The Knight of Ages, the Gollancz editorial process and a crazy naked holy man

For A J Dalton fans who cannot wait for Gateway of the Saviours to go on release in the UK (March 2013), Adam has this week published the novella Knight of Ages on Amazon. It tells the tale of a cursed knight and his long-suffering squire. The Knight of Ages and Jakh have fought for centuries against dark wizards, demons and the inevitable corruption of mankind. Now, as they enter a kingdom where nature itself has turned against the people, it seems all is at last lost…

We also got to catch up with Adam to ask him why he isn’t writing Tithe of the Saviours already!

Q. Is Knight of Ages related to Empire of the Saviours and that series at all?

A. Er… well… [clears throat]… no.

Q. Interesting. Why write this novella now, then?

A. Sometimes you just get a decent idea for something and it nags and niggles at you. You try to ignore it, but it won’t go away. It haunts you and preys on your mind. You just can’t concentrate on anything else until you’ve simply sat down and done the idea justice on paper. You have to exorcise it, I suppose, get it out of your system. At the same time, you get excited by fresh ideas and want to explore them further. Its a mojo thing maybe. I needed a bit of a change (which is as good as a rest) after finishing the enormous Gateway of the Saviours.

Q. Yes, Gateway is even bigger than Empire of the Saviours, isn’t it? How was it to write?

A. Yup, 185,000 words. The characters take on more of their own life with each book, and demand more space and time. They start to take over. Torpeth, the crazy naked holy man, is hard to say no to. But the book felt easy to write because the characters all but wrote it for me. Took me around six to eight months.

Q. What about editing something as big as that?

A. My editor at Gollancz is Marcus Gipps. As well as the structural and plot comments, he went through the book checking that I was conforming to editorial house-style. Like not having a comma after adverbs at the start of a sentence, but having one before adverbs at the end of the sentence, stuff like that. And making sure I spelt ‘amongst’ as ‘among’. And that I used standardised past simple endings, like ‘learned’ instead of ‘learnt’. You know, annoying stuff. He then sends the proposed changes to me and it takes me about a week to ‘accept’ and ‘reject’.

Q. Just a week for 185,000 words?

A. Yes, I tend to deliver a fairly ship-shape manuscript to Gollancz, because I have a reading group that gives me feedback on each chapter as it’s completed.

Q. You used the word ‘annoying’. Could you elaborate on that?

A. What? You want me to use stronger language? [Laughs] No, it’s annoying to me because making amends to your work is neither fun nor creative usually. I end up grinding my teeth down to the gums. I tend to write in quite antiquated language because it fits with the medieval feel of the worlds I write about, but there’s the issue of Gollancz house style and what is ‘acceptable’ as far as international English is concerned. If my stuff becomes too antiquated, then it’s incomprehensible to 99% of the world, which isn’t too good for sales.

Q. And the cover art for Gateway of the Saviours?

A. Andreas Rocha has done a good job again. He’s even done me a dragon! The final draft has been approved and should be available as a sneak preview soon.

Q. Will you be writing any more tales about the Knight of Ages?

A. More than likely. And then some wise and noble publisher will see fit to collect them all in a single volume and send me on a glamorous signing tour all round the world! [Laughs]