The OF Blog: February 2003

Monday, February 24, 2003

Ian Irvine Interview

Dodge Message

Dear readers:

Ian Irvine has long been one of my favourite authors and his ‘View From The Mirror’ quartet has been the only series that I have ever pimped at Other Fantasy. Although some readers fund the first book hard to read and/or ‘get into’ the third book Dark Is The Moon and the fourth The Way Between The Worlds are two of my favourite books ever written, ranking up with both Robert Jordan and Steven Erikson at their best. Especially in the last two books, the action is fast and furious, the evil and brutality of a few of the characters is immense, and the twists in the plot developments are quite frankly shocking. The Way Between The Worlds has been the only book that I have ever actually felt like crying at the conclusion. For those who love an ‘action’ based book set in a fantasy world, I HIGHLY recommend this series… I’ll be doing a review of it for the new Book Of The Week thing in the future.
The questions below are all mainly focused on writing, with only a few ‘on topic’ questions at the end. If this interview or my review to come is successful in advertising this series, I will gladly do another interview in the future that will focus more on the series itself, there just did not seem much point if only a few of you have read it. Thank you for your time and enjoy…

Brief Biography

Ian Irvine was born in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia, in 1950, and educated at Chevalier College and the University of Sydney, where he took a PhD in marine science. In the early 1980s Ian led several disastrous expeditions to Sumatra, which gave him many ideas for his books. He has spent too much of his life diving on filthy harbour bottoms investigating pollution. Ian Irvine set up his own consulting firm in 1986, carrying out environmental studies for clients Australia and overseas. He has worked in many countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Air expert in marine pollution, he has developed some of Australia's national guidelines for the protection of the marine environment and continues to work in this field.

Ian Irvine's debut fantasy quartet, The View from the Mirror, is now
Being published in eight countries. The international success of this series established Ian as one of the most popular new authors in the fantasy genre. He is presently completing a new fantasy quartet, The Well of Echoes.

Ian is married and lives in the mountains of northern New South Wales.

Vol 1 of The View from the Mirror Quartet.

Once there were Three Worlds, each with their own human species. Then, fleeing out of the void came a fourth species, the Charon. Desperate, on the edge of extinction, they changed the balance between the worlds forever.

Karan, a sensitive with a troubled past, is forced to steal an ancient relic in payment for a debt. But she is not told that the relic is the Mirror of Achan, a twisted, deceitful thing that remembers everything it has ever seen. Meanwhile Llian - a brilliant chronicler - is expelled from his college for uncovering a perilous mystery. Thrown together by fate, Karan and Llian are hunted across a world at war, for the Mirror contains a secret that offers each species survival, or extinction.

Vol 2 The Tower on the Rift.

War rages across Santhenar as Aachim, Faellem and old humans pursue the Mirror of Aachan. A desperate Tensor, leader of the Aachim people, flees with it into the wilderness, taking the brilliant young chronicler Llian with him.
Only Karan can save Llian, though she's not sure that she can help herself.Tensor wants her dead, the other powers are hunting her for her sensitive talents, and Rulke the Charon broods over them all from the Nightland prison. The Twisted Mirror holds knowledge that the world can only dream about. How will Tensor use it in the final confrontation? Will Llian be seduced by it too? or will the Mirror betray them all, in the end?


First of all let me say that we at Other Fantasy welcome you and greatly appreciate your time. You are an author who we are all greatly interested in hearing from and thank you for giving us this opportunity. The questions are designed to not focus on the story line of your books themselves, but to give our readers an idea of what it is like to be an author. Thank you once again.


1 ) First of all, could you share with us the basics of you and writing. How much do you write on the average day? Do you set yourself a target that you set out to achieve for the day, or the week, or the year?

I write full time, which is about 50 hours a week in a normal week, and that's most weeks. Generally, on weekdays, I begin about 8.30 am and go through to about 6 pm with various breaks, including going to town (I live about 10 km out of a small town), picking up the kids from the bus stop etc etc. I sometimes do a bit at night, and usually a few hours on Saturday and Sunday as well, unless there's something else going on.

The exception to this is in writing the first draft of a new book, which I like to do flat out, up to about 80 hours a week, writing as fast as I can and not looking back at all until I get to the end. This takes 4 weeks or so for a 130,000 word first draft of a book that will end up at 200,000 words.
I like to work this way because I find that it allows me to be more creative, and the book ends up with interesting twists and turns that probably wouldn't have occurred had I plotted it out in detail and
Written in a slower and more methodical way.

