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Friday, April 24, 2009

Interview with Alan Campbell (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Fantasy Book Critic was given the opportunity to interview Alan Campbell via email before the release of his newest novel: God of Clocks. God of Clocks is the third book in the Deepgate Codex series and was released in the US on April 14, 2009 and in the UK on July 3, 2009. Thanks to Mihir for his interviewing skills.

Q: Who is/are your favorite character/characters from your books and why?

I suppose I like Mr Nettle, because he's such a loner, and because of his relentless determination. And because I always wondered what his first name was.

Q: What type of writer are you. An Outliner or a freewriter? And could you give us a glimpse of your writing style and schedule?

Both. I outline, and then deviate wildly from it. My schedule depends on how close the deadline is, and on my mood that day. Sometimes I'll work in manic bursts, writing thousands of words in one sitting, and other times I'll just be staring at a blank screen for ages. I wish I could write to a fixed schedule, but my brain doesn't really work like that.

Q: The world of Deepgate codex which you have created is quite a encompassing one, how did you go about creating it? What was your inspiration and what were your inventions in context to world building? What's your take on the debate of character-driven story vs fully realized world?

Page by page, which sounds inane, but it's the truth. The Deepgate world began as a simple idea which I developed in more detail as the story went on. I don't really know where the idea came from, or if anything inspired it, but certain inventions in the book were born out of necessity. For example, a city under constant threat needs an army, but how do you support an army in this unusual environment? What allowances have to be made for horses? And so on.

If there's a debate about character-driven story vs full realized world, I'm firmly on both sides of it.

Q: If not fantasy which other genre would you have chosen to write in? And do you have any plans to publish books in any other genre?

I enjoy writing fantasy, so I'm happy to stick with that. I've heard it said that genres choose authors, rather than the other way round, which sort of makes sense and yet manages to be completely ridiculous at the same time.

Q: What book/books [irrespective of genre] have you read recently or in the past that have made an impression on you?

Everything by Cormac McCarthy. His prose is beautiful. I wish he'd hurry up and write some more books. Recently I've been reading a lot of Graham Greene. I love the way he gets inside his characters' heads.

Q: Which authors that you have read & are your favorites, would you recommend to your fans esp. in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, [you can cite other genres as well]

Read M John Harrison's Viriconium novels. There's nothing else like it out there. And I thoroughly recommend Clark Ashton Smith if you like gothic horror tales.

Q: To any new reader who hasn’t read any of your books what would you say about them and your writing so as to draw them to give your books a try!

Normally I just skulk around bookshops, wearing a fake beard, and approach people saying, "Have you read this? It's brilliant." But it's becoming more difficult now because the staff are on to me.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Are there any more books set in the Deepgate universe or are you planning a foray into another world?

There are three more books planned. They're not set in Deepgate, exactly.

Q: What do you do when you are not writing or reading books, what are your other hobbies?

My hobbies include having my old Triumph motorbike repaired each year and wondering when I'll have time to go out on it again before rust renders it unusable. I also enjoy gazing at my snowboard, and wondering when I'll find a spare moment to strap it on and hurtle down the slopes.

Q: What do you want to accomplish as a writer?

I want to write the sort of stories I enjoy reading. And I'd be happy if other people enjoyed them too. I'd also like a film deal, a million pounds and a yacht, thank you very much. Who wouldn't?

Q: You have created a vast & very alienistic world[in the sense of combining fantastical & sci-fi elements] how did you go about it & how much did your background as a Videogame designer help/hinder it.

People always ask me that, and I honestly don't know if a background in videogames helps when it comes to writing a book. Both processes are creative ones, I suppose, so I can see why people make the connection.

Q: God of Clocks ends the trilogy begun with Scar night followed by Iron Angel, what can we expect from this book?

Hopefully some surprises.

Q: In Scar night you focused only on Deepgate & the world below, however in Iron Angel the reader was exposed to panorama of sights and places & was given the rundown about the world’s previous god conflict, did you always plan to so drastically change the course of the series in the 2nd book & expand the horizons in such a vast way?

In a sense, yes. Deepgate was quite claustrophobic, and I wanted to write about characters and places far beyond its borders.

Q: Where do you see yourself ten years from now? Will you ever retire from professional writing?

I've no idea, so I'm going to say I see myself sitting on a beach sipping a Margarita, which is a nice thought. I'll probably be on holiday, but what the hell. I wouldn't want to retire – writing stories is too much fun. If I did retire, I'd only spend my free time writing.

Q: What was the reason for the rebellion/fight off the gods against their mother Ayen & what is Menoa doing in hell if he was on Ayen's side & if they won the war.... and why is Ayen not doing anything uptill now.

All is explained/revealed in the third book.

Q: Both your previous titles have had last line cliffhanger situations, Should readers brace for a hatrick?

No. The last book ends the series.

Note: The interview has been conducted for Fantasy Book Critic by Mihir Wanchoo who has assisted us in several other interviews and to whom we are grateful for his help.


Fabio Fernandes said...

I just bought the entire trilogy! Robert´s reviews thrilled me all right!

Anonymous said...

There's something off about this interview and I can't put my finger on it.

I don't know if it's the author's responces or what.....

Anonymous said...

I think I can confirm that they indeed are the author's own words[typed if you prefer]

However I feel Mr. Campbell has given quite succint & funny replies to these questions as some of them are directly related to the 3rd book.

Hagelrat said...

read and reviewed Iron Angel, loved it!! can't wait for the next one.

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