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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dinner with Drizzt: An Interview with R.A. Salvatore

Dinner with Drizzt: An interview with R.A. Salvatore
By: David Craddock

For one as versed in the idiosyncrasies of fantasy creatures such as elves, dwarves, and orcs, it never fails to astonish many of R.A. "Bob" Salvatore's most diehard fans that the renowned author does not read much within his core genre. "I try to read the first book of a major series, but it's so hard," Salvatore explained as I sat down to dinner with Mr. Drzzt Do'Urden himself, his wife Diane, and my fiancé. "I'm writing 12 months a year at this time, and even when I say I'm not going to write, I am."

Another reason, and perhaps a far more personal one, is that Salvatore strives to be his one and only influence. "If I'm reading ... other fantasy books, they creep into my work, and I can't have that." He paused, smiled, and then added, "I'm planning on re-reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when I'm done with my current book tour." Tolkien's venerable masterpiece inspired Salvatore to write years ago. That timeless work, he reasoned, has influenced him from the beginning of his career, so he sees no reason to shy away from it.

Fair enough.

Though he's busy crafting his projects at any given date and time, Salvatore admits that at present, he does not adhere to any static schedules, though he'd like for this habit to change. "I'm not nearly as disciplined as I was because the kids aren't around anymore. My schedule used to go with the kids'. We'd [Salvatore and his wife] get them up and off to school, we'd have a cup of coffee, then I'd write until I had to go to their hockey game or whatever in the afternoon. But now, I'm finding that, for health reasons, so I don't get consumed by the business, I have to get on a schedule so the writing doesn't consume me."

Until he's gotten a fair bit of work done, Salvatore says that he "can't enjoy anything. We'll go for a walk, and I'll say, 'I should be home writing.' We go out for ice cream, and I say, 'I should be home writing.' When I'm not on a schedule, I feel guilty about it the entire day."

I smile as Diane Salvatore, waiting until her husband dips his head to take another bite of food, rolled her eyes at me and nodded agreement.

For any writer, reading is the hammer to writing's nails. "I don't set aside time to read," Salvatore said, "but I read a lot on the Internet, I read political books, magazines, but I don't read as much fiction as I used to because, again, it seeps into my writing."

Salvatore paused, sighed, and then confessed that, "as a writer, you can't be a reader without also being an editor. I can't just read something someone's given me without thinking, 'This is what I would have done instead.' It just ruins books for me. The times when I do read are times when I'm giving a quote on a book."

While Salvatore attempts to dissuade any peer influence on his work, he understands that his fans sometimes want to have their own say about their favorite characters. "With a long running series," Salvatore said, "people have their own interests in those characters, [and] they take propriety over that series. They're thinking, 'What are you doing, messing with MY friends?'"

Yes, Salvatore understands that his paychecks do, essentially, come from his readers, but he remains firm in planting a blockade between them and his creations. "The characters will follow the course I tell them to, and they will change to fit the way I'm feeling," Salvatore says. "Whether it's Drizzt, or the Highway Man... those characters are saying what I want them to, I'm in control of them. There are things I can accomplish in a Drizzt book, and there are things I can accomplish in a Demon Wars book, and I know the parameters, the boundaries, for each."

Could it be said, then, that Salvatore grasps the "Write for yourself" mantra as almost holy doctrine? "Absolutely," Salvatore said. "With Drizzt, it's been 20 years. As long as I'm having fun with the characters, and as long as people want to read it, and as long as the publisher wants me to write it, I'll keep writing it. So far, all of those criteria have been met. I do it because I love it, I love the characters. I do it because I found a voice through those characters."

20 years of incredible adventures with Drizzt, Bruenor, Catti-brie, Regis, and Wulfgar continues, most notably with the release of the first book in Salvatore's Transitions trilogy, The Orc King. With the aforementioned now available in bookstores, Salvatore stated that work on the remaining books is proceeding smoothly. "I'm blasting through the second book [The Pirate King] right now, on airplanes across the country as I travel for my current book tour [for The Orc King]. It's about a quarter of the way done already, in terms of actual word count, but I've got the book plotted from beginning to end. I expect to be turning it in around the first of the year."

