10-28-2009 06:11 PM - edited 10-28-2009 06:13 PM
For those of you who haven't heard yet, legendary adventure fantasy writer R.A. Salvatore will be visiting Center Stage from November 16th to the 20th to talk about The Ghost King, the third and final installment of his Transitions trilogy (The Orc King and The Pirate King)!
Salvatore is unarguably one of the biggest – and most influential – adventure fantasy writers out there and his novels featuring dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden are consistently mentioned whenever we discuss Best Fantasy Series Of All Time in the fantasy/science fiction forum.
Additionally, Drizzt is one of the most complex – and beloved – fantasy heroes ever created. He is one of my all-time favorite characters, right up there with Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné!
For those of you who haven't yet read his Transitions novels – or any of his drizzt novels, for that matter – here's my review of The Orc King: it'll give you some insight into the series, its historical significance, and what to expect when you read Salvatore.....
nture to feature his signature character Drizzt Do’Urden is the first installment of a pivotal new trilogy appropriately called Transitions. Born into existence in 1988 with the publication of The Crystal Shard as a supporting character, the infamous dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden has gone on to star in almost two-dozen Salvatore novels and has become one of the most popular – and most fully realized – heroes to ever grace the pages of a fantasy novel, comparable to the likes of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars.
The Orc King is easily Salvatore’s most accomplished work to date for many reasons. First and foremost is his continued and profoundly moving exploration into the complex psyche of his iconic protagonist. The dark elf’s philosophical ponderings have always played a major role in the saga’s narrative but in The Orc King, those musings reach new levels of existential enlightenment. Those unfamiliar with the adventure fantasy subgenre may see Salvatore’s Drizzt chronicles as just unsophisticated literary escapism – a bunch of elves and dwarves running around a Middle-earth-like landscape on endless quests battling trolls and dragons – but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. For example, a central theme in The Orc King is the consequences of fear and prejudice. The makeshift coalition of humans, elves, and dwarves has been battling the orcs in the frozen wastelands of Spine of the World for centuries. Tens of thousands have died – and for what? In the opening sequences of The Orc King, the dark elf ponders the pursuit of higher truth. “…emotion clouds the rational, and many perspectives guide the full reality. To view current events as a historian is to account for all perspectives, even those of your enemy. It is to know the past and to use such relevant history as a template for expectations. It is, most of all, to force reason ahead of instinct, to refuse to demonize that which you hate, and to, most of all, accept your own fallibility.”
Aside from masterful world building and meticulously choreographed battle sequences, another remarkable aspect of this novel is Salvatore’s subtle use of allegory. As the war rages on around the dwarven stronghold of Mithral Hall, there are those few who would move past the horrors of the past and consider peace. But with hatred and fear of change ingrained in so many people, is the thought of peaceful cohabitation just a fantasy? Considering the events of the past few decades – 9/11, the Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian conflict, the Sudan civil war, etc. – discerning readers will find it difficult not to see disturbing parallels between Salvatore’s themes and reality.
Including stunning glimpses into the future, Salvatore’s newest will have Forgotten Realms fans in a frenzy. The title of this trilogy is so fitting; marking the beginning of a momentous transition in Salvatore’s epic fantasy saga, The Orc King is as entertaining as it is edifying.
So, there you have it. When it comes to adventure fantasy, Salvatore is a master – quite possibly the master. If you like your literary escapism filled with nonstop action, superb character development, exceptional world building and existential insight, seek out R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt novels and stop by in November to chat with the master......
11-15-2009 09:55 AM
Okay guys, with R.A. Salvatore's visit looming – he'll be here tomorrow! – it's time to start posting questions and or comments.To prime the pump a little bit, here are five questions Mr. Salvatore recently answered regarding The Ghost King...
1. Tell us about how your new novel fits in with OR stands out from your body of work/previous work.
The Ghost King really is the end of an era with this Dark Elf series I've been writing for more than 20 years now. The Forgotten Realms is a shared world, meaning that there are many creatives working around the place - many
writers setting novels there, many game designers blowing up cities, etc. - and Wizards of the Coast has decided to move that world forward. It's their sandbox, and a great one, and since I want to keep playing in it, I have to move forward with my stories, as well. It was a very painful book to write, and certainly the most important of the Legend of Drizzt books in a long, long time.