I don't set targets, as a rule; rather, my life tends to be punctuated by contractual deadlines. I'm presently coming to the end of a 4-book contract for my current fantasy quartet, THE WELL OF ECHOES, which begins with GEOMANCER, as well as a 3-book contract with a different publisher for a series of future eco-thrillers, which began with THE LAST ALBATROSS.
Because all this is going on at once, I have a lot of deadlines for each book: the draft to editing; revision of the draft according to the editor's comments (and this has two stages, structural editing followed by line editing); proofreading (twice); provision of cover briefs for the cover artists, which can be different for different countries; the blurb; writing promotional material, doing interviews and promotional appearances, and so forth.

Again, the exception is on the first draft, where I try to average
About 6000 words a day. I never do this at the beginning, for it takes a while to write myself into the book and the characters, but there's a stage in every book where I'm writing furiously, partly to discover what happens next, and producing about 50,000 words in a week. I would stress that this is just first draft, though, and I do a lot of drafts, so the first draft would only be 10-15% of the work I would do on a book.

2 ) Do you currently have another "day job"? How do you think your background in marine science has influenced the design of races featured in your books; such as the Faellem whose translucent skin shows veins and blood flow?

I don't have a day job any more, though I do continue to do SOME
Consulting work in my field of expertise, which has to do with marine pollution. This is mainly for old clients, or on long term contracts. I don't actively seek new work in this field because I wouldn't have time to do it properly.

I wouldn't think my background in marine science has influenced the
Design of the Faellem or other races, though my scientific training and experience has certainly affected the way I look at the world, which is different to that held by writers with say a humanities background, and it has also come out in some small details in my books (eg the wharf city of Thurkad).

3 ) How much do you write that you personally later edit out? How much and what sort of things does your editor usually edit out?

These days I will do 9 rigorous drafts of each book (down from 20+ in the early days, eg for my first book, A Shadow on the Glass). For each draft I print out the entire manuscript in book format (ie 2 pages to a page), then go through it line by line a couple of times, scribbling all over it. Then I'll type in all the corrections and begin over again. In every draft but the last I will make 5-10,000 changes, large and small (from wholesale deletions of sections of a chapter down to minor word changes, to insertion of additional sections and chapters, to rearranging the sequence of some chapters). The last draft might only have a few hundred changes, but overall, probably only a quarter of the first draft survives unchanged, if that.

The editor doesn't 'edit out', so to speak. She requests changes which it's then up to me to make or not, as I see fit. Normally I will agree with about 95% of what she says, however. My editor rarely requests structural changes or cuts of more than a few paragraphs, because I've usually got the structure pretty right before I send it to her. (I'm quite experienced at editing, having done technical editing of massive environmental tomes for more than 20 years). She mainly highlights problems with storyline or characters, inconsistencies (ditto), repetition (of what characters say or do, of scene or setting, or in the use of words and phrases), plus grammar, spelling etc.

4 ) Many of our readers are aspiring fantasy / Sci-Fi writers. What tips would you give them for submitting a work that's more likely to be accepted?

Lots of people tell me they want to write, but don't have the time
Right now. But if you only write one page a day, that's a book in a year. If you can't write a single page a day, do you really want to be a writer? Also, people grossly underestimate the amount of work it takes to become a writer. It takes years of practice to become an accomplished writer and you have to be prepared to work as hard at it, and as long, as you would to become a concert pianist, a professional footballer, or a lawyer.

If you want to write, don't read books on writing, or go to courses, they probably won't be much use to you until you've done a fair bit of writing on your own. Besides, you don't need to learn how to write beautiful, correct prose at the moment. That's not what editors are looking for unless you're writing 'literary', in which case read no further.
I'm talking about popular fiction: the stuff that ordinary people buy. Write a wonderful story and editors will probably want to buy it even if it's got bad grammar and no punctuation. Poor writing can be fixed, but if there's a lousy story beneath your scintillating prose, no editor will touch it.

Writing, like painting or any other art, can only be learned by doing it a lot. A painter who has been painting for a year or two is an amateur, and so is a writer, so you need to get started right away. Think up a character or two, work out where the story is going to take place, and then get stuck into it. Put your characters in an interesting, difficult or dangerous situation and write them out of it, then have them land in an even worse one. Write a bit every day. Don't look back over what you've written, because the editor that lurks inside every writer will find so much to hate that it'll put you off writing. Keep going as fast as you can to the end, and then don't look at it for a couple of months. (Don't stop working; write something else).

