Snuff is the 39th novel in your Discworld series, which began in 1983 with The Color of Magic. How has the Discworld changed over the years?
Well, while the books still have humor, the gags are no longer set up; they are derived from characters’ personalities and situations.
The hero of Snuff is Commander Sam Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch.
It may be argued that your “Watch” novels are the most popular subset of
stories within the series. Why is that?
I think it has to do with the commonality of humankind. Yes, the world in which Sam exists is full of goblins and wizards, witches and trolls, but the world in which Sam Vimes lives is hardly fantastic. In point of fact, the overall ambience is that of the shires of Middle England. Sam Vimes is as realistic and hard-nosed as any other policeman. Being Sam Vimes, he questions his motives and procedures all the way through.
So, where did you find your inspiration for this new novel, Snuff?
I think I started out by considering the character of Sir Samuel Vimes, as he is now (after all, I’ve been writing him for quite a number of years, and he’s changed over time, as have we all), Since I find his inner monologue interesting I decided to send him on holiday – a not entirely voluntary holiday – so he could relax. Of course, I realized right away that moving Vimes out of his city element, away from his comfort zone, was going to be a sheer treat to write.
Rumor has it that you once said that you’d like to be like Sam Vines? Why?
I don’t think I actually said that, but when it comes right down to it, despite the fact that these days, people call me “Sir,” I’m still a kid from the council houses. And that allows me to create a mindset for Vimes. He sits in my head and I listen to him and simply write down what he does, says, or thinks. In some ways, even though I’m doing the thinking, the “Sam Vimes module” in my brain drives that thinking. It can be rather strange.
Are there any books of yours that you particularly enjoy?
That’s hard to answer. I really did enjoy writing Monstrous Regiment, which in a way became very close to becoming “mainstream.” And then there’s Making Money. I was very pleased when that came out just before the banking crisis and everyone said I had predicted it. It was hardly difficult, really.
Has writing the Discworld novels changed how you see the world?
Actually, getting older has had more of an effect on how I see the world. I couldn’t have written Snuff when I was twenty-five. My books today are, if not entirely serious, dealing with more serious subjects. These days it’s not just for laughs. Although there are laughs. The laughs are important.
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