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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Raymond E Feist Interview

Well I did it! I asked Raymond E Feist for an interview...and he said yes! Mr Feist has written many books of fantasy which started with 'Magician'

"At Crydee, a frontier outpost in the tranquil Kingdom of the Isles, an orphan boy, Pug, is apprenticed to a master magician - and the destinies of two worlds are changed forever. Suddenly the peace of the Kingdom is destroyed as mysterious alien invaders swarm through the land. Pug is swept up into conflict but for him and his warrior friend, Tomas, an Odyssey into the unknown has only just begun. Pug's destiny is to lead him through a rift in the fabric of space and time to the mastery of the unimaginable powers of a strange new magic ..." (Magician synopsis)

Now here is the interview:

       CPB: Can you please explain your world and the premise of your novels!

The world is Midkemia, a somewhat feudal fantasy world that was created originally in the early 1970s as a gaming environment while I was at university.  I began dabbling with storytelling while there and it was a natural to use to the world created for the game for the stories; why build a second world when we had a perfectly good one we had put so many hours into building?  As a result, I like to think I write historical novels about a place that doesn't exist.

CPB: Are the names of your characters are important? And what do they mean?

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.  Names?  A person yells your name out in a crowd, you turn to answer: it works.  There is nothing in my world's culture that's involved in "secret names and getting power" sorts of things if that's what you mean.  There are cultures where that particular belief is important, but not in mine.

CPB: How do you start for the day?

Usually complaining bitterly that's it's morning again.  Then coffee, lots of coffee.  I'll drink coffee from 6 am until as late as 2 in the afternoon.  I like working first thing in the morning.  I'm pretty much over it by 1 to 3 pm.  Sometimes I'll get on a roll and plow into dinner time, but mostly I use my afternoons to watch news on TV, do a little reading, run errands, etc.

CPB:How long will it take to set up a book?

If by "set up" you mean get the notion and start writing, that goes on all the time.  I'm always chew up bits of story or character here and there.  If you mean the actual writing, that's gotten pretty efficient in the last twenty years.  I can probably write a book in thirty to forty days, but those days are spread out over six or seven months, given how much time I think about things.  I'm unusual that way, compared to the other writers I know who pound out x pages per day.  I go in bursts.

CPB:Ever dispatched someone and then regretted it?

Sent them on an errand?  Oh, you mean kill them.  Nope.  Characters are easy.  I've killed off a bunch and there are always new ones to take their place.  Keeps things interesting. Now, I've upset a few readers on more than one occasion by killing of a favorite.

CPB:What was the name of your first typewriter/computer?

Never bothered to name inanimate objects.  If you mean brand, my first novel killed two typewriters so I wrote it over three.  I destroyed a Remington-Rand portable electric I had managed to get through all of college with, then a used Royal Standard I bought for about $50 in 1977, then that died about 2/3rds of the way through Magician.  I bought another Royal electric and that died about the time I got my first computer, an Apple ][c.  My first printer cost more money than my current laptop, if you can believe it.

CPB:What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer? 
Don't take yourself seriously.  Take the craft seriously and don't condescend to  your audience.  Write the best you know how, but don't think that you're somehow curing cancer, saving wester civilization, or going to win a Nobel Prize.  Have fun, or find a different job.

CPB: What excites you about writing?

I like the surprises.  My characters are often taking off in unexpected directions that lead into unexpected sub-plots.  I attribute it to my subconscious working overtime, or my brain is haunted.

CPB:Has the dog ever eaten your manuscript?

No.  No dog.

CPB:Do you feel any of your heroes or villains could possibly exist in the real world?

Absolutely, except for the magic stuff.  Personality-wise, I try to craft characters that are easily recognizable by the modern reader.  In Magician, Tomas was captain of the football squad, and Pug was his best friend, the short kid who didn't get bullied because his best friend was the really cool kid.  Arutha was president of the student body, but he wasn't a nerd because he was also a really fine basketball player.  Carline was the queen of the prom.  Those personalities are what I think is my strongest attraction to the modern reader, characters they can relate to in a way they can't in the old style heroic milieu.

CPB:What makes you laugh?

I'm a sucker for the absurd (up to a point; loved Blackadder, hated Mr. Bean).  Good physical comedy, but not so much slapstick (loved Chaplin; hated Three Stooges).  Crazy one offs of real life, like Blake Edward's film B.S., or Robert Atlman's The Player.  I laugh a lot with my kids.

CPB:Which character was the hardest to write? Which one was the easiest? Are any of your characters based on people you know or purely imaginative?

Bits and pieces are borrowed from real life, a tone of voice, a mannerism, or a pattern of speech, but no one in my books is based on anyone in real life.  As for hard/easy, they're all the same.  Any character fills a story telling function and once you understand that role in the narrative, you just get on with writing it.

CPB:As a child, when colouring, did you colour within the lines or outside the lines?

Outside, mostly because I was afflicted with a small muscle control problem that made my hands shake a lot.  It was something the doctors said I'd outgrow, which I did, as it was a development issue, but didn't make early childhood a lot of tun at times.

CPB: Do you think that fiction brings something to peoples lives?

I try not to think much on that.  I tell stories, ripping yarns, and my sole purpose is to entertain.  When I meet a reader who claims they gained an important insight into their own life, or something I did caused them to make a meaningful change, I hasten to point out to them that this was their doing.  Maybe something I wrote acted as a bit of a catalyst, but it was a time in their life they were ready for that change or insight and if it hadn't been my work, it would have been someone else's.

Thank you very much for answering these questions for us!

You're welcome.  Hopefully I'll be Downunder again one of these days.  I love to visit Oz.

Best, R.E.F.


Never attribute to malice what can satisfactorily be explained away by stupidity.

Raymond E. Feist (full name Raymond Elias Feist), is a Southern Californian by birth and a San Diegan by choice.A New York Times, and Times of London Best-seller, he is the author of Magician, Silverthorn, and A Darkness at Sethanon, the three novels comprising The Riftwar Saga, the first series in the Arc that has become known as the Riftwar Cycle. Other works include the Empire Trilogy (co-authored with Janny Wurts), Krondor's Sons, comprising Prince of the Blood and The Kings Buccaneer, and Faerie Tale a dark-fantasy set in contemporary America. Subsequently he wrote  the Serpentwar Saga, and The Riftwar Legacy series which is based in part on the hugely successful computer games set in his universe, Betrayal at Krondor and Return to Krondor.
 Hobbies include collecting movies on DVD, fine wine, books on the history of Professional Football, and the works of American Illustrators.

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