After the break, start from the beginning and read your story all the
Way through. You'll find a lot you don't like, but also a fair bit that you do, so then you can start on the real part of writing, which is revising over and over again until you're happy with what you're written. Once you've written that first draft, and revised it a few times, you'll need some help. Editors will probably buy a wonderful story in spite of its other faults, but there's a lot of competition out there and the way to get published is to be more professional than everyone else. Brilliant writers often don't get published; professional ones do, particularly those that never, ever give up.

There are a lot of good books on writing. I've found these to be among the best and they cover just about everything you need to know:

> On the art of storytelling, 'Story' by Robert McKee.
> The rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling etc, 'The Elements of
Style' by William Strunk & EB White.
> For advice on editing, 'Self-Editing for Fiction Writers' by Renni
Browne & Dave King.
> General ‹ 'The 38 Most Common Fiction-Writing Mistakes', by Jack

Once you've done all that take the writing course, if you're so inclined, though bear in mind that YOU have to learn your trade, and the more time and effort you put into it, the better your chances.

It takes me (and most writers), the best part of a year to produce a finished book. The first draft of a 600 page book takes me a month or more, but by the time I send it to my editor I will have done another five or six drafts, starting at the beginning and working word by word to the end. And then, working with the editor, I'll do another two or three drafts. It's the rewriting that produces the quality.

As most editors of publishing houses will tell you, don't even bother to show it to them till you've done at least half a dozen drafts, because it's in the redrafting, not the original writing, that you really learn to become a writer. And it takes just as long to become a good writer as it does to become a good brain surgeon, so you need all the practice you can get.

Once you've done all that, and are looking to get it published,
Remember that the big publishers get upwards of FIVE THOUSAND fiction manuscripts a year, of which they might publish as few as two or as many as eight. So you've got roughly a one in a thousand chance of being accepted that way.
Unsolicited manuscripts generally do get looked at, but expect it to take a long time. More than 90% are rejected on the first page, and 99% by the end of the first chapter, so your absolute best writing has got to be up front just to get the book read.

But to maximise your chances, you need an 'in', ie a contact in the Industry who will at least look at your work. Do a good writing course (after you've learned to write), go to writing seminars, workshops, literary festivals, SF conventions and all the other places where writers, agents, editors and publishers congregate. And then, pester them (in the nicest possible way) to take a look at your stuff. If it's no good, they'll still reject it after reading the first few pages. But if your writing has something, at least you're getting personal attention, which puts you in the pile with thirty or forty manuscripts in it, rather than the dumpster with five thousand.

5 ) Do you keep up with what other authors in the genre you are putting out, or do you tend to read material from outside of the genre on your own time? Any
authors that you are particularly fond of at the moment?

I don't read a lot of fantasy these days, partly because I'm interested in reading in all sorts of genres, as well as non-fiction, and partly because I've found that writing fantasy has spoiled my appreciation of it. It's hard to turn off the mental editor that says, 'Why on earth did she write that paragraph?' or 'Not this story yet again!' Also, there's an awful lot of the same stuff being written in fantasy and I want to write something different. Not Eurocentric, medieval, good vs evil fantasy yet again.

Some fantasy I've enjoyed recently, all a bit different from the usual:

Phillip Pullman, His Dark Materials Trilogy

Cecilia Dart-Thornton, The Ill-Made Mute

Lian Hearn, Across the Nightingale Floor

Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair

And Non-fiction:

Bill McGuire, A Short Guide to the End of the World (on geological

Matt Ridley, Genome (the best non-fiction book I've read in a decade)

Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe (anbout superstring theory, multiple dimensions and the ultimate theory of matter, energy and what binds them together).

I've just begun China Mieville's Perdido Street Station and it's
Looking good.

6 ) How precisely does one go about submitting a story? How long did it take for ‘The View From The Mirror’ to be approved?

I think the situation's probably changed since I was first accepted for publication. Publishers are less accepting of unsolicited manuscripts, and agents are overloaded, so it's even more difficult and frustrating than it used to be. But essentially, you've got to submit a great story that's reasonably well written, and hopefully have an 'in' (see the answer to (5) above). However I can say, having talked to numerous editors and publishers at conventions, that 99% of the manuscripts they get are poorly written (first or second draft), self-indulgent and often recycle the plot from a well known movie, book or TV series. So, for those who are prepared to work hard at learning their trade, the odds against you aren't nearly as bad as they seem. But don't get me wrong; it's still very tough.

