Steven Savile - Black Library

Angron: So, let me start off by first welcoming you to Warvault, Steve.

Steven Savile: Pleasure to be here.

Angron: Good good. Hopefully the interview will be nice and pleasant, and we'll try and keep it short to night, with your revelation before of your monstrous 4am flight...

Steven Savile: Monstrous is the right word. I am terrible when it comes to booking trips. I always end up with ridiculous start times like this.

Angron: Haha, well brief it shall be. Wouldn't want to kill you now. I think our readers would like some more books!

Steven Savile: We can but hope. One or two at least. Readers that is, not books.

Angron: I think it's time for our first question...

Steven Savile: Fire away. I'll fire up the bulls**t deflectors.

Angron: Major Rawne - Steve, who do you consider to be your inspirations for your writing?

Steven Savile: Nice and easy one to start with then.

Steven Savile: Right, when I was eighteen or nineteen I was reading pretty rabidly, especially Michael Moorcock, Stephen Donaldson and David Gemmell.

Steven Savile: I've always thought that between these three you were given a very solid grounding in all that was possible with the fantastic.

Steven Savile: I'd say each of these three were positive inspirations that made me want to tell my own stories.

Steven Savile: But of course there was that one book...

Steven Savile: you know the one...

Steven Savile: where you get half way through and throw it across the room...

Steven Savile: because you know you can do better...

Steven Savile: That'd be David Eddings' second Mallorean book.

Steven Savile: so, I think that about covers the good and the bad.

Steven Savile: next?

Angron: Fair enough; anyone you're reading at the moment, and would like to recommend?

Steven Savile: At the moment I am busy discovering a guy called James Blaylock who is utterly brilliant - Lord Kelvin's Machine, Homonculous and more. Outside of the genre Douglas Coupland has a new one, Gum Thief, which is as ever brilliant.

Steven Savile: Two brilliants in one paragraph. Repetition is bad. Naughty author.

Angron: crack out that old thesaurus

TheeForsakenOne: I can see the Editors wanting to kill you already,

Steven Savile: The Editors stalk my nightmares...

TheeForsakenOne: I think they stalk all writers.

Angron: That actually leads me into a question I wanted to ask; when you write, what language are your transcripts in?

Steven Savile: Ahh, that's the whole 'the lad lives in Stockholm' thing, right? I am from the bleak wastes of Newcastle, so technically Geordie.{Schoolboy error! ~Ang}

Steven Savile: I edit out the whey ayes...

Angron: I did wonder if I was right to ask that; I tend to avoid interviewee's back stories so they can tell me when I ask relevant questions!

Steven Savile: 10 years in Sweden now. I am pretty fluent when I can be bothered to make the effort!

Angron: Fair enough. I would ask 'why the move', but I think there are people waiting in line with questions...

Angron: So, next;

Angron: Major Rawne- You have said that you always wanted to write more Vlad and Izzy. But where would you have taken them in Inheritance if you had been allowed?

Steven Savile: Not an easy question that - initially when I sat down with Lindsey Priestley we batted around a lot of ideas about possibly having Vlad and Izzy as a trilogy; there was certainly enough material.

Steven Savile: I spent a lot of time getting familiar with the story and was always fascinated about what wasn't said.

Steven Savile: With Court of the Crimson Queen I've gone a little way toward showing how a vampire with no emotion could conceivably fall for a mortal woman.

Steven Savile: I think.

Steven Savile: I hope.

Steven Savile: I understood the logic of having Vlad as a mysterious figure in the background.

Steven Savile: too much detail humanises him and demystifies.

Steven Savile: but I feel rather sorry he got shot shrift compared to Konnie and Manny. Yeah I abuse all their names now...

Angron: And you say you avoid humanising them!

Steven Savile: I can't really say exactly where the story would have gone... I know in my original notes Felix Mann had a much bigger role to play, for instance...

Steven Savile: And there was a daughter for Jerek that never made it onto the page.

Steven Savile: I liked her, but at the end of the day she rather clashed with the IP so sacrifices were made.

Steven Savile: does that answer your question at least a little?

Angron: From the response in the public channel, I'm assuming so!