"Plotted from beginning to end?" An interesting phraseology, and certainly not one to be overlooked. "When I say 'plotted out,' I mean that in general terms," Salvatore explains. "The characters are surprising me at every turn. I know the first act, the second act, and the third act; I know the beginning, the middle, and the end--but the end might change, and that's okay. Because all of that's already there, the hardest parts of the book to write are the beginning and the end when you know where you're going."

With the beginning and end of The Pirate King relatively in place, Salvatore says that he'll "be hitting autopilot very soon on this book for the middle part, because I know everything I need to accomplish. Now, when I'm done accomplishing all that, I might look at the book and say, 'Wait, it's not going in the direction I thought,' and that's okay. I just let it guide me."

With as much time as he spends in the Forgotten Realms, fans might be surprised that Salvatore has a land even dearer to his heart: Corona, the backdrop for his DemonWars books. "I was with Del Rey for the [DemonWars] seven book series," Salvatore says. "In the mid 90s, when I broke apart from TSR for awhile, Owen Lock over at Del Rey contacted me and said, 'We want you to come over here and take as much time as you need to write the best book you can write.' That was music to my ears. I got to actually sit down and take all these ideas that had been bouncing around in my head since I'd first decided that I wanted to write a fantasy book, only now, I had the skills to actually do it--I think. And that world, which is my Forgotten Realms, my Middle-earth, my Shannara--that world is Corona."

To Salvatore, his time at Del Rey seemed to end before it had really begun. "Betsy Mitchell took over. There were several publishers there, but Betsy had come from Warner, and she had published my Crimson Shadow books [over at Warner]. I thought I was done. I was planning to go back, but then tried to slow down. I had too many books to write, and I thought I wanted a break. Of course, as soon as I slowed down, I started to go faster. An opportunity came up when Bertelsmann bought Random House, and they sold off one of their warehouses to Gilbert Perlman, and I knew Gilbert very well because he'd been running the Random House Juvenile Merchandise division, the division who used to distribute TSR."

Gilbert, Salvatore elaborated, "wanted me to come over and write a book for him at this company he started, called CDS. It was a distribution company, but they wanted to do some publishing. They were really trying to change the entire structure of the way authors make money writing books. I'd seen the world change, and I thought that was an important step to try. And, I love working with Gilbert, anyway. So I went over and did The Highwayman, which was originally for CDS Books."

No winds of change blow faster than those of the business world. "CDS got bought by Perseus, Gilbert left, and everyone else I was working with, they left," Salvatore said. "So I thought, 'Well, I'm done. I'll just go do my Drizzt books,' and then Tom Doherty called me. I talked to CDS and Perseus, and they granted me back the rights to Highwayman, so I'm writing The Ancient, with the same lead character, and that will be out in March, and I'm going on from there."

Working with Tor, and more specifically, Tom Doherty, is a long-time goal which Salvatore is ecstatic to have achieved. "Tom, when he called me, he said, 'I really like your books, and I want you working for me.' I thought, 'Oh, here we go,' because everyone always says that. They never read your books, they just say they read your books. But Tom, he came up to Boston, and when he was discussing what he liked about my books, I realized that he ... got what I do."

At Tor, Doherty's word is law, and that is a rule Salvatore appreciates. "I love working with Tor because I'm working with a publisher who doesn't have to answer to bureaucracy. Tom Doherty makes a decision, and that's the decision, and I love that. He's a reasonable guy, he's sharp, and he's proven that, time and time again. Robert Jordan? Tor. Terry Goodkind? Tor. When he [Tom Doherty] talks, you listen if you're smart. It's been a pleasure working with him, and I'm so happy to be back in the world of Corona, that I created with DemonWars."

At this juncture, our party of four paused to pore over the dessert menu. While the others pontificated selections of chocolate and cheesecake, I had other concerns, which I raised immediately after our respective orders were placed. Though Corona is Salvatore's, does working with a certain publisher mandate that the world he created is only his to a degree?

"I have the space to move around," Salvatore confirmed. "They'll find a space for me to hide if I need to hide from what's going on elsewhere, but that's not even it. From the beginning of becoming a writer, I've had this vision of a fantasy world that I wanted [to create]. I did a little of it with the Crimson Shadow books that I wrote for Warner, but I had had the time to really develop the world that I wanted."