I first sent the manuscript of A Shadow on the Glass out in 1989, and finally sold the Quartet in 1996 (when all four books were written and pretty polished), so it took seven years. However I didn't do multiple submissions, and I never sent out the same manuscript twice. I always revised it a few more times, with all I'd learned about writing in the 6-12 months it would take a publisher to reply.

7 ) Is there any work out there that you've read and thought 'oh, I would've loved to have written that'?

Basically, every book I've really loved, such as:

Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings.
Tolstoy, Anna Karenina.
Jane Austen, Emma.
Herman Hesse, The Journey from the East.

8 ) Do you ever use ideas that fans send in to you in regards to the View From The Mirror storyline? Even a little one?

Fortunately the four books were written before any were published, so
That was never going to occur, but in any case I don't get a lot of letters with story lines (I'd have had half a dozen in the past couple of years, I suppose, but I can't say I was ever tempted to use them.)

A common question asked of writers is 'Where do you get your ideas from?', to which I would reply, 'Everywhere. Every time I read the paper I get an idea for a story, though most are never used.' But in fact, for me a story rarely starts with a central idea. I begin with a character in a particular setting, then simply keep writing and the ideas flow onto the page.

And also, I actively try NOT to be influenced by other writers or anyone else, and if I find such an influence creeping in, I cut it out.

9 ) Do current events and world politics, such as the tragedy on September 11th, ever end up influencing the events within the books? If so, what are some examples?

They've never influenced the events in my books, not even in my thrillers about eco-terrorists, but they have had some subtle influences in the way I think about the world and the motivations of fanatics in it. I expect that's come out in my books though I can't think of any specific examples.

10 ) How do you come up with some of the more ‘adventurous’ names for the characters in your stories?

I just make them up, which isn't always as easy as it sounds. Often made up names SOUND made up, whereas the names in a fantasy novel have to sound real as well as right for the species or race involved, and for the individual character. What's more, two different characters shouldn't have names that sound similar, nor should several main characters' names begin with the same letter, because of the potential for confusion. And at the same time, the names in a fantasy novel should neither be too familiar (I would never use
Fred or Mabel, for example) nor so complicated that they're impossible for the reader to sound in their head. Within those parameters, I don't find it that difficult; it's just something I do.

In my current series, for example, the scrutator Xervish Flydd just arrived on the page without thinking about him, and I knew the name was perfect for him. Often, however, I've had to change the name of a character quite a few times before it was right for them. In the View from the Mirror, Maigraith was originally Yfanna, a name so grotesquely wrong for her that it jarred every time I read it. Llian was originally Kyllian, not so wrong, but that was changed because I also discovered I had three main characters beginning with K. And Rulke was Kandor, also very wrong, but as soon as I changed it I knew it fitted perfectly.

11 ) When you first started writing ‘The View From The Mirror’, did you have a set plan for the whole series, or were there some things you just thought up as you stumbled upon them in your writing?

I thought up virtually everything in the first book as I wrote. I'd spent years trying to plan the book (just A Shadow on the Glass then) before discovering that I couldn't plan it because it didn't mean anything to me I hadn't written the story and didn't know the characters. So I finally sat down to write the first draft, knowing that it began with Karan and Maigraith breaking into Fiz Gorgo (now Chapter 5), but little more than a rough outline of the first three or four chapters and the names of a few other characters (but nothing about them - they were just names). And then I simply made it up as I went along. It was only when I wrote the last few pages of that book that I realised how much more of the story there was to go. In the couple of months after that, I scribbled out a rough outline of where the story would go from there, for it grew and grew in my mind until it would take four books to uncover the answers to all the questions that had been raised, bring every element of the vast story to a satisfactory conclusion, and weave every thread into the tapestry.

12 ) Do you outline your books before you begin writing them?

Sometimes, though I rarely keep to the outline, because once I begin work I usually find that it gives the story a 'made up' feel. By that I mean that the twists and turns of the story seem too regular and logical. By creating it as I go along, it tends to have a more organic shape, and is less predictable; and also more interesting to write, because I'm always looking to see what happens next.

Writing teachers tend to insist that a book has to be completely plotted in advance, and that the characters are thoroughly known in advance, but I did a census a while back of professional novelists I know, and roughly half work in a similar way as I do.

13 ) How do create the personalities for your main characters? What inspires you to help make your people believably different?

My answer isn't going to be very satisfying, I'm afraid, and for a practicing scientist I'm not systematic at all about this. The process is, for me, rather intuitive. I simply create the character that I feel is needed at that point, and tinker with him or her ever after.