Steven Savile: Ahh the secret stuff I can't see. I hope they are all abusing me mercilessly.

Angron: They're being nice, as ever.

Angron: Apart from that Rawne fellow...

Angron: (joking!)

Steven Savile: Glad to hear it. Rawne that is. The rest. Sheesh.

TheeForsakenOne: He's your biggest fan, by the way!

TheeForsakenOne: Turned up two hours early.

Steven Savile: Probably doesn't have a watch.

Angron: Major Rawne - Can you give us any more details on The Court of the Crimson Queen?

Steven Savile: Without giving anything away: it's essentially the night Izzy is sired and on through to her first real feed, and answers a lot of the nature of a vampire and the blood madness stuff. I can't go into more detail really, anything else would totally give the game away.

Steven Savile: And then the Editors would be back, stalking me with their knives.

TheeForsakenOne: They're always there. They never go away.

TheeForsakenOne: Will she be a total headcase like in Inheritance?

Steven Savile: Ahhhh... well... she'll be recognisably herself by the end of it!

TheeForsakenOne: Cool, nice to see what led her to her madness.

TheeForsakenOne: Will the painter who did her portrait be in it?

Steven Savile: my lips are vaccuum sealed.

TheeForsakenOne: Take that as a yes then.

Angron: Nagathi - Do you generally prefer the fantasy genre, the science fiction genre, or the more realistic books set in the current time and age?

Nagathi: .. and why?

Steven Savile: As a reader, I'm pretty much burned out on fantasy, and science fiction has lost its heart - it used to be about people now it's all about the gadgets.

TheeForsakenOne: I blame Asimov dying.

Steven Savile: I tend to read a lot of non-fiction now.

Steven Savile: Research stuff.

Steven Savile: As a writer, I love stretching my muscles - I am working on ... I think... four different genres right now.

Steven Savile: It's about what is interesting me at any given moment, not treading the same ground over and over.

Steven Savile: I'd love to write a Lee Child style thriller, for instance.

TheeForsakenOne: What genre do you prefer to write?

Steven Savile: I'm having a lot of fun with a dark crime noir novel I've been doing, but my heart is still very much in the fantasy realm - it's the one place I can really let the imagination go wild.

Steven Savile: It takes me back to everything I fell in love with as a reader, you know?

TheeForsakenOne: Yeah, fantasy defintely does that for me too.

Angron: Have you ever read a book and wished you had written that?

Steven Savile: I remember years ago I sat down and decided I wanted to write a crime fantasy... a whodunnit kinda thing. I still think that would be fun. Though I did like what Scott Lynch did last year with Locke Lammora.

TheeForsakenOne: Sounds interesting... might take a look at that.

Steven Savile: In film, Big Fish, by Tim Burton. That was the one I watched and thought sheesh, anything I ever do will pale next to that.

Steven Savile: In books.

Steven Savile: The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll.

Steven Savile: Gardens of the Moon - well the whole series, by Steve Erikson.

TheeForsakenOne: You ever read the Nightside novels? They're sort of Dark Fantasy/Noir.

Steven Savile: I did, and Simon Green's a tremendously nice chap. I do believe you might want to watch his website for announcements...

Steven Savile: Jim Butcher's got a great style as well.

TheeForsakenOne: Gah, now you're making me want to go to Simon Green's website... did he pay you for that advertisement?

Steven Savile: hah, nah, I was just with him at Fantasycon on Saturday... and we talked about that very series. I don't think that's giving anything away.

TheeForsakenOne: I figured another Nightside novel was coming after the last one... either that or I would have to hunt him down and make him write one :)

Steven Savile: okay, paid product placement over - next?

TheeForsakenOne: Do you have any advice for new writers?

TheeForsakenOne: Always have to ask that!/p>

Steven Savile: Lots. Not all of it what they'll want to hear.

TheeForsakenOne: You'd be surprised.

Steven Savile: For instance, common wisdom is to just get the words down and go back and fix it. I don't really agree with this, because I meet a lot of young writers who have a desperately flawed novel they don't have the tools to go back and fix.

Steven Savile: Obviously you need to read - and not fantasy if you want to be a fantasy writer.