2. What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever asked you?
Nothing in particular comes to mind, but many stories are swimming around me. I've had so many amazing encounters with readers. Many share stories of how the books helped them when they were down. Some begin with, "I didn't have any friends..." or "I was deployed..." Some questions are (unintentionally, I'm sure!) rude and (unintentionally, I'm sure) hilarious, like "When are you going to write a real book?" Others are just strange, like "How do you put your socks on? Which foot first?" The readers never cease to amaze, to entertain, and to touch my heart. I hate traveling, particularly flying, so I dread book tours, but knowing that I'm going to get to see so many wonderful folks at the signings is what keeps me going.
3. What's the one thing no one has ever asked you that you are dying to make known?
Something about the readers, particularly concerning the "why" of why they read the books. People are so dismissive of genre fiction, particularly fantasy fiction and romance. I can't speak to romance, but I can assure you that the letters I get from readers are sophisticated, well reasoned and filled with honest emotion. I might write about elves, but if those elves don't come off as real people to the readers, I fail. If I can't touch people on a deeper level, if I can't have my characters going through emotions and circumstances that resonate on a human level, I fail. So when someone dismisses the work as "popcorn," I just smile and allow it - maybe that's a mistake. Certainly the books can be read as simply action-adventure. You know, get the pulse going and have some fun, and there's nothing wrong with that. But if there isn't that second level, one that touches someone's heart, then I've only done half my job.
4. Whose books would you like to have written if not your own?
The Hobbit sprang to mind as soon as I read the question. Mostly it's because that work reminded me of why I fell in love with the genre. Tolkien took me somewhere wonderful, some warm place to escape, once in a while. That's what I want to give to readers. Tolkien's work turned me back on to reading at a time when I had come to view reading as a chore and not a pleasure. That's what I want to give to readers.
5. If you weren't a writer, you'd be?
Happier. Ouch, did I just say that? Well, it's true. The thing about writing, as much as I love it, and as much as it's brought to me, is that there's a much darker side to the work. It's like waking up every morning and knowing that you have a term paper due. I think that one of the reasons I write so quickly is because once I start a book, that awful "deadline looming" feeling presses down on me until I get the thing finished. Managing that reality, finding a balance in that reality between work and simply living, has been a constant struggle. I keep saying that I'm going to slow down, but all of these amazing opportunities keep knocking on the door. This time, I really mean it, though. I have now officially slowed down. So there.
It's funny, because being your own boss brings so many freedoms - I got to watch my kids grow up. I not only got to go to all of their sporting events or school plays, I got to coach many of the teams. But the flip side is the truth that when you're writing a book, you have to "go away" from the world, into this private zone where no one else is allowed in. I can be in a room with you and not be there at all. It's like a game of self-hypnosis, and sometimes, that's not so much fun.
11-15-2009 12:53 PM - edited 11-15-2009 01:10 PM
Welcome to BarnesandNoble.com's Center Stage! You have no idea how excited I am about this visit! It's been such an interesting journey following you and Drizzt and company over the years. It's a little weird from my perspective: I've had the opportunity to interview you twice for B&N but each time has been for a "non Drizzt" novel – 2004's The Highwayman and 2005's Promise of the Witch-King (which featured Jarlaxle Baenre and Artemis Entreri)! So, after almost two decades of reading and reviewing your stuff, I can finally ask you Drizzt questions! So here goes – here are a few introductory ones....
1. You stated that The Ghost King is "the end of an era with this Dark Elf series"... What exactly do you mean?
2. In The Ghost King's intro, you wrote about revisiting "that dark place." This is an emotionally supercharged novel – arguably your most emotionally intense work yet. How hard was it to write this book?
3. Can you elaborate a little bit about how the Fleetwood Mac songs "Sisters of the Moon," "Rhiannon," and "Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You?" affected this novel?
4. Drizzt, to me, is one of fantasy's most unforgettable characters – right up there with Moorcock's Elric, Burroughs' John Carter (although I suppose that's SF), Howard's Conan, etc.... I find it interesting that when you began writing The Icewind Dale trilogy, Drizzt was initially a supporting character. Does it still surprise you a little how iconic this character has become? and, why do you think readers have embraced Drizzt so passionately?
5. For me, reading your drizzt novels is as much entertainment as it is edification. There's a lot of deep philosophical content in these novels. This may sound ridiculous but do you read any kinds of philosophy texts while writing? Like the Tao Te Ching or Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan books?
Much more later! Glad to have you as a guest this week – it's going to be fun!