With Corona, Salvatore finally had the chance to flesh out the machinations of his imagination--but why with Tor? Why not with Del Rey, the publisher that gave Salvatore the chance to give birth to Corona and its inhabitants?

"It's nothing against Del Rey," Salvatore says. "I still have some dear friends there. Betsy [Mitchell] and I have known each other for, what, it's gotta be 18 years now? It's funny, because [my wife Diane and I] went to ComicCon last year in San Diego. We were there with Wizards [of the Coast], but when we got to my hotel room, some friends from Del Rey were there, and I ended up having dinner with the guys from Del Rey almost every night. I still love everybody there."

And, as mentioned, the opportunity to work with publishing legend Tom Doherty was too lucrative a chance to pass up. "I really wanted to work with Tom Doherty before he decides, "Enough is enough," and retires. He's one of the giants in the science fiction and fantasy fields, someone I'd never worked with. And, it [going to Tor] gave me the opportunity to work with Mary Kirchoff again. Mary's my dear friend, the one who pulled me out of the slush pile [in 1987], so what can I say? I really wanted to work with Tor, and with Tom. And he came to me. That was the biggest thing. I mean, Tom Doherty asking me to come work with him--I don't take that lightly. This guy's been around the business since the 50s, and... I'm happy with him."

Salvatore assured me that a return to Del Rey is not outside the realm of possibility. "I'm not saying I wouldn't go back to Del Rey. There was no falling out or anything like that."

After our waiter arrived and distributed our desserts--I'll admit to snitching more than a few bites of my fiance's chocolate and caramel-covered dish--Salvatore took a bite of his, chewed, swallowed, and then said, "I've been really lucky in that, in all my years of working, I've only had one situation that wasn't great in this business."

The 'situation' in question was one Salvatore had alluded to earlier in the evening: a rather ugly split that occurred between the author and publisher TSR during the mid 1990s. Trouble between the two parties had been rumbling deep in the Underdark for quite some time, but the final straw manifested itself as the death of one of Salvatore's protagonists in his dark elf books: Wulfgar.

"I'd get letters saying, 'I'm glad you killed Wulfgar. That took guts, don't you dare bring him back.' Others would say, 'Wulfgar was my favorite character, you'd better bring him back!' I was like, 'Oh boy, what'd I do here?' I was on the fence for a long time about [killing the character]. Again, while I'm writing these books, the characters surprise me, page after page. With Wulfgar, I was never quite sure whether he'd ever re-appear, or if he was dead and gone. I knew that they [TSR] were going to get someone else to write dark elf books, and I knew that if I didn't bring him back, someone else ... would. So, since I was on the fence anyway, I decided that, in the last book I wrote, I would bring Wulfgar back, and I'd give Bruenor back his eye, and I'd make everything nice and neat so no one else could come in and tamper with things."

Despite the ugly break-up, Salvatore maintains his stance that it was not his falling out with TSR that led to Wulfgar's resurrection, but his own indecision about the character's death in the first place.

"I wouldn't have done it, even if someone else would've come along and brought Wulfgar back, if I wouldn't have been so on the fence about doing it in the first place. Three years later, because there was still something nagging at me, something saying, "Maybe he's not dead," that was kind of like flipping the coin. When I wrote Passage to Dawn, I knew in my heart and soul that that would be the last book I would write for TSR. After Wizards bought TSR, I got a call saying they wanted me back--but I told them no. I said, ‘If anyone else writes those books, I won't touch the characters ever again; they're dead to me.'"

At long last, Salvatore and Wizards of the Coast reconciled, and Wulfgar's creator was able to continue his story. "I'm really glad I brought Wulfgar back. When I was writing Spine of the World, I came to appreciate making something of what Wulfgar had gone through. When I wrote that book, I sent it to my editor and I said, 'Half the people are going to love this book, and the other half are going to hate it. It is what it is, and there's nothing I can do about it.'"

Even though Wulfgar is once again a citizen of the Forgotten Realm's mortal plane, the initial death was difficult to write, as is the case for any of his characters. "They're not just words to you as a writer," Salvatore says, "just like they're not just words to readers. When I wrote Mortalis [the fourth book of DemonWars], it was during the darkest time of my life. I was watching my best friend, my brother, die of cancer while I was writing that book. I have a character in that book, who was very minor, and all the sudden it hits me about three-quarters through the book: this character has really taken over. I've given him as complete a story as I've ever written about any character in my life. I've absolutely fallen for the guy as a character, and it hurt like hell to kill him."

