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The following is the text of the August 6, 1998 Chat Session at
Talk City's Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Series.
CCCougar: Join us for a fascinating hour with science fantasy author Martha Wells! Her "The Death of the Necromancer" is now out: come ask her about that or any of her other works! The auditorium lights are about to go down...so grab a good seat now in #SciFiLit for TalkCity's Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Series!
TCClaudia: This is a modified protocol conference.
TCClaudia: If you wish to ask a question,
TCClaudia: type ? into the room, and we will place you on the queue.
TCClaudia: Then, wait for your personal
, and have your question
TCClaudia: ready to send to the room! Enjoy!
CCCanard: Welcome to SciFiLit's continuing celebration
CCCanard: of Science Fiction and Fantasy !!
CCCanard: TalkCity continues to bring you the best in
CCCanard: literary figures to converse with you, to
CCCanard: challenge you, to entertain you !!
CCCanard: Before I introduce our honored guest for
CCCanard: the evening, a reminder: this is a protocol
CCCanard: conference, as we want everyone to have a
CCCanard: chance to speak with our guest. So, once
CCCanard: the queue is open, please type a ? into the
CCCanard: room, and you will be added to the queue.
CCCanard: When you reach the head of the queue,
CCCanard: have your question ready, and wait for the
CCCanard: "Go Ahead" (
) before asking your question.
CCCanard: I want to take a moment to thank you all for coming. It is for you, our citizens, that we continue to bring you the authors that you love to read.
CCCanard: Our guest today is Martha Wells.
CCCanard: In her second visit to TalkCity, Martha has returned to talk about her new novel, "The Death of the Necromancer".
CCCanard: Coming from a varied background and already publised fantasy novels Element of Fire and City of Bones, Martha is CCCanard: a wonderful adventurist who's own love of the genre shines through.
CCCanard: Please join me in welcoming Martha Wells!!
CCCanard: Yeah Martha!!
CCCougar: (clap clap clap)
MarthaWells: Hello everyone
TCClaudia: WooHoo Martha!
cgolledge: hi martha
MarthaWells: Hi Carolyn
CCCanard: Thank you for joining us in TalkCity.
Orca: ~~~~~~*YAY Martha . . move over Stewart version!;-) ~~~~~~
CCCanard: We are going to start off with some general questions re
rding your background,style of writing and habits, and then we'll open up the queue!
CCCanard: What was Martha Wells like as a child? Hobbies? Interests?
MarthaWells: I still liked to write when I was a kid, I started very young.
CCCanard: How did you begin writing? Did you always intend to become an author?
MarthaWells: I certainly wanted to become a writer while I was in college. I sent off my first short story to a magazine when I was a freshman at Texas A&M.
CCCanard: GA with your question cgolledge
cgolledge: was wondering where the idea for this world came from
MarthaWells: Ill Rein first came from the Three Musketeer movies. I'd always been a big fan of those I wanted to do something set in that time period, but with magic I used the world first in a short story, which never sold, then shortly after that I started developing it into the book, that turned into Element of Fire.
cgolledge: did you have to study up much on weapons -- excellent detail re this in your books
MarthaWells: I did do a LOT of research on weapons of the time period, and I had done some fencing also.
CCCanard: GA Thunderbird4 Thunderbird4: I see your former novels are looking towards Polish and Russian editions. How does it feel to not only be published, but now, to go international?
MarthaWells: It's pretty neat, so far I've only seen the Itallian edition of Element of Fire. I'd really like to see the Russian edition of City of Bones, but it takes forever for the foreign publishers to send them.
CCCanard: What were your major influences as you began to write?
MarthaWells: History, fantasy novels I'd read before. I read a lot of Barbara Hambley, and Andre Norton when I was growing up. Jane Austin was also a large influence.
CCCanard: Have you ever thought about your work in another medium? Would your novels transfer well to the big screen?
MarthaWells: I think so, and I'd really like to see them made into films, though i know that's not too likely ...
CCCougar: anything is possible, Martha ;-)
MarthaWells: to happen, because of the special effects budget that would be required. But when I was...
cgolledge: I would love to see Ile-Rien on screen -- Musketeers and magic and romance
MarthaWells: writing City of Bones I always thought of Khat as being played by a young Harrison Ford.
cgolledge: oh yeah to Khat ford
CCCougar: ACTION puts out casting call for a Young Harrison Ford..... hehehe
CCCanard: What is your opinion of Hollywood's treatment of Science Fiction/Fantasy lately?
MarthaWells: I really loved "Fairy Tale." I haven't seen a lot of the recent summer Sf movies since I've been so busy. I liked "Contact" up until the end, when I thought they ripped us off some on the ending. It was a good SF movie up until that point.
oedillon: I agree
CCCanard: GA Thunderbird4 Thunderbird4: Not really a literary question...just wondered how Martha is holding out in the Texas heat? And has it affected your writing schedule as of late?