11-16-2009 02:47 AM
Mr. Salvatore it is an honor to be able to speak with you. I have been reading through the Drizzt books for the past year and have loved every one of them. Due to school and such slowing me down I haven't been able to read as much as I would normally like, I am going to be starting Passage to Dawn once I finish The Cleric Quintet. Your books have struck an emotional cord and helped me through a hard time. I can only hope that one day I will be able to achieve the level of continuous character development you achieve in your own works. Right now I’m finishing Canticle and can’t wait to read the rest of the series. I have been reading and writing Fantasy since high school and have found you, Andrzej Sapkowski, and J.R.R. Tolkien to be the most personally inspiring writers of the genre. Right now I am a student at Stetson University and will be pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing (Fantasy writing specifically) next year. Do you have any advice (reading, writing, etc.) for Fantasy writers who are just getting started in their careers? What helped you in the beginning and possibly still helps you now in your day to day writing?
11-16-2009 12:58 PM
I have read all of Drizzt's books except the Transition trilogy and have really loved them and my son has enjoyed them too. My question is are you are have you written anymore stories where Caitlin and Regis where the main characters. I have also liked your other series that are not set in the Forgotten Realms.
Everyone needs some Tender Loving Care
11-16-2009 03:21 PM
Hello Paul, and thanks for the warm welcome. It's been a long and wonderful road indeed, for me at least. I find it hard to believe that stumbled into Icewind Dale and these companions in the summer of 1987. Ronald Reagan was President, the Berlin Wall was still standing strong and the internet? What's that?
Anyway, to get the conversation going, I'll get right to the questions. More time to stare wistfully into the mirror afterwards...
1. I see Transitions as a real break point for Drizzt Do'Urden. More than any other novel to date, this one will affect him, will change him, will force him to face the realities of what it is to be an elf, as per the advice of Innovindil in "The Lone Drow." This isn't a sudden thing, by the way - I've been seeing this coming for a long time now; I just wasn't sure of how the change would come.
It was time for this, but Wizards, of course, really forced my hand anyway, since they're advancing the timeline of the Forgotten Realms 100 years. Even though I've been advancing the characters in bits and starts over the years, this is the first real paradigm shift for Drizzt. The world around him is almost as daically different as it was when he walked out of the Underdark.
Those principles he holds so dear, that truth he keeps so close to his heart, is going to be tested more in the next few books than in all of those that came before, I expect.
2. I'd still put "Mortalis" on that list, adn that was in the darkest place I've ever been. I was watching my brother die of cancer - he was my best friend in the world. I only got through it because I had my writing, through which to express my hopes, my fears, my joy in my time with him and the grief I knew was coming fast down the track. I still haven't gone nback and read that book, by the way.
I knew "The Ghost King" was going to be intense, and dark, and so I knew that to do it justice, I had to go back to that emotional place. I had sworn I never would, but I did, and I'm very happy with the results. No, it wasn't easy, but being a writer isn't easy - ever. You have to be willing to go "there."
3. "Rhiannon" became my high school anthem, of sorts. I was incredibly shy in high school - never had the courage to actually ask a girl out on a date - and so "Rhiannon" became that kind of unspoken, in the back of my mind, wish of how I wished things could be, and who I wished they might be with. The point is, that song was there when I broke free of the Bobby I was in high school; in a way, it helped lead me to a much better college eexperience.
"Sisters of the Moon," particularly that vieo I mention (the 1982 Mirage tour live version), is really a display of an artist getting so lost in her work, she can't even speak decipherably at time. Think Joan Baez or Janis Joplin intensity. Stevie Nicks absolutely lets it go on stage; the song is like an expression of life, death, ecstacy and agony all rolled into one. So in addition to the fact that I just love the song, and it brings me back to my early and very creative D&D games, that particular version also reminds me that no author or artist of any type can write from the clutch of defensiveness. Let it go and let the chips fall where they may.
"Has anyone ever written anything for you"? Well, the older and wiser bard, who along with her bandmates have pretty much written the soundtrack of my adult life, becomes quite reflective on what she's doing in that song, and, I think, quite reflective on what her art has done to her. It just seemed very, very appropriate to me as I wrote this book.
4. Of course I'm surprised (and thanks for putting Drizzt in such esteemed company) at the popularity and staying poweer of the character. it certainly wasn't anything I did intentionally - there's no magic formula I pulled out of my Michael Moorcock primer. When i look back on it, I expect there are some hints of why, but again, this is hindsight.