Difficult though it may be, the death of a character, minor or major, is something Salvatore sees as a necessity in good storytelling. "I pull a lot of fast ones to make readers think a character is dead when they're not. That's part of the drama, bringing them to the edge of destruction, of despair, but I've never miraculously reversed anything. Even with Wulfgar, I left myself an out from the beginning, because I wasn't sure. Did he die, or was he taken away? I'd already sent the precedent that certain extra planar creatures can take other creatures to their plane, just as Guenhwyvar did with Regis in The Crystal Shard."

Fear not, for Salvatore sees no reason to become bloodthirsty. "Characters have died in the books, and characters will continue to die in the books, but that doesn't mean I have to get bloodthirsty. If you read my DemonWars books ... you have to be careful if you get too attached; people are gone all the time. With the Drizzt books, I don't think the readers really want someone to die. Although, if the story in a Drizzt book dictates that somebody has to go, then somebody has to go--permanently. Nobody's off limits."

Returning Wulfgar to the land of the living is an act of fantasy that Salvatore fervently, desperately wishes could be performed on a character arguably even more popular than the storyteller's beloved barbarian. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Bob Salvatore was commissioned to write a Star Wars books in the popular New Jedi Order series. Like most honors, this one did not come without a price.

"When I signed up to do Vector Prime, I'd wanted to work with Shelley Shapiro, the editor, for a long time. She's a celebrated editor, and for good reason: she's a fantastic person, and a fantastic friend. She called me in August of '98 and asked me if I could come in and do a book for them, and they needed it done fast. I agreed to do it, but called Wizards of the Coast first and said, 'Look, they want me to do this Star Wars book, so I'm going to need an extension on the [next] Drizzt book.' Wizards agreed, saying, 'We think it'll be great for you. It's Star Wars, so have a blast.'

It was at about that point, Salvatore said, that the sky began to fall. "I signed the contract, got the advance check, put it in the bank. They'd given me what they wanted, showing me the A to Z story arc for the New Jedi Order series, and they told me, 'Take this from A to B.' I got to work putting together this story, and I had to involve a cast of millions, all the characters from the movies, everyone from the main books. I came up with the story, and I had to give them a victory, and introduce a new enemy being developed for the New Jedi Order.

"I put everything together and sent them my outline. I was on a conference call with LucasFilm and Del Rey, and they said, 'Wow, we really like this, we think you definitely get it--but didn't anybody tell you?'

"I said, 'Tell me what?'
"They said, 'Well, you have to kill Chewbacca.'
"I said, 'Whoa, where can I return the check?' They convinced me that they were doing it for the right reasons, and they convinced me that they were doing this to show the Star Wars fans that they were serious. So, I did it. I gave them a death worthy of Chewbacca, but in retrospect, if I could take anything back in my writing career, that would be it. Not because of all the death threats, but because to this day, I'm still not sure if we should have done that."

Despite having that one regret, Bob Salvatore insists on looking forward to ever-expanding horizons. Having recently branched out into the realm of video games, Salvatore happily announces that 38 Studios, founded by Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, is doing quite well.

"We're making a MMORPG [Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game]," Salvatore confides, "and we're talking about a process that's going to take us three or four years. Right now, we're really focusing on a sort of pre-production phase. I believe that when you're creating a world for people to exist in, the consistency, the logic, the "sameness"--everything has to make sense in the world."

Currently, the game is still firmly rooted in planning stages. "You have all these different races populating different cultures in the world, and their relationships have to make sense. You can't just say, 'Well, what happens if this king hates this king? Let's write a quest about that!' You want to look deeper than that so the quests will naturally evolve from the world's history. The pre-production phase of building this world is creating this rich history from what we know we have in the world. I don't know what we're going to use for middleware, if we're even going to have middleware; what we're going to use for an engine; or what we're going to do with X, Y, or Z."

Due to not having much concrete information--at least, information he's willing to divulge--Salvatore says that saying too much about the project right now "would be dumb, because you can't create buzz about something years before it shows up. Also, it wouldn't be honest, because this process is going to change so many times over the next few months. When I look back at the original work that I did for the world--and we're just a few months in now--so much of that work has become invalid, because we've gone different places."