Steven Savile: read outside the genre. read widely.

Steven Savile: Sure read fantasy, but if you only read it, anything you do will wind up being derivative of every fantasy novel you swallowed.

Steven Savile: Write.

Angron: Always helpful.

Steven Savile: Dumb as it sounds, 300 words a day will give you a finished novel in a year.

Steven Savile: Anyone can make the time to fit in 300 words.

Steven Savile: Read what you write aloud.

Steven Savile: You'll hear how the rhythms don't work.

Steven Savile: Get a good support group around you - which if possible you, make sure you are the weakest of the group!

Steven Savile: So you can learn from these other guys.

Steven Savile: I'll stop now, otherwise the rest of the hour will disappear.

Angron: perhaps you could write a self help book on it?

Ricold: On writing, do you find it easier to write in an existing world, or to be making one up?

Steven Savile: Good question - and both experiences are very different?

Steven Savile: I have a story over on Orson Scott Card's Intergalacic Medicine Show right now which is my 'own' world.

Steven Savile: My head is forever buzzing with ideas for it.

Steven Savile: and basically as god, what i say goes.

Steven Savile: but with Warhammer, or Slaine, or Dr Who, there are these set laws.

Steven Savile: I need to find reasons that fit the IPs.

Steven Savile: To make things happen.

Steven Savile: For instance, a knight of forty years is sired by a necrarch and suddenly the IP says he can't weild a sword.

Steven Savile: so I have to think for a legitimate reason why this would be - a story reason.

Steven Savile: not a game mechanics one.

Ricold: Do you find that makes it easier or harder to write in the set worlds?

Steven Savile: At times much harder. At times much easier because you know how things have to play out. Certainly playing in someone else's playground has made me a better writer.

Steven Savile: Because I have to think through more hoops.

Steven Savile: And find the right answers rather than just play god.

Steven Savile: Dodged that question, huh?

Ricold: It's not a simple question...

Ricold: What sorts of places do you get inspiration from?

Steven Savile: Everywhere to be honest. Depends upon the story I am working on. I steal mercilessly from the world around me.

Steven Savile: I tend to watch people and try and remember thinsg.

Steven Savile: For instance, years ago I was sat in a restaurant when a guy came in, sat down in front of this woman looking at photos.

Steven Savile: took the packet off her, took a photo from it, and left.

Steven Savile: I just filed it away.

Steven Savile: nearly two years later I was sat on a plane when an old woman sat beside me spent the entire flight cutting out all of the adverts from the inflight magazine.

Steven Savile: I remembered the photo man, and suddenly had the two collide and become one of my favourite short stories.

Steven Savile: (Remember Me Yesterday)

Ricold: Clever.

Steven Savile: Other times it is in magazines like Wired.

Steven Savile: Or the news.

Steven Savile: Or mis-heard conversations.

Steven Savile: I love eavesdropping and mishearing...

Steven Savile: you get some great ideas from that!

Angron: remind me to have secret spy meets as far from you as possible...

Nagathi: You said you steal from the world around you; has there ever been events in any game you've played that has had a substancial effect on something in your books?

Steven Savile: I haven't roleplayed in years - but I remember a few of the games pretty well. Nothing's really made it into the books... yet.

Steven Savile: One of these days I am sure I will 'immortalise' some of my mates characters though, as a thank you for late nights and good beer.

TheeForsakenOne: So if Vlad rolls a D20 we know who's fault it is.

Steven Savile: Haha... yeah.

Steven Savile: though it'd be 2 d10.

Steven Savile: We played rolemaster a lot more than d&d.

TheeForsakenOne: Good you don't play D20. I respect you more now.

Nagathi: Athelassan - Do you regret not being allowed to include the original last sentence of Inheritance, and the changes to subsequent books that it necessitated?

Steven Savile: The last line, for anyone who doesn't know it... was originally:

Steven Savile: "Jon Konrad Skellan. . . you can call me Konrad."

Steven Savile: Which of course makes perfect sense as a set up for Dominion.

Steven Savile: Given his penchant for burning and torture, and the fact that old Skellan was quite clearly bonkers, in the nicest possible way.

