Trudi Canavan, best selling author of The Black Magician trilogy and numerous other books, is back to answer some more questions. If you missed part one of this interview, go back and read it before reading part two. Sequential interviews usually work best if read in order (nag, nag). And now, on with the interview…
What is it that attracts you to the fantasy genre as a writer? And are you a reader of that genre as well?
I have tended to read mainly fantasy, even before I wanted to be a writer. I’ve always loved the way fantasy constantly imagines new ways to explore the impossible. Every now and then I’ll read outside the genre, but I’m always amazed at how often fantasy elements turn up in, say, contemporary novels. Reading minds and seeing ghosts? Fantasy. I guess my definition of fantasy is quite broad.
Have you tried out any other genres as a writer, or do you have any plans to do so?
I’ve tried writing short stories in other genres, though none that I thought were any good! The most successful have been urban fantasy – and by that I mean the old definition of fantasy set in a modern day urban environment, not paranormal romance – and fantasy romance knit lit. (Yes, you heard that right: romantic fiction with fantasy elements and knitting. Lots of fun to write!)
As well as being an author, you are also an artist. Is your writing influenced by your art, and would you ever want to illustrate the cover of one of your own books?
At the most basic level, I find I write better if I also have an outlet for my artistic side. When I worked as an illustrator I used to provide illustrations for science fiction and fantasy magazines. I also painted covers for the first two books of The Black Magician Trilogy, only to discover that publishing companies have a general rule against using artwork by the author, author’s relatives, friends, associates, etc. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but they are rare.
I have managed to get artwork into some of my books, however. In the Age of the Five trilogy the maps contain character drawings.
On your website you mention that you have an idea for a young adult novel. One of the things that struck me about The Magicians’ Guild was that in many ways it reads as YA — young heroin, understated romance that’s not pursued, no sex or graphic violence, etc. If not YA, it is certainly YA-friendly — but it is marketed as general fantasy. Was making it YA friendly a conscious choice on your part? And has this lead to a teenage readership? And how has this affected future books?
I never aimed the Black Magician Trilogy at the young adult market, but I know I was thinking of how my teenage self would enjoy it as I was writing it. I didn’t write the sole sex scene in it in detail only because I wasn’t sure I could write a sex scene well! It was a pleasant surprise when my UK publisher released a young reader version of the books and they sold so well.
At that stage I started to see myself being referred to as a young adult writer and that bothered me for two reasons. I didn’t want adults avoiding my books because they were only ‘for children’, and I didn’t want my image as a writer to be restricted. So when I wrote the Age of the Five I aimed for an older audience by having a main character who was in her mid twenties, and attempting a few sex scenes. Even so, a lot of teens read them and the sex isn’t explicit so parents don’t seem to mind.
And finally, can you tell us what the future holds for Trudi Canavan? What’s next after The Traitor Spy trilogy?
I’ve just recently sold my next series, so I can tell you a little about it! Once again I’m moving away from the Black Magician Trilogy world and into a new universe. Maker’s Magic, the first book in the Millenium’s Rule series, will be set in many different worlds. In one, a society experiencing its own industrial revolution, a student of archaeology discovers a magical, sentient book holding vital clues to an impending disaster. In the other, a world stuck in a dark ages after a terrible battle depleted all magic, the daughter of cloth sellers hides forbidden powers.
The Age of the Five Trilogy
The Traitor Spy Trilogy
- The Ambassador’s Mission
- The Rogue – due for release 5th May 2011
- The Traitor Queen – due for release 2012
Tune in next time for a look inside a dog.
Catch ya later, George
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