Kowal Interview Writers of Fantasy

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“Alien is a big old puppet show” says Kowal. She talks the Glamourist Histories, theatre and more. Mary Robinette Kowal interview for writers of fantasy.

Mary Robinette Kowal is a multi-award winning author, best known for the Glamourist Histories series, as well as being a professional puppeteer. She talked about her writing process, about puppetree, and how even some of your favourite sci-fi movies, like Alien, are big old puppet shows.

Take a listen here, and there is a breakdown of key quotes below for those who can’t listen right away.

On performing arts, puppetry, and writing;

kowal-370“It absolutely affects everything I do because I spent twenty plus years in live theatre. It’s very easy for people to think about puppetry and theatre as being two different things. We jokingly call actors who do not use puppets ‘fleshies’ or ‘meat actors’.”

“The thing about puppetry is much like what happens with science fiction and fantasy. People tend to think of it as something other than literature. That it’s somehow ‘lesser’. We’ve all experienced that when we’ve been telling someone what it is that we like to read. So, for me, one of the things that it has done in terms of influencing the way that I write, that I approach fiction, is that my job is to approach an audience. That’s what I did in theatre, that’s what I’m doing as a writer.”

“If there’s an audience where they don’t like the thing that I do, I try to find a gateway. Rather than trying to convince them that ‘oh no, this is really good’ or being embarrassed about it. You know, a lot of people will pre-appologise for what it is that they love… And that gives people permission to laugh at you.

“Whereas, with puppetry, when people say ‘what do you do?’ and if I say it very matter of factly, I’ve found the same thing is true of my writing. And if I present it as ‘this is the thing, they have to accept it at that point as something that grownups do, because I am, in fact, an adult.”

“They usually respond with ‘oh I used to love that when I was a kid’. I ask them what it is that they like now and then suggest something that they might like that is in my field. That is adjacent to what I like. So, for instance, if someone says ‘I used to love puppets when I was a kid, but now horror is really more my thing.’ I say ‘Have you tried Alien? Because, that’s a big old puppet show.'”

“Have you tried Alien? Because, that’s a big old puppet show.”

“In science fiction and fantasy it’s much the same. If someone tells me they are a romance reader, I am not going to immediately suggest that they read Ender’s Game. That would be a bad fit.”

[Full interview]

“Stabbing. A Lot of Stabbing” RJ Barker Interview – Writers of Fantasy

r-j-barkerThis week’s Writers of Fantasy Interview is with RJ Barker, who talks to us exclusively about his debut fantasy trilogy, Age of Assassins! I met RJ at FantasyCon by the Sea earlier this year and knew right from the get go that this is an author who is going places, so we’ve nabbed an exclusive with an author you should deffinately look out for.

If you’re an aspiring author yourself, this interview also touches on the writing process and beyond! Check it out!

Your debut novel, Age of Assassins, is coming out through Orbit next year (2017). What can readers expect?

STABBING. A lot of stabbing. And there’s intrigue and magic and then more stabbing in AoA (which is a quite a cool looking shortening). Also, Mystery. I love 1930’s crime and in a way AoA is based around that idea, sort of Agatha Christie[1]: you have a castle, a cast of characters and you know someone wants someone else dead.

Girton, the lead, is fifteen when we meet him and extremely capable. There’s a fluidity to the action sequences that I think readers will enjoy and they’re backed up by some real emotional heft. Girton himself is likeable, he’s funny and driven to do the right thing even when it’s not in his best interests. One of the first comments I had back was ‘I’d quite like to go for a drink with him[2]’ and I thought, yes, that’s what I’m after, this might be the one. Oh, and antlers. Antlers play a big part in it (as they should in EVERYTHING.)

I like antlers.

How much writing of novel-length had you done before? And do you see common threads and themes in the kinds of things you enjoy writing about?

This is novel number four. The first was rubbish. The second I love but know needs reworking and probably has quite a niche appeal. The third, a space opera, nearly got picked up but in the end wasn’t really commercial enough. It might have been that I could have self published it or found a small press that would have taken a chance on it but when I first started writing seriously I’d made a promise to myself that it would be one of the a big publishers or nothing. It seemed like a completely ridiculous ambition at the time, but I’ve never been short on ridiculous.

As to common threads, I like outsiders but not outsiders in a strong, silent mysterious way. I tend to write people who are outside and wishing they could come in, but don’t know how to do that. Which I think is a feeling we’re all familiar with. And people who are good, because I think generally people are. In a lot of ways the difference between good and evil is more about how much of your own best interests you’re willing to put aside for others than it is about intent.

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Jeremy Bulloch Interview – Boba Fett Speaks

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As part of Scifi Fantasy Network’s Star Wars Month, I got to interview Jeremy Bulloch, who played Boba Fett! He has also been in Doctor Who, James Bond, and has been acting since the age of 12! So, naturally, I had to ask him about that, and get his perspective on the ever changing world of media and film.

He appeared in two Doctor Who stories, The Space Museum (1965) where he played Tor alongside William Hartnell (the First Doctor) and then he was Hal the archer in The Time Warrior (1973) with Jon Pertwee (the Third Doctor). From 1979-81, he was a regular in ITV’s sitcom Agony, where he played Rob Illingworth, one half of a gay couple. He also has roles in three Bond films, twice playing Q’s assistant Smithers.

[Watch here]