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 talk to Stephen Deas, author of two brilliant series, about his Thieftaker novels. The series began with The Thieftaker’s Apprentice, followed by The Warlock’s Shadow which is nominated for Best Fantasy Novel 2011, and the forthcoming The King’s Assassin. We caught up with him (twice! For his wise words about The Memory of Flame series see our earlier post here.), and took a moment to ask a few 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?
Because it’s like Assassin’s Creed II but with added sword-monks, black-magic-wielding warlocks, secret-spilling severed heads and Ezio being all irritated by an unruly wilful apprentice.
Actually, you should probably rush out and read the The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice instead, on account of it having pirates in it.
Who was your first favourite author?
Er . . . still Arthur Ransome for all those Swallows and Amazons stories.
Who would you cite as your influences?
For The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice series specifically and the part of my world in which that’s set, Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle.
Do you think authors have a responsibility to do more than tell an entertaining story?
Still yes. I think more so in the case of books aimed at a YA audience that those aimed at adults. I think there is some truth to the notion that by not trying to make the world a better place, one becomes part of a natural inertia that resists change of any sort.
Is there a storytelling tradition you see your work as part of?
The Warlock’s Shadow is slap in the middle of some very familiar troubled-youth-forced-to-face-the-choices-and-responsibilities-that-come-with-growing-up territory.
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!)?
Blagging its way into some place it wasn’t meant to be or picking up and wandering off with something pretty and shiny that doesn’t belong to it. Why? Because it’s there, that’s why.
Stephen Deas was born in 1968. He once set fire to Wales. Well one bit of Wales. Twice. When not burning principalities, he played too much D&D. Despite this he managed to study theoretical physics at Cambridge, get a job at BAE, marry and have two children. He now lives in Essex. With his novels, he has set out to return to his first love; that of setting fire to things. You can learn more about him and his novels on his website, or follow @stephendeas on twitter.
You can vote for The Warlock’s Shadow, or any of the novels long-listed for the Legend Award for Best Novel, here. You can also vote for Paul Young’s amazing artwork, as the Best Art of the year, here.