Archive for October, 2009
Sherwood Smith October 28th, 2009
Question: First, how does it feel to be done?
Kit: Very very odd, and at root, anti-climactic, which is partly why I am so deeply pleased that you and my other friends are putting together this Deverry “party”. I finished the last of the page proofs and thought to myself, “Well, that’s over. No more Deverry.” And I had the neurotic feeling that no one would particularly care, either. But it was definitely time for the series to end. Because it -was- over. Even though on some theoretical level I could have
followed the stories of various characters and of the countries involved for hundreds of years, I knew that I’d reached The End.
Question: when you’ve told the story of Deverry’s evolution, you indicated that you wrote scads back in the early eighties, when you first conceived and sold the series. You said that the last scene in the last book would tie back into the first scene of DAGGERSPELL, like Celtic knotwork. Has it been difficult to make that happen?
Kit: No, oddly enough it was very much easier than I thought, though perhaps the connections aren’t obvious ones. DAGGERSPELL began with the Jill-soul being born from the Halls of Light. MAGE ends with Aderyn being reborn from that same place. The “past life section” in MAGE shows the Deverrians arriving in the world of Annwn some thousand years before DAGGERSPELL opened. The latest incarnation of the Jill-soul is Branna. Jill’s last line in DAGGERSPELL is “It would have to do for now.” Branna thinks the same thing in her last appearance in MAGE.
There is a further twist on the knotted structure in SPIRT STONE, which is Book 2 in the final four. In DAGGERSPELL, Jill and Rhodry ride into the middle of a war sparked by Aderyn’s son Loddlaen, but they have no idea of what the real causes of that war are. The past life section of SPIRIT STONE finally reveal them. That section also shows what made Alastyr, the evil magician of DARKSPELL, turn to the dark path when he was a teenager. So Book 2 of the last four books echoes Book 2 of the first four.
Question: How has the series changed over the years–I don’t mean the vexations of marketing and publishers, but your internal perception of the world and your approach to the material.
Kit: It got longer and longer. (glyph of straight face) But seriously . . . you know this story, but I will tell it again for the discussion. When I started writing Deverry, I thought it was a short story — that material is now the end of Book 6. So I realized my mistake early and decided I was writing a trilogy, which then expanded into a tetraology, which expanded into two tetralogies, ending with the death of a central character. Except of course I’d never finished
the Civil Wars sections, so that became a trilogy that also carried the main story forward. I thought GOLD FALCON would then finish off the series by being the fourth to that last trilogy.
These data about the length are important because they do show my approach to the vast heap of material changing. At first I thought I was writing some episodic series books, that the three or four books would follow a pattern: present time adventure for Jill and Rhodry, coupled with a past life adventure for Whoever, each adventure complete in itself. Then I began to see the connections between everything, and the consequences of the actions in both past and present.
Once you start seeing the consequences of your characters’ actions, you can no longer write Standard Series Episodes, or at least, I couldn’t. It was Maddyn in BRISTLING WOOD who really changed my mind. I had thought that once he joined the Silver Daggers, that episode would be over, because it was “really” about how the Silver Daggers began. Then I realized that his deep connection to Nevyn had made that impossible. As soon as Nevyn decided “I’m doing something to stop the wars”, my fate was sealed. Besides, although I was sure that Maddyn was an earlier incarnation of Rhodry Maelwaedd, they were so different that I knew there were some stories about how living the lives in between had turned one into the other — that was the genesis of A TIME OF EXILE.
Overall, too, as my perception of the stories changed, my view of what Deverry was got deeper. It couldn’t stay as just a “Celtic fantasy background” because the places themselves became “characters” of a sort. The cities, particularly Dun Deverry and Aberwyn, grow and change and at times shrink during the series. So, starting with BRISTLING WOOD again, I began to give much more space to descriptions of the terrain and to the history of places — maybe just a few lines here and there, but each one of those capsules did add something to the sense of history and of place. I did more and more research into the so-called Dark Ages and their transitions into more stable forms of government as well as more research into Gaulish culture in order to add solid touches to the changes within Deverry.