Steven Savile: It would have changed a lot in Dominion, obviously, and needed a lot of reworking on the plot as the decisions were made fairly late in the day to change things.

Steven Savile: I like the way it turned out, though.

Steven Savile: Skellan pretty much owns the trilogy.

TheeForsakenOne: All the people I've spoken to who've read it agree on that point.

Angron: Steve what are your future plans for some of your own orginal work?

Steven Savile: I've got two series in development, one, classic fantasy, based in my own world, Thera. There are a few shorts out, or coming out, including in the Solaris book of fantasy.

Steven Savile: And IMGS.

Steven Savile: With a full hardcover mosaic novel due from a small US publisher last year.

Steven Savile: The other, which I currently love, is a fantastic Victoriana steampunk stuff with a group of guys called the Greyfriars Gentlemens Club.

Steven Savile: The first, The Hollow Earth, is out from Bloodletting Books in the US next week I think...

Steven Savile: Okay, pimping over!

TheeForsakenOne: They should be paying you for all the advertising you give.

Steven Savile: They do, kinda! Pays the mortgage anyway.

Angron: Major Rawne - Steve do you have any rituals you do while you write? Like listen to certain music, walk around every hour on the hour etc.

Steven Savile: Not really - I work in a couple of coffee shops in Stockholm, where as a creature of habit I'll order a vanilla latte when I sit, then have a fresh orange or a coke about 2 hours later.

Steven Savile: Or I work in the house, where I put my headphones on and write to itunes...

Steven Savile: With about 10,000 songs on random play.

Steven Savile: I've got a 21 year old bottle of whiskey I keep promising myself I will crack open when I sign the big deal, finish the big book, or whatever... still haven't cracked it open.

Nagathi: As a fellow Stockholmer, do you prefer to write outdoors in our fine summer weather, or do you like the indoors cafés?

Steven Savile: I hide indoors, I must admit. I tend to write in Arsta, or down at Gullmarsplan, watching the bustle of life.

Steven Savile: Screen glare is a bugger for writing outside.

Angron: Squiggle - if you grew up in Newcastle, how come we dont have a Geordie Vampire?

Steven Savile: Hah - well, Kallad was almost there. Lindsey Priestley said - can you make him sound like he comes from the North, so I did. Then I got a note saying... 'Hmm... we have a slight problem... he sounds like he comes from the North.' They meant Leeds, I gave them Geordie Dwarves.

Steven Savile: Fixed it for the final book though.

Steven Savile: So most of the Geordieness slips by unnoticed.

Steven Savile: Mind, you can read entire sections in Retribution in Scottish... it sounds great with a bunch of Scottish dwarves.

TheeForsakenOne: Anything sounds good with Scottish.

TheeForsakenOne: Not being biased at all...

Angron: Squiggle - You seem to have a large number of projects on the go. How do you keep up with so many different stories and genres?

Steven Savile: It isn't as bad as it sounds...

Steven Savile: I am doing Curse of the Necrach for BL.

Steven Savile: Which is pretty much taking up day and night right now.

Steven Savile: The DAY that finishes I start writing for Primeval.

Steven Savile: With Dr Who etc they've been short projects slotted in along the way.

Steven Savile: My own stuff always takes a backseat over the work that pays the bills.

Steven Savile: But ical is my friend.

Steven Savile: It beeps to warn me of deadlines as they go wooshing by.

Steven Savile: Seriously though, I need to keep busy or I just get bored.

TheeForsakenOne: And poor.

Steven Savile: Alas I need to start thinking about wrapping it up after a couple more.

Angron: I was just looking at the time myself.

Nagathi: We've been going at it for an hour and 20 minutes already.

Nagathi: Do you feel you work best with a deadline hanging over your head, or are you at your most productive mood when you have plenty of time to think and write?

Steven Savile: These days, Nagathi, yep. Deadlines are bread and butter to a working writer. I often have enough on the go that I can see three deadlines in a single week. They make< me sit down and work instead of dragging out the xbox.

Steven Savile: I am a born procrastinator otherwise.

Steven Savile: I used to be a one book a year chap.

