Today’s special guest on the blog is Brisbane author Will Elliott. He’s stopped by to have a quick chat – his Pendulum trilogy is a creepalicious brand of fantasy, beginning with Pilgrims and continuing with the recent release of Shadow.
Now Will, I read somewhere online that you’re not into “genre labels”…how would you then describe your book series, in your own words, to potential readers?
This is fantasy, I suppose on the darker side of fantasy. What I meant was genre labels don’t bother me. Some people get all worked up about it, which I’ve always found strange.
Shadow follows on from the first book Pilgrims: what can fans from the first book in the series expect from Shadow?
More characters introduced, some of the questions / mysteries set out in book one being revealed and new questions asked. The nature of the world and the grand conflict between dragons and gods is delved into a little more, whereas in book one it was more about the human characters.
Any authors/ fictional works that have particularly inspired the Pendulum series?
I set out trying to incorporate those fantasy and sci fi elements I’ve enjoyed in Tolkien, Gene Wolfe, Mervyn Peake and Lovecraft. Not to compare myself with these masters of course, but I meant to use little touches here and there of what I enjoyed from their works. There is also a lot of non-fiction work which was key, but this relates to mythology and the paranormal (so-called) rather than the work of particular authors.
You’ve won quite a slew of awards which has garnered you international attention. Do you feel happy with how your books have been received? What’s your stance on reading reviews/critiques of your own work?
I have no more ego in this game. I used to very much tie my identity and self-worth with how my books were received, but that is a load of nonsense. It is certainly pleasing if someone appreciates the craftsmanship, but I am entirely comfortable that not everyone will like something I’ve written. That’s fine with me.
I remember you appearing on a special episode of the ABC TV show The First Tuesday Book Club a while ago (I like to go through the website’s video archives from time to time)! I have to say, I am incredibly jealous that you were able to converse with the bright and shiny Jennifer Byrne…how was that experience?
Intimidating. Not Jennifer per se, but being on TV, which I have since come to regard as a source of much evil in the world. I would not want to go on TV again. TV is for reality control and brainwashing.
I also remember that the TV episode was something to do with vampires, and that you considered Bram Stoker’s Dracula to be an important read. Do you think there is room for people to relate to/ read Dracula in this Twilight-obsessed era?
I think we need to put fiction about vampires aside and start looking at the real ones. They do indeed exist, they just look different to what most people expect.
Name one thing people would be surprised to learn about you:
I cannot play the banjo.
What book/s are you reading right now?
“The Dulce Wars.” It’s free online as a PDF, fascinating true story.
A new year, a new beginning. Any writing/reading resolutions for 2011?
I’ll be doing a new trilogy, if there is sufficient interest. A more back to basics setting for a story which is probably as involved as Pendulum, plot-wise, with many new creatures / entities. The world itself may be a bit less dynamic to the story, just because Pendulum was a very delicate balancing act. The ideas are quite new at this stage so there’s little to reveal… I’m now working out characters, locations and so on.
And finally, the most important question of the night: what would be written on your tombstone?
“Better red than dead.”
Thanks to the fabulous HarperCollins for lending us Will. Keep an eye out for a giveaway coming up in a few days time!