First, it seems like the time of the dark elf was upon us. I don't know how much I influenced that, or if it was just about to happen anyway, where fantasy readers and gamers had arrived at the point where they needed "the next thing." The classicraces had remained unchanged for years, after all. Halflings, dwarves, elves and humans...rinse lather and repeat. So maybe that was part of it.
More importantly, though, it occurs to me that people want heroes. Not hte guy with the biggest gun, but hte guy with the biggest heart, with guiding principles he will stick by even when it gets much easier to put those princioples in a closet for a while. Certainly Drizzt isn't infallible - he's made dozens of rather obvious mistakes over the years, mostly regarding interpersonal skills, or lack thereof, but he's always trying to do what's right. We don't have enough heroes like that anymore - not in pop culture anyway, and so he's filling a very large void.
And finally, if the guy isn't the classic outcast, I don't know who is! And who hasn't felt that way at some point, particularly high school?
5. It's been fascinating to me to watch the reactions of the many, amyn readers over the years. To some, the books are just "popcorn" entertainment, and that's fine with me. But for others, they describe reading the series as a life-changing expereince, or at least, a good friend who hellped them through a tough time in their lives. No one can determine the relationship between a reader and a book except the reader of the book, right? That I'm hitting both ends of the spectrum, popcorn to philosophical content, with so many different readers tells me that I must be doing something right. Danged if I know what it is, though!
To answer your question, my bout with philosophy when writing is much like the way I approach the martial arts in the books: I take cursory knowledge, run it through my common sense filter (which means my personal experiences and beliefs and logical undertanding) and bring it out along the edges of a fairly straightforward story through the vehivcle of these characters. Sure, I've got a library full of introspective philosophy, mostly in the form of great literature.
Okay, moving along...
11-16-2009 03:26 PM
Well met, Matthew,
First of all, almost everything regarding the business aspects of writing has changed so dramatically since I broke in, I've got to leave that part of it to others.
One thing that has not changed, however, is the process of writing. First advice: if you can quit writing, then quit. because if you can quit, you're not a writer. It's that simple. This is a brutal vocation. You have to possess a need to tell your stories - not to get "famous" and "rich," but to tell your stories. Two very different things.
Once you answer that question honestly - few people do, because everyone thinks he or she can write a book - then sit down every single day and produce some words. And here's a secret: read those words aloud to yourself. It sounds trite, but trust me, it's the best advice I can give.
11-16-2009 03:29 PM
it's always good to hear that my books are going multi-generational. I think you mean Catti-brie, not Caitlin (which is funny, because my daughter is "Caitlin" and is Catti-brie's namesake). Both of htese characters show up in the Drizzt saga throughout. Catti-brie take a major role in "Starless Night" and Regis is a major player in "The Pirate King."
Other than those, they are big players in all the books.
11-16-2009 06:02 PM
Thanks so much for the responses! So much info to consume there....
You're right on the money regarding Drizzt being the classic outcast. I think that's why I was so drawn to him – as well as your hero in the Highwayman, Bransen. Not only can readers empathize with these characters, it's virtually impossible not to root for them in their endeavors... there is definitely part of Drizzt in every one of us.
Okay, here are some more questions:
1. When I think about your Drizzt novels, I instantly visualize all of the brilliant cover art from Todd Lockwood. This guy is arguably the best fantasy artist out there... The covers that he has done in your Drizzt saga are just spectacular. Two things – how much has Todd's vision helped to cement Drizzt's place in the fantasy patheon of classic heroes? And can you imagine a new Drizzt novel with cover art from another author?
2. I'm personally not one for seeing my favorite reads made into movies, television shows, etc. Remember the Dune movie in 1984? I think I just vomited in my mouth. L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Clarke's 2001 and 2010, etc. Has Hollywood tried to get its hands on Drizzt and company yet? And what are your feelings about that?
3. I'm curious about WotC advancing the timeline of the Forgotten Realms 100 years.. Wow. How will that affect the Drizzt sequence? Specifically, what's the next book after The Ghost King?
4. We just had Cherie Priest here last week. She's an incredible writer who began her career penning paranormal fantasy but who has now gone "off the reservation" and is writing horror and steampunk. Have you ever considered writing outside of adventure fantasy?
5. The Ghost King.... I'm still reeling from it. Bleak. that's a good word to describe it. Maybe I'm reading waaaaay into it but isn't this novel an extended allegory of what's happening in our own world?