Despite being eager for things to really get rolling, Salvatore [Executive Creator of Worlds] feels lucky to be surrounded by the talented people that was brought on board at 38 Studios including Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and video game industry leader Brett Close. "The video games are great because I get to work with these really young, brilliant designers and artists. I plant the seeds and they're the ones fertilizing them, watering them. I come in every week for meetings and these guys show me what they've been up to, and I can't help but think, 'Wow, this is just too cool.' So I'm sort of the mentor figure at this point. After creating the threads, the basis for this world, they're taking those threads and creating tapestries with theme, in terms of both design and art. It's an incredible experience."

With such a passion for gaming that dates back to the origination of TSR's Dungeons & Dragons game, Salvatore isn't surprised to see technology pushing video games as the "next big thing" in storytelling. In fact, that is a venture he fully supports.

"The potential is there for that, the way movies are storytelling. I do believe that there'll be a lot better storytelling, especially if you're doing huge, persistent worlds, like an MMORPG. I think so, absolutely. Some of the storylines in games like EverQuest II and World of WarCraft are amazing, but again, in those games--and not to disparage them in any way--but the fact that we're doing things differently, building the story before we really get going, gives us the opportunity to make those stories really fit together in a way that hasn't been done before."

Though a devout gamer, this writer has some doubts as to the far-reaching ability of the electronic game. Earlier in the evening at a book signing, an older fan fanatically waved a copy of The Highwayman through the air, stating to Salvatore that she'd read it numerous times. Easily in her late 70s, could this older woman be the sort of market that video game developers like 38 Studios are striving to reach? Could video games ever have the accessibility of, say, a book or a film?

"I predict that within ten years, more people will be playing video games than watching television. I don't see how you can't get to that point. You're seeing interactive T.V. more and more. Knowing how much fun video games are, things like Second Life where the whole gimmick is creating a world for yourself, I firmly believe that we're standing on the edge of this gigantic wave that's going to change the way people are entertained. And I think within that, there are other things as well. Educationally, societal... I think the Internet is shrinking the world, because if you're in my guild, or you're on my arena team, I won't go to war with you (except in game). I see the Internet as this transformative power. If the mainstream media is failing, the Internet will pick up the pieces. I believe in the power of gaming. 'World domination through gaming,' that's the motto for 38 Studios."

Along a similar vein of graphical storytelling via video games is Salvatore's venture to see many of his works adapted into graphic novels. "I think it's really, really cool to see my books being translated into that format, and to watch the work involved in Andrew Dabb's storyboarding, and then having some of the artists that [publisher] Devil's Due has been putting on these things.... They're taking these images and putting them on such beautiful storyboards. I think it's expanding the audience, and I think it's giving the readers something else to enjoy. I don't know what the percentages are. I'd bet that many people picking up the Drizzt graphic novels are also Drizzt [novel] readers. I'm more concerned with other creative people expanding on something I've done. That's what warms me."

With so many successful business avenues, it might seem a bit macabre to wonder what would happen to Drizzt, the world of Corona, or 38 Studios should Salvatore suddenly pass away. Unfortunately, the recent death of James "Robert Jordan" Rigney, Jr., which saw the author's Wheel of Time series go unfinished, leads one to wonder if Salvatore--or any other authors--has any plans for his creative ventures should the worst come to pass.

"I'm training my kids to take over. [laughs] No, I'm not going to do a hypothetical about me dying; I'm going to be around for a long time."

"That's right," his wife Diane says, leaning over to rub her husband's shoulders.

Not having the chance to get to know James Rigney is another of Salvatore's regrets. "I'd only met Jim once. We were on a panel together years ago, and didn't even really have the chance to say hello. But, when I read his blog post that announced his disease to his fans, I thought, 'Wow, what a set. That's intestinal fortitude.' He manned up, and I was impressed. I went over to his blog, and I posted, 'From all the people at, our well wishes. Fight this, and finish that series.' A lot of my fans are Jordan fans as well. The overlap between all of us is substantial.

