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Monday, November 26, 2012

Mini-Interview with Kevin Hearne (Interviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Author Website 
Order “TrappedHERE 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Hounded” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Hexed” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Hammered” 
Read Fantasy Book Critic’s review of “Tricked” 
Read my review of “Two Ravens and One Crow
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of "Trapped
Read previous Fantasy Book Critic Interview with Kevin Hearne 

With Kevin Hearne's fifth book TRAPPED coming out tomorrow, I thought it would be great to have him drop by and tell us about TRAPPED, the current status quo of the series and Atticus' humanity inspite of his near immortality. I hope you enjoy this small Q&A and be sure to grab a copy of TRAPPED when it releases tomorrow.

Q] Welcome back, since your last interview with us, you have had 2 new book releases and have gained further multitudes of fans. How do you feel about your journey so far? 

KH: Kind of stunned and profoundly grateful. Lucky too.

Q] In my review of Tricked, I had mentioned the following: “It’s a bridge novel that is supposed to set up the events for the next part of the saga. In that respect this book is like A Feast for Crows without the unnecessary cliffhangers and the missing cast.” Was that true, isn’t Tricked more alike to the midpoint of the series? 

KH: Well, I’d look at TRICKED and TRAPPED as opposite ends of a very long bridge. Books 1-4 take place over the span of a few months, and subsequent books will take place over the span of about a year. In between you have twelve years of relatively peaceful training—except for what happens in the novella TWO RAVENS AND ONE CROW and the short story in forthcoming CARNIEPUNK anthology. So you can look at TRAPPED as somewhat transitional too, but you’ll have a much clearer view of the road ahead once you finish it.

Q] In Tricked as well as Two Ravens and One Crow, you showed Atticus’ past wherein we got to see a very different side of him. In that regard what are your thoughts as to how Atticus manages to retain his humanity in spite of all his travails and his near-immortal status? 

KH: I would think that if we ever achieved long life we’d need to take a page from Atticus’ book—that is, ground ourselves in the present and don’t dwell in the past. Absorb contemporary language and culture and get a dog, because dogs can’t do anything but live in the present. But we’d also need to develop genuine lasting relationships with people, as Atticus repeatedly did throughout his life. He got married often. Had kids. Vampires and gods and such don’t do that, and that’s what makes them either more than human or even inhuman.

Q] You were recently mentioned in the inception of an anthology called “Carniepunk” which will be released next year. Can you expound on how this collection came together and what sparked its creation? 

KH: That was spawned on Twitter one night in a conversation with Hillary Jacques, a contributor to the anthology. We were riffing on the ubiquity of subgenres ending with the “punk” suffix—steampunk, cyberpunk, bustlepunk, and so on—and taking it to ridiculous extremes. Hillary threw out “Carniepunk!” and suddenly it wasn’t mere goofing around—I wanted to write some! We discussed it some more, invited a bunch of UF authors to write creepy paranormal stories set at a carnival, and Pocket books said yep, that sounds fun, let’s do this. The lineup of authors is outstanding and I can’t wait to see the finished product. And I love that this came about because of Twitter.

Q] You are also versatile in writing several shorts about the Iron Druid Chronicles. Could you tell us about the forthcoming shorts in Unfettered, Carniepunk & any others that you are at liberty to talk about? 

KH: The short story in UNFETTERED is called “The Chapel Perilous,” and takes you way back into the past when Atticus went by the name of Gawain in sixth century Wales—a time before it was really known as Wales. I had a blast playing around with the old Grail legends and providing him with an impetus for becoming the Iron Druid.

The story in CARNIEPUNK is called “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” and is set a couple of weeks after TWO RAVENS AND ONE CROW.

Also! I have another novella coming out next year called THE GRIMOIRE OF THE LAMB, which will be published here in the States by Del Rey and by Orbit UK across the pond. Atticus and Oberon go to Egypt in that one. Good times.

Q] In your previous interview you had mentioned that the series could be either seven or nine books. Has this situation been resolved, will we get the whole nine book saga? 

