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 Memory of Flame novels. The series began with The Adamantine Palace, followed by The King of the Crags and The Order of the Scales which is nominated for Best Fantasy Novel 2011 . . . and keep an eye out for the forthcoming blockbuster The Black Mausoleum. We caught up with him (twice! Keep an eye on the blog for his wise words about the brilliant Thieftaker novels), 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?
You have seen the world broken into pieces and pieced back together again by half-gods who were your equals. You are ageless. Ferocious. Relentless. You have travelled the lands of the living and the dead. You know what lurks in both and you fear nothing that you have seen.
Men. Delicious little treats, rewarding, even if they’re hard to winkle out of their holes, but long ago they learned a trick. They found a way to strip you of your glory and make you dull like a dog. They feed you and nurse you and ride you. They wear your skin for their armour and make bows from your bones. They grow rich and fat on the back of you. They make you forget and then they forget themselves, and the fear and the dread are all gone and everything is drab and meaningless.
Imagine you wake up. Imagine you remember. Imagine you understand, perfectly, who and what you are, and what they have done.
Now imagine there are thousands of you.
Who was your first favourite author?
Firstest first? Arthur Ransome for all those Swallows and Amazons stories.
Who would you cite as your influences?
Bad 1980s Hong Kong movies. Particularly any where the essence of evil is contained by the power of mighty eyebrows.
Do you think authors have a responsibility to do more than tell an entertaining story?
I think we have a responsibility to at least try. I don’t think we should be lambasted for failing though.
Is there a storytelling tradition you see your work as part of?
The idea of Elric, without actually having read any. The grit of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser and Logan Ninefingers and Conan. The loving detail of Middle Earth. Probably in that order.
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!)?
Mass Oligarchicide. And yes, society is very much to blame.
Choose fire. Choose fury. Choose dragons.
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 Order of the Scales, or any of the novels long-listed for the Legend Award for Best Novel, here. You can also vote for Dominic Harman’s wonderful artwork, as the Best Art of the year, here.