Steven Savile: Thanks to deadlines I turn in around half a million words every year now.

Nagathi: Sounds like any other work really. Who wouldn't want to take out the Xbox instead of working, ey?

Steven Savile: Well, my mate Robert who works for EA...

Steven Savile: his entire day is spent drawing and playing 360 games...

Angron: Squiggle - Any news on a 40k project?

Steven Savile: Hah!

Steven Savile: Someone had to ask.

Steven Savile: All I can say is . . .

Steven Savile: It is being discussed.

Steven Savile: It may or may not happen, but we're talking about it.

TheeForsakenOne: 40K Vampires Yay!

TheeForsakenOne: Sorry, couldn't help myself!

Steven Savile: I have that effect on people!

Angron: Time for the silly 'uns, I think.

Nagathi: Squiggle wants to know what you eat for breakfast.

Steven Savile: Okay, breakfast... if I have it, tends to be ham and cheese on toast, or a bagel with fresh orange.

Angron: very continental of you!

TheeForsakenOne: Do you wear a leather jacket?

Steven Savile: nope. I am completely non-gothy.

TheeForsakenOne: You've angered the older Leather wearing crowd with that statement.

TheeForsakenOne: Although I'm not one of them.

Steven Savile: I look more like a football hooligan.

Nagathi: Then I know what to look for the next time I go by Ĺrsta or Gullmarsplan :)

TheeForsakenOne: See now you have to wear a Jacket so Nagathi can't hunt you down.

Steven Savile: I used to be a long haired reprobate into heavy metal, now I am a mellow old man... or not!

Steven Savile: (got the new Foos playing in the background)

TheeForsakenOne: Sell out!

Angron: Scathing.

Steven Savile: And the last one as we hit 11...

Angron: Blondes, or brunettes?

Steven Savile: Hah...

Nagathi: Or redheads!

Steven Savile: Well... there you go, Nagathi hit it.

Angron: Always a fan favourite.

Steven Savile: Up until the age of 27 I only ever dated redheads...

Nagathi: Found any neat Swedish girls?

Steven Savile: Nagathi - married one, lived with another, plenty of neat swedish ladies out there.

Nagathi: Agreed!

Nagathi: And one question we asked our former interview vict... I mean interviewee: Which is your favourite Haribo (candy)?

Steven Savile: Okay... well, Haribo is pretty dreadful, but I guess I'd go for the gummy snakes.

TheeForsakenOne: Yay, another Haribo hater!

Steven Savile: In terms of candy - Mars Bars are my weakness.

TheeForsakenOne: They're worryingly addictive.

Steven Savile: *nods* but now runs 5k a day thanks to them.

Steven Savile: Okay folks, I really hate to interview and run... but there's 5 hrs til jetting!

Steven Savile: And I am kinda hoping to sleep for 3 of them!

TheeForsakenOne: Sleep is for the weak.

Ricold: On behalf of the staff here, I thank you for your time and patience.

Ricold: On behalf of everyone who's asked a question, I thank you for answering.

Steven Savile: No worries, Ricold, it's been fun.

TheeForsakenOne: Yes, thank you for putting up with my random thoughts and for being here.

Angron: Yeah mate, it's been ace having you here

Steven Savile: No one asked anything really bad, so I am suspecting no one was here and you guys were all pretending to come up with questions behind my back so I didn't feel like Johnny No Mates.

Ricold: It wasn't us, it was all Angron.

Steven Savile: You are all Angron, admit it!

Ricold: No, just everyone but me.

TheeForsakenOne: I'm far too intelligent for that.

TheeForsakenOne: Don't lower me to his level!

Steven Savile: heh.

Angron: Ouch!

TheeForsakenOne: We all love Angron really.

Ricold: Right, Steven, go to bed, and we'll set Angron clone #4 to reformatting this lot.

Ricold: I also want to thank everyone listening in this channel, and chatting in the other for being here this evening.

Angron: I have to do some announcing now, actually...

Angron: Our next interview will take place in roughly three week...

Angron: We'll be interviewing Nathan Long!

Angron: Keep an eye on your various websites to get the appropriate details.

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