MarthaWells: Yes, it has. A water main burst in our front yard this afternoon, and we wished all the escaping water could have gone onto our lawn! I didn't get much done today as a result.
fantasyRITR: How much of your work do you plot before you write it?
MarthaWells: Not very much. I have a vague outline that I work from, but I mostly make it up as I go along I have to do a lot of revision because of that.
. CCCanard: GA cgolledge cgolledge: lots of ideas swimming around huh?
MarthaWells: I'm doing a three book series that will be set in Ill Rein, but set in the future of Death of the Necromancer. I don't know yet if it will have any of the characters I've used before. I'll be starting that series early next year, after I finish the book I'm currently working on. I'd like to do a sequel to "City of Bones" but right now that's trapped at my old publisher, so i don't know when I'll be able to do a sequel.
. CCCanard: How do you feel about the influence of the Internet? Positive or ne
tive comments from an authors' standpoint....Has it made research easier?
MarthaWells: It's made hearing from fans easier, i get a lot more email from people than I do snail mail letters I don't have a lot of time to do research on the web, there's a lot of sites that I'd like to look at.
CCCanard: Martha were you ready for the next question?
MarthaWells: Yes, I'm ready, fire away.
CCCanard: GA Thunderbird4 Thunderbird4: Do you find your anthropology background finding its way into your stories? Do you think it adds a uniqueness to them?
CCCougar: ACTION realizes he phrased that badly oy!
MarthaWells: It makes you think about not only what a culture looks like, but how it's put together do they have everything you need to survive. That was very important in "City of Bones"...
CCCanard: ACTION nods
MarthaWells: I don't think that book would have worked if it had been unvelievable that people could have survived in that environment.
. CCCanard: How do you feel about writing short vs long fiction?
MarthaWells: I've never done very well with short stories. I've only had two of them published It's easier for me to develop characters and get the plot working in a long format It gives me more room to move around.
CCCougar: By the way, CCCougar notes that Martha has autographed copies of her first novels available for direct sale; chance to get a collector's item at bargain prices ;-) see her website for details.
CCCanard: GA AgeOfLegends
AgeOfLegends: There are so many sci-fi /fantasy novels that i have read that I feel that they are starting to be unoriginal. How do you try to stay away from that in your books?
MarthaWells: You basically try to stay away from anything that feels cliched, and try to look at new settings and new situations. Things that I'd like to read, that I can't find.
CCCanard: GA cgolledge cgolledge: Political intrigue is great -- how to draw that in?
MarthaWells: Basic distrust of everybody :) But also i do alot of reading about people in those situations I really studied the Court at Versailles, and earlier of Louis XIII when I was researching "Element of Fire." There's more there than you can use in a lifetime of court intrigue themed books.
CCCanard: The Moon and The Sun, by Vonda McIntyre is also from this period...have you had the chance to review it?
MarthaWells: I haven't read that. I'm still trying to catch up on books I bought over Christmas. It sounds good.
CCCanard: Tell us a little bit about The Death of The Necromancer... MarthaWells: It's set in the 19th century of Ill Rein. You might say the main character is the Professor Moriarity of the world. It's sort of a pseudo-Sherlock Holmes story with magic. There's a magical serial killer involved.
CCCanard: GA Thunderbird4 Thunderbird4: Pursuant to AgeOfLegends' earlier remark, in a recent interview, you did say it appeared obvious to you those authors "in it for the money." Has too much writing been aimed at a churn-it-out-cause-the-public-will-buy-anything mentality?
MarthaWells: Oh yes! you can see that when you're seeing books that are rip-offs of rip-offs of Tolkien. A lot of writers would do better to just write the best book they could, as opposed to what they think might sell.
CCCanard: GA AgeOfLegends AgeOfLegends: Which of your books would you suggest to somebody who hasn't read any of your stuff?......:¬)
MarthaWells: None of them are sequels, so far, so you could pretty much start anywhere "Element of Fire" would be for someone who liked more fantasy/swashbuckling with swords
CCCougar: ACTION likes non-sequential tales....
MarthaWells: and a Sabatini feel. "City of Bones" is set in a desert world with a slightly more advanced culture (steam engines), with more of an archeological/mystery element to the plot. "Necromancer" is more of a detective/Holmes novel with magic, so it depends on what you like.
CCCanard: GA cgolledge cgolledge: Which scenes were most difficult to create in Necromancer?
MarthaWells: The ones where I didn't know what was going to happen :) ...
MarthaWells: Some of the most difficult ones for me always involve either killing characters I like...
MarthaWells: or describing more disturbing scenes. It's difficult just with technique to do scenes where there's a lot of description and you don't want things to be too static, but there are things the reader has to know to tell what's going on.
CCCanard: Do you have any signings or conventions that you will be attending coming up?