Usually in the first draft I don't do detailed characterisation, at least no more than comes out in my pell-mell writing. For some characters that's not much at all, for others it's quite a lot. For example, in Geomancer and the following books, Irisis and Nish start out as minor villains who are out for what they can get and aren't very nice at all, yet by the end of the final books they've both grown tremedously and through their various trials have, in different ways, discovered the nobility in their characters. I did very little planned characterisation for either character - it simply came out in the drafting over and over again.

For Tiaan, however, the good but slightly wet heroine, I've agonised
Over her character for months and still don't feel that I've got it completely right (fortunately I'm still revising Volume 3). I had a similar experience in writing the View from the Mirror. I had enormous trouble with the character of both Maigraith and Yggur, and had to write them over and over again until, around the 15th drafts of books 2 and 3, I finally got it right and they became two of the most interesting characters in the series.

As to what inspires me to make them believably different, I simply don't want to write traditional fantasy with traditional characters like the farm boy who makes good, the troubled prince, evil wizard, the great warrior etc. Hence characters like Llian, who isn't big and strong and good with a sword, and is never going to be. He's brilliant in his own little world but awkward out of it, so he's got to find his own way, and he has to be troubled about his inadequacies while he's doing it. In other words, I try to make my characters as real and human as possible. They have their own human frailties, they bicker and make mistakes, and do stupid or thoughtless things that have a cascade of bad consequences, yet somehow in the end, they can mostly rise above that.

14 ) Do you ever let compassion for a character affect or influence plot development?

I'm not sure how to answer this question, but I would say that plot development never occurs in a vacuum. I don't create a plot and drive it through the book with no thought for the consequences. Rather, the plot develops and changes as a result of the choices that characters make when put in difficult situations, and I often don't know what a character is going to do in a particular situation until I actually write the words.

The more I like a character, the more I will torment them by plunging them into difficult or dangerous situations, to see how they will react to the test. Will they succeed against impossible odds or will they fail? And, either way, what's going to happen next? Maybe they can subsequently turn that failure into something greater. Or perhaps, in the end, they can't; that can be most illuminating of all

15 ) Do you prefer writing more action based scenes or more for the human emotions?

I like variety. After I've written a long action scene, I like to get into something that's more reflective. My books have a lot of action in them, but in between I like to get into the characters' heads and discover what they're feeling or thinking about their lives, the situations they're in and the characters they're with. But essentially what I write is adventure fantasy, popular fiction, so there is a lot of action in my books.

It would be true to say that I find action easier to write.

16 ) When you create characters, how much do you know about them? Do they ever go off in directions you hadn't expected?

I know very little about the characters before I begin, and they constantly go off in directions I hadn't expected, because in a desperate situation they make their own choices and I don't know what they're going to be beforehand. And when there a dozen or more characters all making such choices it's impossible to predict where the story will go next Deep Blue couldn't run through all the possibilities.

For example, In The View from the Mirror, the character old Shand was just a bloke working in an inn in the mountains and was never meant to occupy more than a few paragraphs. But he took over, saying mysterious things some of which I didn't elucidate for years, and acting in a way that revealed carefully hidden power and former greatness. Subsequently he became an important character and moved the story in directions I'd never thought about, but always in ways that were better than I'd have come up with if I'd carefully and logically plotted it out.

17 ) Lastly for this section, what advice would you give to a young and aspiring writer?

1. Learn your trade, and know that it's going to take years of writing to do it (after writing for 15 years, I'm staggered at how hard it is and how much I still have to learn).

2. Learn to take criticism; it'll transform your work.

3. Lower your expectations; that way you won't be constantly disappointed by all the failures that every writer has, and you'll take more satisfaction from your successes as they come.

4. Revise, revise, revise, put your work away while you're writing something else, then go back to it and revise again. When you're finally ready to send it off, know that it's ready and better than nearly all the other 5000 manuscripts the publisher is going to get that year.

5. Never give up. It's not the most talented writers that succeed, but the ones who are determined to become a writer no matter what it takes.

6. It doesn't hurt to make great and powerful friends in the industry, either. They won't get you published if you're not good enough, but when you are they can get you out of the pile with all the other good writers in it.


18 ) The leaders of the various races seem very conflicted, in particular Yggur, Tensor, Mendark and Faelamor. Their actions are a blending of good and evil. Have you based them on a belief that 'power corrupts'?

To an extent. Mendark is corrupt in some respects, noble in others, but I've really not thought about good and evil at all, because that's the theme in just about every fantasy novel ever written and I wanted to get away from it.

