Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Moment with Mark Lawrence

What was the inspiration for the Broken Empire series?

There wasn’t any obvious (to me) inspiration for the story or the setting. The main character, Jorg Ancrath, was directly inspired by Alex DeLarge from Anthony Burgess’s 1962 book, A Clockwork Orange. Inspiration is a strange and nebulous thing though. We’re all products of our environment and I have been reading fantasy for a very long time.

You write, in my opinion, some of the best characters that you hate to actually like, great anti heroes. Are you just exploring a different side of the hero character, or is it a necessary extension of the world you are creating?

I don’t create worlds and then populate them with characters. I think about a character and then follow them. So no, not necessary extensions. And although my books do turn out to explore themes in what has sometimes been called a literary manner, I don’t set out to do that either. So I wouldn’t ascribe any great meaning to the character choice other than I write the books I would like to read. So I need characters that interest me. My characters aren’t vehicles for plot delivery, they have to generate the story from within, and to do that you need someone interesting and conflicted.

With shelfinflicted.com being a review site, what are you currently reading? What would you recommend?

Right this minute I am reading a self-published book with two ratings and one review on Goodreads. It’s by T.O Munro and is called The Medusa’s Daughter. I’ve only just started but it’s good so far.

My best read of last year was another self-published title that emerged from the contest I‘ve held the last two years (Google SPFBO if you’re interested). The book is Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, a really great read.

More generally I find my tastes align with many popular choices. I love George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, I am keen for Pat Rothfuss to bring his third book out, Robin Hobb’s work is genius…

Are you a gamer? Physical or video) If so, what are you into right now?

I would certainly count myself as a video gamer, having played with dedication since the things first appeared in the 70s. The truth is though that since my writing took off I really haven’t found the time for it. I bought a PS4 and played one game on it: GTA5. The last games I really got into were some years back. I got pretty good at multiplayer Call of Duty and the RTS game Command and Conquer 3.

When I had a day job I would happily play video games when “off duty”. Now I write full time I find it hard to consider any hour “off duty”.

finally, what would you want to say to anyone who wants to have a career as a writer?

To my way of thinking wanting a career as a writer is a rather upside-down way of approaching it. It’s bit like saying “I want to be an author.” A better approach, one more likely to have a happy outcome, is to say “I want to write.” Nobody can stop you doing that and it shows that it is the writing that will make you happy and scratch that itch. From some people I get the impression that it’s the being an author they’re really after, for some imagined kudos, social approval, popularity, or wealth. And the writing is a necessary chore that will get them there. That’s unlikely to work out well.

Write because you enjoy it as an end in itself (like playing video games). If you luck out and a career comes along, then that’s a bonus!   

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