More to come! I'm loving this!
11-16-2009 06:47 PM - edited 11-16-2009 06:49 PM
I don't know if you've read this yet but here's my Unabashedly Bookish blog about your Drizzt saga, which was justed posted earlier today... feel free to comment, oh literary shaman!
R.A. Salvatore is so much more than an adventure fantasy novelist. He’s a philosopher, a sage, a literary shaman, a changer of lives. To those who have never actually read one of Salvatore’s novels featuring the dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden, the superficial storyline may seem like just another stereotypical fantasy adventure – a misfit group of cardboard RPG characters (an elf, a dwarf, a wizard, a halfling, etc.) running around a fantastical realm embarking on quests and battling the monstrous forces of darkness. But that would be like calling the Tao Te Ching just a bunch of old poetry…
Although these novels are jam packed with nonstop action and adventure, Salvatore’s Drizzt saga is essentially an intense, and oftentimes lyrical, exploration into what it means to be human – and Salvatore’s signature character, the scimitar wielding dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden, is arguably the most complex and deeply contemplative fantasy character ever created. Here’s a perfect example: in the novel Sea of Swords, Drizzt – a rogue drow who, when necessary, is a virtually unstoppable killing machine – states: “Hindsight, I think, is a useless tool. We, each of us, are at a place in our lives because of innumerable circumstances, and we, each of us, have a responsibility (if we do not like where we are) to move along life's road, to find a better path if this one does not suit, or to walk happily along this one if it is indeed our life's way. Changing even the bad things that have gone before would fundamentally change who we are, and whether or not that would be a good thing, I believe, it is impossible to predict. So I take my past experiences... and try to regret nothing.”
Salvatore’s narrative is profound existential and spiritual enlightenment wrapped in literary escapism. Here’s another poetic excerpt from Sea of Swords: “We need to be reminded sometimes that a sunrise lasts but a few minutes. But its beauty can burn in our hearts eternally.
And this from The Orc King: “…emotion clouds the rational, and many perspectives guide the full reality. To view current events as a historian is to account for all perspectives, even those of your enemy. It is to know the past and to use such relevant history as a template for expectations. It is, most of all, to force reason ahead of instinct, to refuse to demonize that which you hate, and to, most of all, accept your own fallibility.”
But this is just a small sampling of what each Drizzt novels contains. Imagine these reflective nuggets sprinkled throughout an entire novel. This series could potentially be shelved in the Philosophy section!
So Salvatore’s Drizzt saga is replete with deep contemplation and existential wisdom. That much is obvious to anyone who has read these novels. But it goes deeper than that. His storylines, his themes, are allegorical – and his latest novel, The Ghost King, may be his most powerfully allegorical work to date. As the Spellplague (magic gone mad) throws the realm into chaos, Drizzt’s own thoughts could easily be those of any one of us, contemplating the potentially apocalyptic issues – economic and political flux, global warming, terrorism, etc. – in our own chaotic world: “But what happens if it all collapses? What happens if ‘that which is’ suddenly is not? How will we cope when the food runs out, and the diseases cannot be defeated through godly intervention? Will the people of the world band together to create new realities and structures to fulfill the needs of the masses? Or will the world know calamity, on a scale never before seen?”
This is a glorious time to be a fan of R.A. Salvatore. The Ghost King, the third and final installment of his Transitions trilogy, is his deepest – and darkest – work yet. Salvatore even writes in the novel’s introduction that when he started writing The Ghost King, he knew that he had to return to that “dark place” within himself. Without giving anything away, fantasy aficionados who have followed the adventures of Drizzt, Catti-brie, Regis, Wulfgar, and Bruenor Battlehammer since the publication of 1988’s The Crystal Shard will be absolutely blown away by what transpires within the pages of The Ghost King. “Transitions” is a fitting title for this hugely significant and emotionally supercharged trilogy...
We discuss various “best-of-all-time” lists quite a bit in BarnesandNoble.com’s Fantasy/Science Fiction forum and not only is Salvatore’s Drizzt cycle mentioned on numerous subscriber’s all-time best fantasy saga lists but Drizzt is also frequently listed as one of the all-time favorite fantasy characters. Fantasy fans who have yet to experience the entertainment and edification associated with the Drizzt saga should make it a point to seek out these classic adventure fantasy novels immediately.
