In celebration of the David Gemmell Award long-lists being published, Gollancz is thrilled to be running a series of interviews-in-sixty-seconds with as many long-listed authors as we can get our hands on. Today we’re delighted to have a few words from Joe Abercrombie, author of the critically acclaimed First Law Trilogy, The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings, the ultimate revenge fantasy Best Served Cold and the Sunday Times bestselling war novel The Heroes, which is nominated for Best Fantasy Novel 2011. He’s currently hard at work on his next stand-alone novel, The Red Country, but took a few moments out to answer some questions . . .
Congratulations on being long-listed for the David Gemmell Awards! Can you tell us, in a few words, why any readers who are new to your work should rush out and read it?
Why, because they will be thrilled, shocked, entertained, amused, harrowed, moved, sickened, perplexed and inspired in equal measure.
Who was your first favourite author?
Probably Tolkien. How predictable.
Who would you cite as your influences?
Really anything that I’ve read and enjoyed or particularly not enjoyed in one way or another, or for that matter anything I’ve watched, played, or experienced and particularly enjoyed (or not). In fantasy, the aforementioned Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin, Michael Moorcock, George R. R. Martin, David Eddings, Weiss and Hickman, and an awful lot of roleplaying game supplements.
Do you think authors have a responsibility to do more than tell an entertaining story?
I don’t know that they have a responsibility. Certainly not a contractually enforceable one. I try to write the best possible story from my point of view, then hope that some readers will enjoy it. I’d want my books first of all to be entertaining, and if people enjoy them solely as entertainment then I’d call that a win. If they get something a little more profound out of them, better still.
Is there a storytelling tradition you see your work as part of?
I see my books as being part of the tradition of epic/heroic fantasy, and also maybe part of the tradition of taking a familiar form and giving it a tweak to produce something (at least a little bit) fresh.
If your novel were to be arrested for a crime of passion, what crime would it be and why (society may not be to blame!)?
War crimes, without a doubt.
Joe Abercrombie is a freelance film editor turned full-time author living in Bath with his family. You can learn more about him and his novels on his website, by friending him on Facebook, or by following @louapplecrumble on twitter.
You can vote for The Heroes, or any of the novels long-listed for the Legend Award for Best Novel, here . You can also vote for the iconic artwork, by Dave Senior, Didier Graffet and Laura Brett, as the Best Art of the year, here.