Interview with Brian D. Anderson and Steven Savile, authors of Akiri: Dragonbane
09 Aug 2017
What can you tell us about your new release, Akiri: Dragonbane?
Steven – Dragonbane is the third installment in an epic swords and sorcery series that’s very much in the vein of Conan, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane novels. The series is a throwback to the kind of fantasy we grew up loving, perhaps not as moralistically gray as a lot of today’s series, with a focus on the single point-of-view hero rather than a cast of hundreds. It’s Akiri’s most challenging adventure to date, and one that will almost certainly change his world forever…
Brian – The only thing I would add is that this series was written in a way so the reader can enjoy them in or out of sequence. Though there is a continuous thread, they are individual tales.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
Steven – Like most writers, I’ve got a list as long as my arm of small influences, and then there are a few major ones. I started out reading Hugh Cook, Michael Moorcock, David Eddings, Katherine Kerr and Peter Morwood, then there was Donaldson and Eddings, we’re talking a lot of the staples of the 1980s fantasy genre, but then there was David Gemmell, who just had a way of writing that captured my imagination completely. He was something special. I’ll never forget the impact novels like Legend and Waylander had on me as a young reader. Others came along, sure, but Gemmell was the one who had me thinking I want to do that…
Brian – I’d have to say it was my son. He came up with the original concept for my first series, The Godling Chronicles. Without his inspiration, who knows where I’d be?
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Steven – First guest, without a doubt, would be Jonathan Carroll, who is probably my all-time favourite author, and the first question? When’s the new novel coming out… beyond that I’d love to ask all about the way he sees the world and how it informs his writing. He has a collection of journal entries being published soon which are a collection of things he’s shared down the years on Medium and other venues, and they are all just so unique, touching, heartwarming and clever. I’d want to know all about the man behind them.
Brian – Sparticus. I’d ask him why in the hell did he turn around? I mean, he reached the Alps. He had escaped. WTF? I’ve always wondered about that.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Steven – I love that eureka moment, it doesn’t always come at the beginning or even in the middle of a project, but there’s always a moment where my subconscious has been thinking about the framework of the novel for months and planting seeds within the work I’ve probably not even noticed, and then, one night or one morning, suddenly, it’s all there, fully formed inside my head, and in that moment I can see it all. There’s nothing like it.
Brian – Finishing. I like typing the words “The End” more than anything. I get that feeling of afterglow like when you’ve had really great sex. It also means I get to move on to the next project.
What’s on your writing desk?
Steven – Right now, everything. To my left there’s a MacBook Air and a Thinkpad, there are about three hundred receipts, there’s my ipad, my passport (I’ve just got back from Amsterdam), two towering stacks of hardcovers including Paul Auster’s new one, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Diaries, Gaiman and Mieville. There’s the full paperback run of Chaz Brenchley’s Outremer novels, Homo Deus, Bit Rot by Douglas Coupland, issues of FEAR and EMPIRE, a few bills, dead batteries, a screwdriver… you know, the usual clutter.
Brian – A dragon lamp, an ashtray, a coffee cup, various papers and junk, and my computer screen…Oh and a brass sexton for some reason.
What makes your world go round? Why does it bring you joy?
Steven – I love music, I can’t live without it. It’s a constant companion. I love football (soccer to you) and have been a lifelong Spurs fan. And of course I love reading. But what brings me joy? Walking out in the woods with my two-year-old Irish Wheaten Terrier, Buster who just sees the world as one huge adventure every single day. I never thought of myself as a dog person. He’s sorted that out.
Brian – My son. He’s so much better a person than I am. I love watching him grow into a man, knowing that he’ll experience joys and achieve goals I never could.
What scene in Akiri: Dragonbane was your favorite to write?
Steven – Oh, there’s one that stands out, when Akiri’s in a mountain top monastery that’s been assailed by a horde of shuffling dead and he sees his best friend, the friend he was too late to save, standing at the back, watching. The fight between them was great to write, as essentially they are perfectly matched, and spent decades training together so can anticipate every move, every reaction, and at the end, there’s this moment where his friend just begs to be put out of his agony that’s a real gut wrencher… to say anything more would spoil it…
Brian – This one was Steven’s concept primarily. But I enjoyed working on the climax the most.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Steven – I’m not really a motto kind of guy, but the words Audre Est Facre adorn the crest of the football team I support, and I’ve always loved what they mean: To Dare is to Do. I think that’s a pretty good philosophy to live by.
Brian – Nothing is forever. Nothing good, and that sucks. But nothing bad either, and that rocks. No matter how dark things might seem, there is an end to all bad times.
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