11-17-2009 10:02 AM
Thank you so much for your advice Mr. Salvatore. This might sound silly but I’ve often been told to read my research papers aloud for editing purposes and never thought to apply that technique to my creative writing. Thank you very much for that tip, I will start doing that immediately.
My whole life I was told not to put all of my “eggs” into the creative writing basket. Last year when I met my current fiction writing professor I realized that I don’t have or want another basket. My thoughts always turn to these fantastical places and I will think about new characters, old characters, and how other authors make such memorable and impactful characters. Last year was the first time I was presented with the idea of writing novels and thinking the way I already think as a choice. In my mind there wasn’t really a choice to be made but on paper I made the choice to embrace every writing class the university has to offer.
I actually would like to ask you about character development. Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn, although they had action and excitement in spades, were really intense when it came to Drizzt’s character development. Have the journal entries of Drizzt helped you with his character development? Have you possibly done this with other characters just to feel them out even if the entries themselves didn’t make it into the books?
I was also wondering what kind of challenges you might have faced when feeling out and developing a character like Jarlaxle or Entreri versus Drizzt?
Posting on forums is relatively new to me so I’m not sure if I’m breaking any forum etiquette by posting again, I hope not. I also feel awkward just shooting out questions so even though I don’t expect that you would have any kind of questions for me, I would like to extend the offer to ask me whatever question you may have. I would certainly be more than honored to answer. I would also like to mention to Paul that your “When Adventure Fantasy Becomes Profound Spiritual Enlightenment” post is truly great. Also, your questions are amazing as well, I wasn’t expecting to see a question about Todd Lockwood but his art is so amazing that one could hardly imagine how an author would feel about their work being rendered in such a way.
11-17-2009 10:07 AM
I'm sorry about that text being sort of mashed together but when I clicked "post" the spacings between the paragraphs were removed.
11-17-2009 11:43 AM
I would also like to mention to Paul that your “When Adventure Fantasy Becomes Profound Spiritual Enlightenment” post is truly great. Also, your questions are amazing as well, I wasn’t expecting to see a question about Todd Lockwood but his art is so amazing that one could hardly imagine how an author would feel about their work being rendered in such a way.
Thanks, Matthew! That just made my day!
11-17-2009 03:50 PM - edited 11-17-2009 03:52 PM
So, here's a day in the life of an author. I was typing away (just finished "The Bear" for Tor and am back into the next Drizzt book, re-reading what I had done before "The Bear" edit and getting back into the flow) like all the world was fine.
I look up and it's 2:45, and here I am, sitting in my pajamas...needing a shower. Ah well.
"Is that the sun up there?"
"I don't know, I'm a stranger in town."
Anyway, sorry I'm late!
1. I can't tell you how pleased I am with Todd's work, and yes, arguably he's the best. I'd argue for a few others, as well. How lucky was i to get that Larry Elmore painting on the original "Crystal Shard"? And no one other than Keith Parkinson could have done "Mortalis."
There was a spike in Drizzt readership with "The Thousand Orcs," the first Todd cover that really changed the image. I think he has been instrumental in bringing Drizzt to hte sensibilities of the new and younger readers. I'm a lucky guy.
As for anyone else doing Drizzt? I don't know, but I hope someone will be there when it's time for the next morph, be it Todd again or someone new. And I'd always welcome an Elmore cover.
2. My understanding is that there has been a lot of interest in a Drizzt movie, but Hasbro owns that copyright. Do i want it? For a long time, i really did. I bugged them all the time to get it done. A couple of years ago, iw as at a convention at harvard University with Guy Gavriel Kay (an author I truly admire and respect). Now he had worked on "The Silmarillion" with Christopher Tolkien and was a friend of the Tolkien family for years and years. he asked me what I thought of the Jackson movies.
I liked them a lot - the first one most of all. I think jackson did them as well as anyone could.
Then Guy looked me in the eye and asked, "But how do you feel knowing that from this day forward, no one will ever come to Tolkien through the books again?"
He should have just taken a baseball bat and hit me in the face. It would have been cleaner.
So now, i don't bug hasbro all that much anymore.
3. I'm going forward. It's their sandbox, not mine. My feelings on this are irrelevant. Andplease don't read that as a negative or a positive. They asked my opinion early on and I gave it...they took some suggestions and rejected others. In short, it is what it is and I'm still interested enough to keep playing in their sandbox.