Really, the conflict between the four human species comes from the urge for survival versus the fear of extinction. Each believes that they have the ultimate right to exist and they will do whatever is necessary to ensure that they do. And in their morality, they know that they're right, so it's not a matter of good versus evil.

A rough parallel, I suppose, would be with humanity's relationship with animals. When we bulldoze an expanse of land to build houses, factories or roads, or chop down a forest for timber, we seldom give a thought to the millions of animals large and small that will die because of it, and most people wouldn't think of themselves as evil for doing so, or benefiting from that destruction. We're humans, right, and we own the earth. That's the kind of belief that the four human species in my book have.

19 ) The one thing that has stood out for me most in your writing, as compared to other multi-volume fantasy series, is its unrelenting action. Simply, how do you keep up the pace?

I like the characters to get out of one situation only to end up in another that's as bad or even worse. More correctly, I like the characters to have a whole range of problems that they're dealing with at the one time, and again, that's because I'm aiming for a sense of realism and real life is like that.

Say you're a student at school, in your final year. You don't just
study for your finals all year and have no other problems. You've got the acne, a dozen different kinds of relationships and conflicts going on in the classroom and outside, problems with your girlfriend, the little sister who's a pain, the parents splitting up, money, the coming Gulf war etc etc. A thousand worries and problems, some of which you can do something about, many you can't.
I like my characters to be in that kind of situation most of the time. As to how I do it, a lot comes in the constant rewriting. As I re-read, I identify sections where further detail is needed, or where there's a dull patch, and layer in sub-plots so that there's always something going on. But not action just for the hell of it it's always got to advance the plot or illuminate some mystery.

20 ) The Mirror of Aachan and the flute are very interesting devices. Will others also surface in the future?

Yes, quite a few. My new series is set on Santhenar some two hundred years after the time of The View from the Mirror, and it's a world that's greatly changed. The world has been at war with the intelligent winged lyrinx for a hundred and fifty years. Despite the development of battle clankers and mastery of the crystals that power them, humanity is losing. The enemy is destroying their nodes of power, one by one.

This is a world where magic, the Secret Art, has been greatly developed for humanity's very survival, and humanity now employs hundreds of different kinds of devices powered by the Art. The war is, in effect, a magical arms race, where humanity and the enemy are constantly developing more and greater devices to counter the other, and taking more and more power from the field until eventually, it becomes clear, there's going to be a catastrophic bust. And then what's going to happen?

21 ) Where did the idea for this series come from?

That's a hard thing to pin down. I don't think of an idea and then write a story about it; rather, I create the story as I go and various themes appear in it without me consciously thinking about them.

The origins of the series go back more than 20 years, when I was completing my second degree at uni. I'd already been reading SF and fantasy since I was a kid, and one particular fantasy novel (published in 1977 and still in print) really irritated me because the map seemed to bear no relationship to the story. I decided to create my own world, with believable geography, history, ecology etc etc, and spent a good part of the next few years doing so. I ended up with a series of maps the size of house doors, notebooks full of details, and various scribbled fragments of story that bore no relationship to each other. One or two of these were eventually worked into the series, eg Chapter 27 of Dark is the Moon, where Mendark goes into long abandoned Havissard and encounters Faelamor. The first part of this story is the oldest work I did on the series and predates the rest by about seven years.

Anyway, after that kids came along, house renovations, work, and it wasn't until 1987 that I had the time to go back to all that world-building and begin writing. By then, the origins of the story were lost in the past.

22 ) Finally, in your new series ‘The Well Of Echoes’ we return once again to the world you have made, only 200 years after the climatic events at the end of ‘The Way Between The Worlds” – will we see any of the characters from The View From Mirror in this series, as great mages are said to live for thousands of years?

This series is about new characters, for the most part, though a couple of long-lived ones from The View from the Mirror do put in an appearance, and there is also a mystery that reaches back to the time just after the View from the Mirror finishes, and involving some of the main characters, though it takes some time for it to be solved.

Thank you one again for your time and we all wish you the best if success in the future.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity and good luck in securing more interviews. Cheers for now.


Here are the publication dates for this series, which I've nearly finished. Volume three is almost through editing and I've already done two drafts of Volume 4. UK publication dates for books 3 and 4 are approximate.

The Well of Echoes
1. Geomancer (Australia September 2001; UK September 2002)
2. Tetrarch (Oct 2002; UK August 2003)
3. Scrutator (October 2003; UK June 2004)
4. Chimaera (August 2004; UK April 2005 2004)
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