Exclusive 90 Second Interview with Joe Abercrombie

In celebration of the David Gemmell Award short-lists being published, Gollancz is thrilled to be running a series of interviews-in-ninety-seconds with as many short-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 . . .


If you could have one writerly superpower, what would it be? X-Ray vision. I could look into the heads of other writers and steal their ideas.

Do you have any writing rituals that help, when you’re putting together an epic fantasy novel? I find nothing gets me psyched up like eighteen gruelling months in a torture of procrastination and self-doubt.

You may bring one mythological creature to life – you may even keep one as a pet – which one would you choose, and why? I’ve always thought that kobolds get a bit of a raw deal. I could maybe keep a pack of them in my basement. They could bring me snacks while I work.

How much real-life research do you think it is necessary for an author do to? It is essential to pick up a sword, before you describe a fight scene? Real life experience, detailed research and painstaking analysis all have their place, of course, and can add to the verisimilitude of a published work. But this is fantasy. There’s no substitute for making shit up.

What’s your current favourite TV series, fantasy or otherwise? I’m afraid I’ll have to be predictable and say that I think Season 1 of Game of Thrones has, by and large, turned out better than I thought possible.

If you could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring fantasy author what would it be? Watch your ass, because I’m going to take you down.

You’ve been shortlisted for the David Gemmell Awards, which is wonderful. While you have the podium, is there another author out there you would suggest readers take a look at? I am a venomously ambitious sociopath without the feelings of shame, remorse, or empathy. So no.


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 also read an extract from The Heroes here.

You can vote for The Heroes, or any of the novels short-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. Voting ends 31 May, so vote now!

If you would like to attend the award ceremony, please contact the DGLA directly! All details can be found here.