4. Sure, all the time. I have a book i want to write about a present day situation, asking philsoophical questions about imortality, morality and religion. Now that I've cleared my schedule at long last, I might just do it, though I doubt I'd publish it under my own name.
5. All of my novels have reflections of our world in them - how could they not? You can see them if you look, ignore them if you choose, embrace them if you desire. but yeah, of course, they're there. It's a fine line to walk - I might have stepped over it once or twice in the last book, The Pirate King, honestly. I'm still wondering about that.
11-17-2009 04:10 PM
So, is this how it happens?
You crash onto the scene and become everyone's darling, their "find," in short order and all the world is peachy.
You read the reviews, good and bad, professional and amateur, open and cynical, as the years move along.
You get pigeon-holed. You're the "popcorn" guy, the good (hopefully) and fast read, the "beach reading," the insert-cliche-left-handed-compliment here.
You also get the quiet letters, so many, from people who have found inspiration, hope, friendship, whatever, in your works.
You know that the popcorn meme is one opinion, and one belied by the letters, but you accept the mantle (and of course, there's really nothing wrong with being "beach reading" - I am, after all, first and foremost an entertainer, as are ALL writers) because, after all, it isn't your place to defend yourself.
The Internet being what it is, many negative or shallow critiques are nothing more than a regurgitation of the meme, but again...you can only shrug and go along. The work must speak for itself.
But then, as the years go by and the younger readers (who most often come to the work with open minds and open hearts) grow old enough to give voice, some of the people who have read so much more into the works begin to speak up, and do so eloquently...if I may link here, the poet and philosopher Ali Eteraz...
Is this how it happens, i wonder? Is this how a deeper appreciation, or expectation at least, begins to take hold?
So what can I say, Paul, except a very sincere, "Thank you."
11-17-2009 04:17 PM
Matthew, I don't think you're breaking any rules here...quite the contrary!
When i started to write "homeland," I was leaning toward writing it from the first-person perspective. The biggest problem with that, however, is my love of cinematic writing. First person limits the visual feel of a book, particularly in involved battle sequences. how can Drizzt know what Zak is doing in the fight over there, when he's busy fighting over here? So I went part of the way with the essays, and yes, surprisingly (to me) they forced me deeper into Drizzt's thought processes and forced me to take a good look at all of those around him through his eyes.
Writing Entreri or Jarlaxle is actually much easier. If i'm not careful, Drizzt would fall off his pedestal, and crossing certain lines with characters like him means that there's no redemption, no going back. When Dylan McDermott tipped off the drug dealer and got several policemen killed in "The Practice," I stopped watching. He went over the line. I couldn't root for him anymore.
If Drizzt had done something like that, I expect many of my readers would change the channel.
If Entreri had done sometring like that, readers would be forgiving, or it would only confirm what they knew about him in the first place.
If Jarlaxle had done something like that, well, it probably would have been too funny to get too upset, and again, as with Entreri...
Hope that makes sense.
11-17-2009 04:18 PM
I just finished "The Bear," which is the last book in The Saga of the First King (the highwayman Corona stories) for Tor books and am now diving into the next Drizzt novel.
11-17-2009 05:44 PM
I just finished "The Bear," which is the last book in The Saga of the First King (the highwayman Corona stories) for Tor books and am now diving into the next Drizzt novel.
I know I'm obsessing about this, Bob, but the next Drizzt novel... Can you give us a tiny little teaser? Does it take place 100 years in the future as per WotC's Forgotten Realms timeline advancement? (Just that tidbit would be enough for me!)
11-17-2009 05:58 PM
I couldn't agree more about Todd Lockwood – he is an absolute master.
But here's why I love the guy – and I don't think I've ever shared this story with you. Back in '04 when The Highwayman was released – the first time I interviewed you for Barnes and Noble's Explorations – I was not only blown away by the book but by the stunning wraparound cover art. It was the coolest cover that I had ever come across (below) – and just a perfect cover for The Highwayman. I was so impressed that I emailed Todd telling him how great I thought his body of work was... and specifically how amazing The Highwayman cover was. (It was one of those "gushing" letters, I'll admit.) Anyway, a few weeks pass by and I get a tubular package in the mail – it's a full-color print of The Highwayman art signed by Todd! Unbelievable. It was one of the most unexpected – and thoughtful – things that has ever happened to me concerning authors, publishers, etc. Now it's framed and hanging in my library... I love that guy....
Just wanted to share that with you. It's such a wonderful thing to run across genuinely nice people in this biz...