05-21-2012 07:07 PM - edited 05-21-2012 07:44 PM
Hey guys, here is a really cool piece – it's a conversation between authors Robin Hobb (Rain Wilds saga, The Farseer Trilogy, etc.) and Helen Lowe (The Heir of Night, et. al.). Aspiring writers of fantasy fans alike should read this!
Helen: Good world building is integral to Fantasy. What are some of the key elements for you, Robin?
Similarly, the Rain Wilds are my favorite of your worlds. I love the mysterious, dangerous physical environment and its juxtaposition with Trader culture. But has your vision of the world changed in the shift from the Live Ships to the Rain Wilds’ Chronicles?
Robin: Oh, the focus is always on the characters, and so we see whatever part of the world they are in. In this case, we are seeing the Rain Wilds (Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons, etc.) from the perspective of the people who live and work in its more hazardous parts. Someday I’d like to write from the POV of a digger in Trehaug, who breaks through to a marvellously preserved room . . . Yeah!
But the view of a world changes whenever you change POV character, in my world or any world. Your Jarna’s experience of the tournament is vastly different from that of the noble ladies. So, too, the keepers of Trehaug have a whole different view of their world.
Helen: How interesting that we both see our worlds as evolving through diverse characters’ experiences... In The Heir of Night the reader gets a range of views on the Derai Alliance, particularly the political divide between their warrior and priestly castes. In the Rain Wilds’ Chronicles I enjoy getting Sintara and Thymara’s divergent views on their uneasy relationship—and the tension that creates in the story.
Robin: I do love my characters, even my villains. If you are going to spend a year writing a character, it had best be someone you find interesting! And I’ve been enjoying watching your Heir of Night series unfold, partly because while your characters are compelling, many in the story also hold the reader at a distance. It’s not initially obvious if Raven, for example, is someone to be trusted. Yet he is fascinating…
I think it layers in a depth of reality, having the same uncertainty in a tale about someone we’ve just met as we may in our regular lives.
Robin Hobb writes fantasy, and shares a word processor with Megan Lindholm. Her most recent work is The Rain Wilds Chronicles (Dragon Keeper, Dragon Haven, City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons.) She lives simultaneously in Tacoma and Roy, Washington, a dual existence that permits her lifestyle to weathervane from crime-ridden film noir settings to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, with chickens. Random observations can be found at Robinhobb.com or far too frequently on the Robin Hobb Facebook
Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, and interviewer. She has won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for achievement in SFF for both Thornspell (Knopf) in 2009, and The Heir of Night (The Wall of Night Book One) in 2011. The Heir of Night has also just been shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar Award and Helen is currently the Ursula Bethell writer-in-residence at the University of Canterbury. She posts every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really blog, on the 1st of every month on the Supernatural Underground, and occasionally on SF Signal. You can also follow her on Twitter: @helenl0we.
05-22-2012 07:13 AM
Good find Paul! It reminds me to read another book in the Rain Wild Series. I like to hear how other authors view competitors work.
05-22-2012 02:32 PM
neat seeing the POV of two talented Fantasy writers. Fantasy is one of those genre that just boggles my mind when it comes to the author's ability to create such rich and tangible new worlds. I am currently reading The Gathering of the Lost. Helen's writing is a joy to experience
05-22-2012 05:02 PM
FYI: The piece above is just a tiny excerpt of a really in-depth and insightful chat. Here the the conversation in its entirety: