Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Interview With James A. Moore

"The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and impassable, but that doesn’t stop the occasional expedition into their fringes in search of any trace of the ancients who once lived there… and oft-rumoured riches.

Captain Merros Dulver is the first in many lifetimes to find a path beyond the great mountains known as the Seven Forges and encounter, at last, the half‐forgotten race who live there. And it would appear that they were expecting him.

As he returns home, bringing an entourage of the strangers with him, he starts to wonder whether his discovery has been such a good thing. For the gods of this lost race are the gods of war, and their memories of that far-off cataclysm have not faded."

   If James A. Moore isn't the hardest working man in fiction his name would be in the upper section of the list. He's always got several novels in the works and more ready to start and at the same time he's turning out short stories, novellas, columns, essays and such. He's a busy guy. His newest book, SEVEN FORGES, is the first volume in a fantasy series, which will be out in September.
   James took time out of his insanely busy schedule to chat about SEVEN FORGES. He didn't have much choice as I know where he lives. Pay attention towards the end of the interview and you'll see just how prolific the guy is. I don't know anything about this Rutledge guy he mentions.

SP:I think many readers know you primarily as an author of horror fiction. What made you decide to write in the heroic fantasy genre?


JAM: There was really no decision to make as far as I’m concerned. I wanted to write a story that happens to fall outside of the standard horror trappings. I’ve written a little fantasy in the past and I’ve done a few pieces that were science fiction as well. Ultimately, for me, the story is important. What genre the story falls in seems more a matter of marketing than anything else. I’ve had reviewers refer to my horror tales as urban fantasy and I was fine with that, too.  I just didn’t think Seven Forges was going to work as anything but a fantasy novel. There were things I wanted to examine that would have been harder to cover, for me, in any other genre.



   SP: Would you say that your experience writing horror gives you a different approach to heroic fantasy than other writers?


JAM: Well, that one’s a bit more problematic. Yes, because I very likely look at heroic fantasy with a different set of eyes than someone who has never written horror. When it came to the critters in the books and the first encounters with some of the characters, I wanted there to be more horror. I wanted the antagonists to seem larger than life and I definitely looked toward the works I’ve written in the horror field for some of that.


   SP: What writers were your biggest influences in terms of fantasy writing?


JAM: I grew up reading heroic fantasy in one form or another. Some of that was even in the form of novels and short stories. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, all comic creators, were extremely influential, but so were Robert E. Howard, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne McCaffery, Andre Norton, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Lloyd Alexander, Karl Edward Wagner, Ursula K. LeGuin, Roger Zelazny, Gene Wolfe, Raymond E. Feist, as well as Frank Frazetta and Michael Whelan. Frazetta and Whelan might seem an odd addition to some people, but visually I don’t think anyone else caught my eye as much. And the covers those gentlemen illustrated definitely had an impact on what I bought to read. I also have to point to Tim Lebbon, whose Noreela series was really my first sampling of fantasy in well over a decade.


I’ve just recently started getting back into reading fantasy of any type after a very, very long time away and a few of the names that are at the top of the list for me these days are Joe Abercrombie, Glen Cook and David Gemmell.


   SP: In Seven Forges you do a lot of worldbuilding, showing the cultural differences between the different civilizations. Were you thinking of any real life historical cultures when creating your fictional ones?


JAM: Not consciously. Though when I discussed aspects of the plot I was surprised by the number of people who pointed to certain elements and compared them with historical cultures. The Spartans were heavily on my mind, apparently and so were the Vikings and the Aztecs, all for different reasons. Consciously? I’d point to the Japanese culture and the Chinese as well.


   SP: What's your favorite kind of pizza?


JAM: I am of a very simple mindset here. There is no such thing as bad pizza. From the odd, square cardboardy goodness of public school pizza to the very finest Chicago-Style or New York-Style pizza, there is no wrong. Well, almost no wrong. I still don’t much like Papa Johns. I just don’t like the sauce. It lacks anywhere near enough garlic for me.  That’s really a very complex question. I’m going to have to go with “everything, but maybe go light on the olives.” Oh, and anchovies are optional.


   SP: Do you have a favorite character or characters from Seven Forges?


JAM: I have a few characters that surprised me and that always makes the sort of favorites. I really, really like Wollis March, who is rather a sarcastic foot soldier. I am exceedingly fond of Swech, who is very good at combat but has an odd sort of innocence about her. I won’t call it naïveté, because she’s actually very astute, but I will admit to liking her innocence. And Drask Silver Hand, because for me he’s a perfect gauge as to how others should act in a scene.


   SP: How's work on the second volume of the Seven Forges series going?


JAM: It hasn’t really started yet, not in the purest sense. I know how it’s going to happen and I know what will occur, but I haven’t written much by way or notes or anything. It’s still all stuck in my skull and wants to come out. I’ll be starting it very soon and likely doing a few short stories to put out as samples as well.


   SP: What else are you working on now?


JAM: Heh heh heh. Okay, First I’ve just finished a first draft of a top-secret science fiction/horror work that is licensed. Mine is the second of three books that are a very, very loose series. How loose? You don’t need to read any of the others in the series to read the book, but all three are connected on multiple levels. Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon are the other authors. I’m working on a multipart novella starring Jonathan Crowley. I’m working on a Jonathan Crowley novel called Boomtown, set in the Wild West, but of course with monsters. I’m planning a few Westerns with Crowley, actually, because they’re just plain fun to write. I’m working on a straight crime novel with a gentleman named Charles R. Rutledge. You might know his works. I am working on the sequel to Seven Forges, tentatively called The Chosen. It’s mostly done in my head and I’ll be hitting the keyboards very, very soon. I’ve got plans to finish a couple of other projects within the next four months, and I’ll be working with Charles R. Rutledge on a project that should prove interesting and will have remarkably little to do with anything I’ve done before.
SP: Thanks for the interview, James.
JAM: Thanks for having me onboard!



Paul R. McNamee said...

Great interview, thanks.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Thanks, Paul. Jim interviews well.