Saturday, 24 September 2011

Author Interview! Andy Remic

After finishing 'Vampire Warlords', I knew the time had come to corner one Andy Remic in his lair and put him to the question... Upon arriving at Andy Remic's lair though, I found that Andy was only too happy to be put to the question and would probably have offered tea and cakes if we had been doing this in person :o) Here's what he had to say for himself...

Kell is your homage to Druss the Legend, after three books would you say that Kell has said everything about Druss that you wanted him to?

Indeed, I started off writing Kell’s Legend as a homage not just to Druss the Legend, but to David Gemmell the author, a man I very much respected and admired. I still remember finding out that David had died, and like many other fans across the globe, it was a blow to the heart. The writing of Kell’s Legend was meant as a kind of repayment. I wanted to say thank you. I wanted the spirit of Druss, and Dave, to live on a little longer. However, the more I wrote about Kell, the more he (as all characters will do) pulled away in his own discrete direction until by the end of Vampire Warlords, the third book in the Clockwork Vampire Trilogy, you are very much in no doubt that Kell is not Druss; he is his own man, his own dark soul, and a fantasy character in his own right.

I still can't believe this one... Tell everyone what you told me about where all the swearing etc in 'The Clockwork Vampire' Chronicles came from...

Heh, I couldn’t do that..... What, a double whiskey? Oh go on then.

Kell’s Legend was originally written as a “straight” fantasy, in that it didn’t use contemporary bad language. However, editorial guidance suggested I might want to make it a little more harsh and violent and exciting, which I was happy to do. So, when yon amateur critic bemoans a use of the “F” word in a novel, please be aware that sometimes there isn’t just the writer to blame; editors and publishers like their blood and gore red, and their cusses manly, you know.

Do you think that the overall affect hit the target that your editor was aiming for?

My editor (Marc Gascoigne for the first Kell book) is a very astute editor and publisher, and indeed knows the marketplace like the back of his hand. He was well aware of what writers such as Abercrombie, Morgan, and indeed George R. R. Martin were up to (seeing as I sometimes live hermetically sealed in a bubble), and he gave me a kick to up my game - into the same playing field as my contemporaries. Some people will like the books as they are, some will bemoan the language. You can’t please everyone, dear boy.

And you shouldn't have to either :o) Will we see other tales set in Kell's world that don't involve him or is this setting all about Kell?

No. This is Kell’s world, and his alone. I have another six books (two discrete trilogies) planned for Kell and Saark, but have not yet put them on paper, or indeed approached publishers. So yes, they are in my head. But no, there are no contracts in place.

Is Kell the kind of guy that you could see yourself having a few whiskies with?

Oh yes. And I have. We’ve got drunk together several times around the fire, shared tales about war wounds and evil, and discussed the pleasure in wielding a finely balanced axe. Often is the time I chat with characters in my head.

For those readers who haven't picked up the 'Clockwork Vampire Chronicles' just yet, what will these books give them that no other books can?

The actual race of the Vachine, or “Machine Vampires”, are a unique creation – as has been commented on by many critics. They are based on a clockwork technology that requires a distillation of blood (blood-oil) in which to lubricate the machine parts, thus rendering the Vachine vampiric by necessity of survival. And then we have Cankers, the twisted deviations of the Vachine. And then we have Harvesters, who drink blood and souls through their hollow bone fingers.... and amidst all this we have excessive slaughter, fast-paced action, twisting plots, black humour and banter between Kell (grumpy old man) and Saark (womanising dandy). It all makes for a pot of wholesome adventure goodness, I think ye will agree.

It worked for me! You strike me as a writer who has plenty on the go so... what else do you have on the go right now writing-wise?

I’ve just finished a very straight fast-paced thriller SF novel for Solaris Books called Theme Planet. It is, I believe, one of my finest moments. And I’ve just published SIM under my own little digital label, Anarchy Books, about a mad killer cyborg. With a pussy cat.

Talking of which, what's all this I'm hearing about Anarchy Books? What's all that about?

I'd written a couple of novels which were not of my "genre" (SFF) and, like every other author, have seen the gradual acceleration of digital publishing during the last couple of years following in the footsteps of the digital music world; and I thought, "why the hell not?" I knew some of my books were doing well digitally, and simply decided I'd give it a try as a vehicle for some of my different genre works. Then I discovered other friends/writers wanted to jump onboard as well, hence Anarchy Books! Ultimately, I suppose it's my long-term backup plan for when I've sexually offended every single publisher I've ever worked with, and they all lock me out of the Big Boys Club and in a dark dungeon filled with chains and torture devices. Kinky, these publishing types, y'know ;-).

At the back of 'Vampire Warlords', you mention that you're friends with Ian Graham, what's he up to these days? I haven't seen anything of him since he wrote 'Monument'...

Ach, Ian and I are very, very good friends. We regularly partake in what we call The Stinklings where we critique one another’s ongoing projects. Ian wrote a second novel called Blood Echo, but decided to hold it back because he wasn’t happy with it. Never have I met a man so obsessed with perfection, to his very great personal detriment. He’s so perfect he manicures his leg hairs. Anyway, he has indeed now finished a true successor to Monument (which I have read in various drafts, ha! the benefits of being friends with another author) and it is truly dazzling. I mean, really really great. It’s just going through final tweaking at Orbit, I believe.
And as for Ian’s Monument? Well, still fine and erect, I believe. *cough*. And he trains leeches with it now, y’know.

And finally, what are you reading right now and why should we avoid it at all costs? (Other interviewees get this question the other way round but I think you can handle it...)

I’m currently reading The Truth by Terry Pratchett. I am a big Pratchett fan, having worked my way through several of his early novels whilst sat in Fifth Year Geography at school [age 15], surreptitiously hiding them behind my textbooks on glaciers and deforestation. I got an E grade in Geography. And I applaud Terry for that. The Truth is a good book, scarred by the inclusion of Mr Pin and Mr Tulip, a parody on, it would seem, Jules and Vincent from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. This inclusion, this parody, is just wrong. It kicks me in the groin every time I come to another section with Tulip and Pin, and their very annoying “-ing”. However, the concept of the novel as a whole is great, and as usual, Pratchett delights in the absurd, the cleverly worded, and the intelligently baffling.

Thanks for taking time out to do this, I owe you one :o)

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