I write dark things...
Today I’ve got author Alan Edwards under my microscope, and happily the normally shy fellow candidly responds to my grueling questions. I was lucky enough to meet Alan through twitter, where I caught his hilarious blog postings (Walking Dead recaps, anyone?) which in turn piqued my curiosity to read his first book, The Curse of Troius. But I wasn’t sure it was my sort of book — zombies in a fantasy milieu? I was skeptical at best.
It took me ten pages to be sold. Perhaps less. Afterwards I almost bought myself a shovel for future zombie-fighting adventures. Yeah, you gotta read it to understand. Have I mentioned I’m a pacifist?
Before we begin, you should know his newest book, The Storm of Northreach, releases today, and it’s amazing. It’s the second book in the Northreach Saga, so if you haven’t read The Curse of Troius, you’ll want to give that a go first.
Anyway, on to the interview! Grab a tasty beverage, this is a long one!
1) What are the underlying themes of stories you write?
That’s a really cool question. It’s self-examination time! I seem to be drawn to protagonists who are fairly grey in nature, rather than heroic, anti-heroic, or downright villainous. They seem to exist in that moral grey area for the most part. Also, I’m drawn to the idea of the Man with No Name, the Clint Eastwood archetype, and in my fantasy stuff I tend to add a dash of his High Plains Drifter aspect, where there seems something supernatural to the character that is relatively undefined. I’ve written/writing 3 novels, and in each case the “main” protagonist either never identifies his name or uses a false one. “Daevan” in the Northreach novels, for example, is referred to by name only by one character in dialogue, and different character via internal perception. He’s a Stranger, and that seems to be a theme I gravitate towards. Nobody really knows what’s going on in the mind of another, and I have fun blending perspectives and perceptions to make things a little off-kilter and ambiguous.
Very subtly. I would have them get jobs and give me most of their income so I didn’t have to work anymore. I would also lease them out to other supervillains for additional income, so I wouldn’t have to work anymore. Any leftover minions would be tasked with building me a castle. I would also use that army to coerce people to buy my books. Then, I’d invade and conquer Switzerland. The way I figure it, they stay neutral all the time, so they can’t really have that many friends.
You’re going to be richer than J.K. Rowling with this plan. Can I come and vacation in your castles in Switzerland?
6) When you rule the world, what style of dominion will you employ?
Lackadaisical Benign Neglect.
Again, the subtle approach. Nice theme you’ve got going.
7) What’s your personal peak of rabble rousing instigation? (Conversely, if you haven’t started a rabble, what’s holding you back?)
Right now I’d say it’s Steven Erikson. His Malazan series is a fantasy series, but the characters he uses are very realistic, from motivation to capabilities, and can still blend magic and realism into a very cohesive and amazing world. The depth of the world he created is rivaled only by Tolkien in my eyes, and he is also adept at blending humor and horror and drama and conflict into any story. If I could demonstrate 10% of his ability in my own writing, I’d be ecstatic.
Has anyone out there guessed that the only reason I’m doing these interviews is to update my play list and to-be-read list? No? Good.
9) If you could hang out with someone famous for a day, how would you spend the allotted time?
If I could choose a dead person, it’d be Christopher Hitchens, and I would spend that time drinking and listening to one of the most eloquent critical thinkers of my lifetime. If it had to be someone currently alive it would Penn Jillette, and I’d just listen to him say whatever came into his mind. Or Milla Jojovich, and I would spend the time staring dreamily.
Alternatively, we could go to a Puscifer concert and watch her sing with Maynard from Tool. *even cooler and hotter*
10) Tell me about the inspiration for your upcoming/current project.
Waiting for the Dead was inspired by the current Zombie Diary trend. It’s always some ex-soldier or cop or somebody who is equipped and trained to survive. Most of the time they read like gun porn. So after I found my voice on my blog – sarcastic, foul-mouthed, and infuriated by things of no consequence – I decided that I wanted to hear what some slacker with that attitude and outlook would perceive and comment about when the apocalypse comes. I also really wanted to blend humor and horror into one story. Basically, it’s the guy who reviews the Walking Dead Season 2 on my blog inserted into a classic zombie tale.
I cannot *wait* for this book. Like what I did there? No? Too bad.
11) Is there a flavor of ice cream you just don’t understand? One that, by all rights, simply should not exist?
Chocolate. Blasphemy, the world cries. Sorry. Plain chocolate ice cream is nasty. My mother used to buy Neapolitan ice cream all the time when I was a kid, and just getting a smear of chocolate mixed with the vanilla or strawberry was enough to make me weep in agony. I still can’t understand how people can eat chocolate ice cream. Mix it with coffee or caramel or, I dunno, stuff that tastes good, and it’s all right, but chocolate ice cream is the worst.
I don’t even remember the last time I had plain chocolate ice cream… I don’t know if it’s the *worst* for me too, but yeah, I’ll agree it’s boring.
12) What do you consider to be the stupidest fashion trend ever?
Wikipedia associates parachute pants with breakdancing, but not any one person, per se, FYI. You could, uh, write that into your books. Just saying.
How to keep track of Alan and his Zombies:
Blog: Me and My Shovel – aravan.wordpress.com
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