"That was during June of [2006], and I didn't think anything of it. Now, I'm working for Tor, which is Jordan's home, so Tom Doherty would give me updates on how Jim was doing. All the sudden, I got an email from Jim last fall, thanking me for the blog post. We only sent a few emails back and forth, because he was spending what little time he had left at his computer, trying to finish his project. He and I had mutual friends, and they would all tell me, 'You have to get to talking with this guy, he's wonderful.'

"I always seemed to follow him on tour, or he followed me. Usually, Terry Brooks is right before me, and then when I go out, it's me, Robert Jordan, and George Martin. We bounced through the same stores. We swapped media escorts all the time, but we never got to talk to each other. It's a huge loss for the fantasy genre."

The hour had drawn close to midnight, and Bob Salvatore had another day of touring ahead of him. As we settled the bill--I can't remember the exact details, but I'm sure he insisted--and made our way out of the restaurant, I got the opportunity to hear a few last thoughts on one of Salvatore's favorite subjects: fantasy literature.

"The one thing I think people should recognize more about the fantasy genre is that, there are so many levels to it, about why people read fantasy books. Some people read fantasy for no other reason than to forget about a bad day at work. Escapism is a great tactic, if used in moderation. Someone may pick up a Drizzt book because they don't want to think about something bad going on at work. A kid might read a book because he can identify with the heroes and feel empowered by them.

"I wish people, writers in the genre, would appreciate the fact that there are many reasons people have to read a book. First and foremost, I look at my job as an entertainer. If a guy in Baghdad's reading my books to forget about what he had to do that day, that's good. If a kid's reading my books and feeling empowered by them, that's great--but the only one that can make that sort of determination is the reader."

Is it safe to say that Salvatore considers fantasy to be what many pretentious critics refer to as "real literature?" Of course. "It always has been," Salvatore says. "Genre literature is literature, and I think that that word, 'literature,' is used as a bludgeon, because people spend so much time trying to prove that they're better than other people. C.S. Lewis said that the only one who can determine the relationship between a book and a reader, is the reader. I don't know what that word 'literature' means, and I don't think the people who wield that word know either. It is what it is, we do what we do, and no one should ask us to apologize for that."

My sincerest thanks goes out to Mr. Salvatore and his wife for their generosity in agreeing to the interview (and dinner!), to David and his fiancé for taking the time to ask the author such wonderful questions (and for transcribing what must have been a lengthy discussion ;) and especially to Sara Easterly on behalf of Wizards of the Coast
for making it all happen. Readers, I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did :D


Angela/SciFiChick said...

Can you believe I've never read any Salvatore novels yet? There have been plenty I've wanted to pick up, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

Robert said...

Actually, I haven't read any of his books either ;) That's one reason why I was so excited to have David onboard. He's a fan of a lot of authors I haven't had the chance to experience yet, and I'm hoping his presence on FBC will help the website reach out to even more readers :D

Neth said...

that was a very nice interview and it sounds like it was a great dinner as well.

SQT said...

You haven't read any of his books and you got an interview! Sacrilege! Drizzt is one of the all time coolest fantasy characters ever. Ugh! I am so jealous of your interviews.

I'm going to go cry into my wine now.

Robert said...

LOL, well David's the one who did the interview, so he's the lucky one ;) I just helped out with the questions...

Donna said...

I am a first time reader, and fell in love...I'm reading The Crystal Shard, where should I have begun this adventure?

Anonymous said...

This was the best Salvatore interview I have read. I have been a fan since the first Drizzt book and I hope to someday meet him in person. It's good to know he is grounded in what he does. The passion he has for the genre and writing in genral comes through in this interview.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview, thank you! Was a pleasure to listen in on dinner with Mr. Salvatore. David I commend you, the style of the interview almost made it feel as though I was at the table next to you listening in on a great conversation. Keep up the good work, and Robert you definitely picked a winner having David contribute to FBC (from the Robert Jordan tribute to this I'm most pleasantly impressed :)

Anonymous said...

Donna - should start with Homeland. Although that trilogy was written after the Icewind Dale trilogy, it comes before and really explains his background.

I loved these books as a teenager but sort of lost interest quite a few years ago - I can't even remember what was the last one I read, I know I read about Wulfgar carking it, beyond that I'm not too sure. Might have to grab them off the shelf and give the whole series another go.

Anonymous said...

If only Salvatore could write faster ! Just finished reading Orc King and I can't wait to read the next one. What's taking you so long ? ;-)

Calvyn said...

