Interview with Peter Newman
This week I’m interrogating five different authors. Adrian Tchaikovsky and Ilana C. Myer have already taken their turn. Next to try out the thumbscrews for size is Peter Newman, author of The Vagrant, and butler in the Hugo-nominated podcast, Tea & Jeopardy.
Hi Peter, and thanks for joining me.
1. I always like to break the ice with an easy question. So, what do little birds see when they get hit on the head?
2. What made you decide to make your main character in The Vagrant a mute, and how often in the writing process did you regret that decision?
I’d been worried that I was relying too much on dialogue in my writing and I wanted to work more on showing the story through action and atmosphere rather than having the characters tell it to us. Around that time the Vagrant appeared and it felt right to not have him speak. I just ran with it (or rather, I plodded very slowly along with it, the book was really hard to write!).
I don’t know if I ever regretted it exactly, but I did curse myself on a regular basis.
Let’s hope no one ever asks you to do an interview in character.
3. What can you tell us about book two in the series? Will the Vagrant be returning as the POV character? Will we be picking up immediately from where events in book one left off?
*SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE VAGRANT*
Book two is set several years after book one and starts with a new threat rising from the Breach. It also explores the consequences of the Vagrant's actions, and you get to learn a lot more about the Empire of the Winged Eye and how it came about. The Vagrant is in it but he isn’t the POV character (this is also true of the goat).
4. I understand that you’re writing a book for a new fantasy MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game, Albion Online. How have you found the process of writing a tie-in novel compared to writing in your own story world?
A lot of fun! It’s been quite liberating because Albion Online already had large chunks of its universe established when I came on the scene. This meant that when I was world-building a large part of it was coming up with fun ways to join the dots. It’s also nice having a team of people I could fire questions at rather than having to go and find out for myself. But the best thing was that I got to play the Alpha test in the name of research.
In terms of what it was like compared to writing in my own world, the challenges were very different. With Albion Online it was very important to me that the book captured the feel of the game, so that a player would feel familiar reading and a reader would feel at home in the game.
5. I note from your blog that you’re a gamer. What is the best fantasy role-playing game of recent years, and why is it Skyrim?
Ha! I loved Skyrim for its scale and the fun of exploring. However *dons fighting trousers* it is not the best fantasy role-playing game because it isn’t Dragon Age: Inquisition. Dragon Age: Inquisition is what Skyrim would have been if it had had proper characters and the ability to interact with them.
And on that note… *runs away*
*Splutters in indignation* *Lines up fleeing figure in cross hairs*
Thanks again for the interview! Peter?