MarthaWells: Armadillocon in Austin the last weekend of August is the only one I have firmly lined up for now.
CCCanard: GA AgeOfLegends AgeOfLegends: Are you planning on writng any kind of trilogys or epics or anything like that?
MarthaWells: Yes, I'm doing a three-book series for Avon after I finish the current book I'm writing for them. They will be stand-alone books with an over-all story arc, because I really hate cliffhangar endings. Having said that watch me get stuck and wind up with the middle book having a cliff-hanger ending :)
CCCanard: GA Thunderbird4 Thunderbird4: ACTION is trying to reconcile the cool, collected anthropologist writer...with the MST3000 fan...okay...so your secret is out...so which would go on a desert island with you, the husband, or the MST3K tapes?
CCCanard: cruel....very cruel....
CCCanard: ACTION laughs
MarthaWells: Since my husband is typing for me right now, I prefer not to answer that question (very wise, dear)
CCCanard: Who are some of your favorite authors? or better question, what do you read for enjoyment?
MarthaWells: Barbara Hambley's historical mysteries set in New Orleans. I love Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles books. Judith Tar also, and Josephine Tey and Dorothy Sayers. I've been reading a LOT of historical mysteries lately.
cgolledge: The emotional motivation for your heroes is to me the most fascinating part of story -- how do you think that up?(Cheers to Miles!)
MarthaWells: A lot of times it comes out of the situation they are in. Khat's character was very much built by the society he had come from and was living in now and the pressure to survive. I think that most of my main characters have been basically driven by the need to survive whatever situation they're in. Nicholas was a bit different because in a way he was reverting to behavior he had as a boy when he was living in the slums and being a thief.
CCCanard: Have you ever thought about collaborating, and if so..who would you like to work with?
MarthaWells: I don't think I'd be a very good collaborator because of the way I don't plot very far in advance. I think I would drive another writer crazy. One thing I do is rely a lot on friends who are also writers reading my work, giving me feedback. I have a librarian friend who gives me very good feedback also.
CCCanard: GA cgolledge cgolledge: What percentage of time goes into research ?
MarthaWells: That's hard to say, because I don't budget my time very well for one thing, and I'm always stopping to look things up, but I think that at least 30 or 40 percent of the time.
CCCanard: Martha..this question we have asked most all of our visiting authors... what is the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy for you?
MarthaWells: Science Fiction for me deals more with technology and the consequences of it on people and society. Fantasy is more involved with conceptions of magic and the mind, and what Joseph Campbell might call the internal spiritual quest.
cgolledge: Yes to JCampbell -- great source of inspiration for writers!
CCCanard: I see our time is running out. We do have two last questions.
CCCanard: Do you have any advice for writers trying to break into the market?
CCCanard: Is there anything you'd like to say the audience before we close for tonight?
MarthaWells: For writers trying to break into the market, just try to know as much as you can about the field and about agents and publishers, and go to the SFFWA site so you can keep up on scams that are out there to get money out of aspiring writers. There are LOTS of them out there. And I'd like to thank everyone for coming and asking questions, they were quite thought provoking :)
CCCanard: Thank you so much for visiting with us today.
CCCanard: Everyone, please give a warm round of applause for
CCCanard: . CCCanard: Martha Wells!
Thunderbird4: clap clap clap clap
CCCanard: Yeah Martha!!
cgolledge: YAY MARTHA!
TCClaudia: WooHoo! *clap clap clap*
Orca: Grrrrrrrrrreat to have you here martha!!
CCCougar: ACTION gives a special round of applause to Martha's hubby for his unbilled typist appearance!
CCCougar: ACTION flashes the APPLAUSE sign
MarthaWells: Thanks :)
CCCanard: The following websites are available to read more about Martha Wells:
CCCanard: Martha Wells' homepage
CCCanard: http://www.avonbooks.com/avon/excerpt.html?book_id=36736&book_isbn= CCCanard: Excerpt from THE DEATH OF THE NECROMANCER
CCCanard: THE DEATH OF THE NECROMANCER, CITY OF BONES, AND ELEMENT
CCCanard: OF FIRE are available at Borders.com..Check them out
CCCanard: by going to http://www.talkcity.com/shops and clicking
CCCanard: the Borders.com link in the top left side.
CCCanard: This event has been brought to you by
CCCanard: Talk City, The Chat Network
CCCanard: and LiveWorld Productions, Inc.
CCCanard: Copyright 1998, All Rights Reserved.
CCCanard: If you would like to provide feedback on this chat
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CCCanard: for OnNow - Liveworld's guide to live events.
CCCanard: Please join us next week for TalkCity's Science Fiction and
Fantasy Authors Series..when our guest will be BEN BOVA
CCCougar: ACTION says it will be a science FACT week here next week in SciFiLit
CCCougar: as we discuss "Immortality"
CCCanard: That's Thursday August 13 6pm PT
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