LoL I just finished reading the Drizzt novels a second time.I love these books and i cant wait to read whats happens next.I would love to see a few more books come out with Jarlaxle and Artemis Entreri those two are the coolest charactors i have ever read.I loved the 3 books where its just about them hope to see more in future

Anonymous said...

Mr. Salvatore is by far my favorite author. I have have nothing bad to say about anything he has written, but I am curious how much he oversaw the "War of the Spider Queen" series. I didn't like seeing Phaurun go. I guess the things just happen.

Anonymous said...

i luuurv Drizz't :b R A Salvatore please continue writing more about that bunch of people with Drizz't :D

Anonymous said...

Loved the interview, and all his books. My favorites or the SellSwords novels. I love the road you took with both Artemis and Jarlaxle. I really wish to see more of them in the future even if in seperate novels. Thank you for the writing and keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Complements first to David, brilliant interview, also to Bobo and his brilliant books, always a great read, have read them over and over, would love to see more with cadderly.Also ty for all inner moments at start of book parts, helped me in junior cert, wrote about books and got an A!!=)

Anonymous said...

I'm so obsessed with salvatores work, that I finished the orc king five hours after i first picked it up! He's INCREDIBLE!

Anonymous said...

I'm a complete fan of R.A. Salvatore and I always love reading these interviews. I didn't know that Salvatore was also working on a MMORPG! I can't wait til there's more news about it and I agree with his opinion about them. I really wish I could meet him in person!

Anonymous said...

The Orc King was a great read as usual. I'm always appreciative of the books Mr. Salvatore writes. Like a kid at Christmas. I am slightly nervous though. As a Game Design student I am currently in a class about writing for games. Mr. Salvatore has great writing abilities, obviously. However, the game he previously worked on was designed rather narrowly, I'm wondering if that was his doing or that of the designer. I wish him the best of luck and am anxious to hear more about where he's taking it.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I've been reading R.A. Salvatore's books for a little over a year now. I have all the Drizzt books thru The Orc King and can't wait for the 2nd in the Transistions Series. They are all awesome. It was kinda funny I've just recently started reading books by Robert Jordan. I think the first book I read a week before he died. He was a very good writer and in my mind he will be missed.

Anonymous said...

I love all of R.A. Salvatore's books and wish for him to continue with his adventures with all of the characters he has created and brought to life. I personally want him to start writing more of Jarlaxle, the ever-surprising leader of Bregan D'aerthe. He is a very interesting character and it would be an awesome series if it also included Entreri and the effects of his trademark dagger. Stories of those two, even if they are the "bad boys" of the novel, have endless possibilities with the unpredictable Jarlaxle leading the way. Maybe take Athrogate along for the ride as well. Maybe also revealing more about Jarlaxle's connection with Zaknafein, Drizzt's father, supposedly as a friend but hints that Jarlaxle somehow betrayed him. This sounds silly even as I am typing it but if Robert Salvatore reads this please reveal your intentions, be them honorable or malicious, with this pragmatic and unpredictable elf in this site or e-mail me at Please keep up the work with the MMORPG because i am in love with world of warcraft and would love for that style of gaming, even if it is different, to become entwined with a history you have inspired.

Walter Rhein said...

Excellent interview! I'm a big fan of Salvatore's works. He's got a great knack for keeping the adventure rolling along at a crisp pace!

Also, he's got the perfect attitude about the pretentious attitude some critics have towards fantasy. I think he knows more than anyone that once you've sold a million're more of an expert than any guy who bought some piece of paper with the letters P.H.D printed on it.

oielvert said...

The first time I read one of Drizzt's books I was on a fitness program for those who can't pass the Physical Training Test in the Army. I was extremely depressed thinking I would never be able to stay in the military when I saw a copy of Homeland lying in a dusty bookshelf filled with technical manuals and romance novels. It got me through one of the toughest phases in my life. Thanks Bob!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I've read from tons of different Fantasy authors and I have to say that R.A. Salvatore is my all time favorite, not to mention the 1st Fantasy author I've ever read. His work on the Drizzt novels are the reason I read so much today, because before "The Crystal shard", I wasn't even into reading novels, Mr. Salvatore is the one who inspired me to start and give other authors a chance as well.


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