I gave Martin a series of questions to answers on one of the characters he invented for the novel, Husan al Din, the fearsome Caliph of the Fifth Army of the Seven Sands. Below the interview is a link to my answers to Martin's interview questions.
Husan enjoys beating underlings with a belt, smoking, eating and planning his next conquest. Find out more about the rotund desert lion below!
|Husan, or someone like him...|
I wanted Husan to be a reluctant hero. He would rather be left alone to smoke and drink and live an easy, debauched life. He'll do enough to keep his army content and The Southern Sands a peaceful, uneventful place, and he'd rather not be interrupted by any life-threatening or arduous endeavours. Unfortunately for him, he is not given that choice.
He's not a bad person per se, but he would rather do nothing at all than go out of his way to do a good deed. Most of what he does he is either given no choice, or he sees some gain in it for himself.
I think humour is important in fantasy, even dark fantasy, as it balances out the inevitable scenes of death and destruction. My intention was that Husan provided a bit of that as he was forced from his hammock and made to raise an army against his will, despite his terrible constipation.
2) How much of your own personality is reflected in his character?
The desire for a quiet life and the love of boozing and smoking, not to mention his stomach troubles and persistent flatulence, all come from me – these are my best points.
3) Husan has a very blunt way of dealing with subordinates - usually with the aid of a belt. Do you envy him his ability to do this?
In a manner of speaking. That's to say that a certain amount of my own pent up rage is exorcised by Husan giving someone a good whipping with the buckle-end. Have some of that, you mangy dog!
4) Will we be seeing more of Husan in future instalments of The World Apparent Tales?
We will meet Husan again, I enjoy disturbing his much needed rest far too much to let him sit in his palace and get fatter and drunker. Like many of the characters in The Best Weapon, Husan al Din's story is not yet finished.
Not only that but I spent too much time dreaming up his people, the Sharib, and their glorious but distant past, to leave it there. Husan's true destiny awaits him, and if he knew about it, he'd be bloody annoyed.
5) How did The World Apparent develop?
The World Apparent developed during a beer-soaked ranting session with David Pilling in a pub in St James' Park in London. This culminated in his scruffy drawing of a map on the back of a beer mat with a pen borrowed from a kindly barmaid who looked at us with a mixture of pity and revulsion. I took that beer mat home and drew a neater version. I've drawn it about twenty times since then.
The main characteristic of that early scribble was The Girdle Sea, an idea of Pilling's that split the world roughly in two. We then built the world around it.
6) How do you see the series developing in general - do you think there is scope for exploring new characters and story lines in the same world?
The World Apparent is a vast world and we have only explored a small part of it so far. There are many more races and cultures to discover yet, and more diverse and varied characters than you can shake a stick at.
The Best Weapon is just the beginning of a chain of events, spanning a further two books, that will bring The World Apparent to the brink of annihilation. And that is just one of the many stories yet to be told.
We are also working on a separate story with a whole new host of heroes and villains, and some characters who don't fall into either category. There are many more World Apparent Tales to come.
7) Do you feel it is important for writers to try and progress with each book?
Personally, I would like to think each time I write a book or short story, my writing improves. Not only that but hopefully I grow and learn as a person and get to know myself better, and thereby try to become a better person.
8) What are your writing plans for the immediate future?
I am currently working on another World Apparent Tale (with Pilling), which is about half way to completion (or maybe a third) and I will be concentrating on getting that finished in 2015. Although we've written a fair chunk it, the actual title of the thing is still in the beer-soaked ranting stage. Where's that barmaid when you need her?
I also write a short story every month for The 900 Club: a group of four writers (including Pilling's dad) who each post a 900 word short story on the 900 Club blog on a monthly basis.
Those two things take up most of my time, but at some point I will write a more substantial piece of work of my own.