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Interview with Django Wexler

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To mark the launch of my debut, When the Heavens Fall, I’m asking five different questions to each of five different authors this week. Mark Lawrence, Brian Staveley, Luke Scull and Brad Beaulieu have all taken their turn. Last, but by no means least, to shift nervously in his seat is Django Wexler, cat lover and author of The Shadow Campaigns and The Forbidden Library.

Hi Django, and thanks for joining me.

1. Let’s start with an easy question. What are your views on Michio Kaku’s account of the structure of the universe from a superstring perspective?

I’ve been disappointed by the lack of experimental verification from the LHC, whose recent experiments have excluded the possibility of s-quarks at energies less than 1.1 TeV.  The requirements for six non-spatial or compacted dimensions also seems inelegant, although recent work on the mathematical properties of the Calabi-Yau manifold is fascinating.  (h/t Dr. Wik I. Pedia)

Ah, Dr. Pedia, that fount of all knowledge. I know him well.

2. I understand that you read a lot of history. Aside from the fact that writing fantasy books doesn’t require much research, why did you choose to write fantasy over, say, historical fiction?

I love history, I love reading the stories and the great little details you can find.  The advantage of fantasy as compared to historical fiction is that you can *use* history, as a guide and a source of ideas, but you’re not *bound* by it.  You can grab some elements from one place and some from another to make the story work.  I think the strength of fantasy, as fiction, is its ability to create a world that supports and highlights the type of story the author wants to tell.

3. The Shadow Campaigns takes place in a time akin to the Napoleonic era. If you were starting a new series tomorrow, which other period of history would you set it in?

That’s easy.  I have a story in the anthology Operation Arcana which is set in a kind of alternate World War I, with huge land-battleships fighting giant clockwork spiders.  I’ve got a novel (or series of novels) for that universe which I really hope to get around to someday.  There’s a lot of cool history there.

4. Your middle-grade book The Mad Apprentice came out in April. Which do you enjoy writing more, middle-grade books or adult books? And if you say ‘both the same’, then somewhere a kitten will explode.

I wouldn’t want any exploding kittens on my conscience, but it DOES vary.  Typically I “enjoy” whichever one I’m NOT currently working on, since the grass is always greener and so on.  When I’m writing MG, I keep getting ideas for my adult books, and cool world design or political stuff that really wouldn’t fit.  When I’m writing the adult stuff, usually by the end of the book I’m eager to tangle a shorter, more bite-sized project, plus I keep inventing new weird creatures!

5. I understand that writing for 8-12 years olds can be more lucrative than writing for adults. What first attracted you to the idea of writing shorter books for more money?

Ironically, that wasn’t really my motivation, although it has definitely been true.  I’d finished The Thousand Names, which is about 200,000 words long, and I needed another project while we waited for edits to come back.  I had an idea for another series, but I aimed at a shorter length per book, since I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to do two 200,000 word books per year.  That kind of turned out to be a kids book, but I really didn’t know what I was doing; my editor helped me a lot with getting the feel right!

I feel a middle-grade book coming on myself.

Thank you again for your time!



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