KH: The situation is in negotiation right now so I can’t answer one way or another, but hopefully I’ll get to announce what’s happening before the year’s out.

Q] In the past couple of years there have been certain tumultuous events occurring in the world of publishing. There has been the advent of Indie/self-published authors and also the rise of Amazon as a publisher. What are your thoughts on these events and what do you feel about traditional publishing and its future? 

KH: I think it’s all out of my control so I don’t worry about it. The only thing I can control is the content of my books. But I think there will always be a role for traditional publishing. It’s awfully tough to find gold in a river if you don’t have a pan, know what I mean?

Q] With respect to cover art, the first four books featured Atticus only. But with Trapped, Granuaile gets to make an appearance as well. Does this herald an increased role for her in the future books? 

KH: Yes, indeed, it does. She can be an Iron Druid too.

Q] Even though your series embraces a number of urban fantasy tropes (first person POV, tumultuous supernatural world & races), you also have made a rather strong effort to twist them and add in your own slant with a multi-cultural and multivariate mythological approach. What are your thoughts on tropes in general and how did you decide what tropes you wanted to utilize, to entice the reader? 

KH: Funny thing is I didn’t even hear about tropes until after I finished writing HOUNDED. It’s not something you teach in school and I was insulated from writing communities and book reviews while writing it. I thought in terms of archetypes, which are cousins to tropes, I suppose. The only two I consciously developed were the hero’s sidekick and the magician’s apprentice—oh, and the magical weapon, of course. Other than that I simply tried to have fun with mythology in the modern world. There was never a conscious decision to twist a trope, but I did want to update the old myths a bit.

Regarding tropes in general, I’m a bit leery of learning any more about them. The temptation would be to think of all stories in terms of formulas instead of in terms of character development. I think it could turn a writer a bit cynical and perhaps reduce you to constant second-guessing, as in “No, I can’t have an apprentice because it’s been done a million times before,” and of course, it has…but that’s because people have a deep-seated need to pass on their knowledge before they die. It’s real. Some (not all) tropes—archetypes, whatever—are necessary and exist because they reflect reality, and when we see them we shouldn’t accuse writers of being too cowardly or lazy to have their master magician impart all his lore to a random newt.

The danger of cynicism exists for readers too. If they’re looking for tropes instead of looking for a story well told, they can potentially ruin their own experience—as in, “I was hoping to read a great epic and all I got was this lousy collection of tropes.”

Q] With the recent flurry of releases in the urban fantasy genre, readers are always on the lookout for new books and authors. What would be your suggestions amongst your contemporaries and the new authors that you have taken a shine to? 

KH: At this point I don’t actually read much urban fantasy. I tend to read more sci-fi these days, and in that regard, I have a heads-up: Jason M. Hough is the next big thing. I read his debut, THE DARWIN ELEVATOR, which is due out next July, and was completely swept away. I gave him a blurb—and I don’t put my name to just anything—but it goes beyond that. I think I might be a fanboy already. I also love James S.A. Corey and Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie books.

Q] Just for fun though, If your books do get adapted for the visual medium, whom would you want to portray Atticus, could you also give us some choices for the other characters as well and who would you want involved with the adaptation? 

KH: My answer might be unsatisfying: If the series ever makes it to TV/Film (a big if, by the way, for any series), I’d like unknowns to play the major characters. They’d get to be known pretty quickly, I imagine. But it would be cool to see some known actors/actresses in the supporting roles. I’ve been thinking Karl Urban would make a great Hal Hauk, and Parminder Nagra would probably rock as Laksha Kulasekaran.

Q] What’s next for you in terms of the world of Iron Druid Chronicles & other new projects? Can you tell us anything about the book, which you are currently writing? 

KH: Right now I’m finishing up edits on HUNTED, book six, and then I have to dive into a Star Wars novel featuring Luke Skywalker. I have other projects coming after that, but I can’t really announce them yet. Suffice to say I’m a busy dude!


Terry W. Ervin II said...

I'm enjoying the Iron Druid Chronicles (both reading and listening to the audiobook versions). Made it through Hammered thus far.

Enjoyed the discussion of tropes.


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