My view of the Westfolk and elven culture also changed, from the Tolkienesque “noble and magical” to something a fair bit more realistic, as the readers will see in SILVER MAGE. Sam Gamgee’s style of wide-eyed sense of wonder at the elves has morphed into the far more realistic envy and bitterness that, I believe, real humans would feel faced with an impossibly beautiful and long-lived race.
NOTE: for more links, check the sidebar to the right!
Constance October 28th, 2009
Contests’ Dates and Prizes:
LiveJournal Contest: October 29 – November 3 (Winner will be announced November 7th).
DeepGenre Contest: November 5-10 (Winner will be announced November 11th).
The Samaen “contest”: a one-day contest which works in a slightly different fashion; the rules for it will be posted at deverry15 as part of the contest announcement there on Friday evening (US time zones).
Prizes for both the LiveJournal and DeepGenre contests are:
The Winners receive an autographed hardback DAW edition of a Deverry novel; the Runners-up receive an autographed mass market paperback of a Deverry novel. The lucky name drawn for the Saamaen contest receives an autographed Deverry book plate.
Anyone, anywhere in the world, can enter. Note the dates! Entries that are submitted outside these dates will not be reviewed.
Short essay (50 words or less)
1) Email your submissions for BOTH CONTESTS to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header Contest. Only one entry per person – duplicate entries will be disqualified.
2) In the body of the email, put your full mailing address (snail mail). Without that, we can’t consider your entry.
3) Write a short essay (50 words or less) in which you talk about your favorite Deverry character. The essay should also be in the body of your email, not an attachment.
Your essay can be funny, serious, satirical, angry, or entirely straightforward (for those of you whose brains, like mine, work best with something like “I like Joe because he is honorable and noble and he always asks for rice at every meal, which I found funny.”). It’s all good. There is no hidden agenda.
4) The Deverry Contest Committee will review entries and select winners. The winner and runner-up will be notified by email, and can select the title they would like to have autographed.
**** If you missed it, the 15 Days of Deverry Party information is here. ****
Constance October 28th, 2009
The Silver Mage
by renowned Fantasy writer Katharine Kerr publishes on October 29th in the U.K. (HarperVoyager) and November 3rd in the U..S. (DAW).
Heralds 15 Days of Deverry
The Silver Mage is the final volume in this fantastic Celtic inspired cycle of interbraided lives, personalities and events in the alternate world of Deverry, through eras and generations of Deverry’s historical and chronological time!
15 Days of Deverry is an online celebration of the successful conclusion of Katharine Kerr’s vision for this Celtic knot of inter-braided novels. The 15 Days stands for the 15 titles that constitute the cycle’s sequence.***
A community at livejournal, deverry15 , has been set up as a clearinghouse where links will be noted. If you post any Deverry related material on your blog, anywhere (not just livejournal), please send the link to: email@example.com. She’ll be collating the links.
For further information, join the deverry15 community at livejournal or stay here on the DeepGenre 15 Days of Deverry. Ask questions, join the discussion, and make additional suggestions at both sites.
15 Days of Deverry Party Favors: Katharine Kerr will provide autographed copies of her books and a signed bookplate designed by Party Committee member, Mary Frey, as prizes in 3 different contests! (Contests’ Details and Rules follow in a separate entry.)
There is yet more! A three-way interview-discussion here on the DeepGenre site, conducted among Katharine Kerr, Kate Elliott and Sherwood Smith on what it is like to have spent a long period of one’s professional career writing in a world one has created, the roman fleuve and how a writer brings such large and long projects to a successful conclusion.
We encourage you to post about your experience reading these books in addition to your your congratulations to the author and her grand vision. You can create entries about how and when you first read one of the books, what attracted you to the series, which of the Deverry heroes ranks #1 in the Hotness Factor, the overarching themes and structure of the series — or anything else about the Deverry world and books that has affected you. We hope you all will share your own unique views of Katharine Kerr’s achievement.
We’re very excited by the successful completion of this Grand Fantasy Vision, so we’re throwing this Big Party to celebrate! All of you are special guests. Please come! Post often! Bring your friends, your dog, your cat and your dragon too!
Please check out Book View Cafe, for short fiction by Katherine Kerr and many other fine authors!
. . . The 15 Days of Deverry Party Committee:
Constance Ash, Mary Frey, Darcy Javanne Kramer, Kate Elliott, Sherwood Smith and Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein