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Notre entretien exclusif avec Alan Campbell !

Par Gillossen, le vendredi 20 avril 2007 à 16:45:42

L'interview d'Alan Campbell avec Elbakin.net, version originale

Was there a reason you chose the fantasy genre for your debut, and the urban fantasy sub-genre in particular?

I think the genre chose me, rather than the other way around. I've always loved to read fantasy, especially dark and Gothic fantasy, so when I sat down to write, that's what came out. To be honest, when I was writing SCAR NIGHT, I hadn't actually heard of the term "urban fantasy", which is slightly embarrassing, so please don't tell anyone.

What was the idea behind the city of Deepgate? Can the city be considered a character itself?

Deepgate was just an idea I had, while sitting in my room in a hostel in Budapest. I thought, that's a pretty cool setting for a story, I could have some fun with this. Over time the city grew and became increasingly complex, so that eventually its unusual geometry began to influence the plot, and the characters' moods to a certain extent. But I don't consider the chained city to be a character, just the crucible where the story takes place.

I've read that you started this story almost 10 years ago in Budapest. as Budapest in any shape or form some sort of model for Deepgate?

Not at all. Budapest is a great place, and I spent many happy weeks there. But I don't think it was a model, even unconsciously, for Deepgate. One of my friends said that parts of Deepgate reminded him of the old town in Edinburgh, a city I lived in for a large part of my life. This is probably closer to the truth.

Do you have a favourite character ? Is there a character you particularly enjoy writing?

The scarred angel, Carnival. I think I enjoy writing about her because of her internal conflicts: she's an immortal with suicidal tendencies, a compulsive murderer who is unable to come to terms with her own actions. And also because nasty, violent things tend to happen whenever she appears in the story, and those scenes are fun to write.

How could you compare writing and computer game development ? Did your work in videogames help you ?

In both cases you're working on projects in which many different aspects must be woven together into something you hope is entertaining. Computer game development taught me to be patient. A game is normally written from the ground up, one function at time, just as a novel is constructed from scenes. Both are long processes.

What is your favourite aspect of writing?

Rewriting. A blank Word document scares me. My friend Gary Gibson calls this the White Screen of Despair. But once the story is down on paper, I enjoy chipping away at it until I'm happy.

As a first time novelist, who are your favourite authors ?

To name a few: Mervyn Peake, M John Harrison, and George R R Martin, also Stephen Donaldson, Steven Erikson and Jack Vance. I enjoy everything by Iain Banks, too, but I escpecially love his Culture novels.

Is the web an important tool in terms of communicating with your readers, do some research, etc? I have seen that you have a blog.

Yes, the web is handy for all of these things. And it's nice when readers and friends drop by my blog to say hello.

Are you influenced by book reviews, or do you seek to write something that satisfies you in the first place? You've received a lot of praise for Scar Night !

Sending a book into the wide world is a scary experience. Of course I was curious to know how Scar Night would be recieved, and the positive reaction has been wonderful. But I try not to let reviews influence me. I can only write the sort of story I enjoy, and hope others like it too.

You have recently attended to Bath Literary Festival. What are your thoughts on fandom and how would you describe your relationships with fans?

I feel honoured and humbled whenever somebody buys a copy of the book. And of course I'm a fan of other authors. Bath Literary Fesitival gave me the chance to pick up a sign copy Iain Bank's new book, which was a big deal for me.

Have the rights to Scar Night been sold to a French publisher? I have been told that your novel is already read by a lot of french publishers…

Not yet (I add the 'yet' optimistically). A know some French publishers have looked at the book, and several are continuing to look at it, but no deal has been reached. It's a pity because I've been learning French, off and on, since I was at school (Je voudrais un kilo de pommes; où est la gare? ...That sort of thing), and a French version of Scar Night would help really me with the language.

What can we expect from your next book?

The next book continues the story of Dill, Rachel and Carnival, as they venture into the world beyond Deepgate. But now the remaining gods are aware of them, and they aren't happy.

Do you believe the fact that you are Scottish makes you approach your craft differently from your American and/or British counterparts?

I suppose I can't help being influenced by the country I live in, the urban landscape and people, and even the Scottish dialect I hear spoken every day, but it's not a conscious thing. Regarding the craft of writing, the nuts and bolts of it, I'm sure each writer has a different approach, no matter what country they're from.

Last but not least, is there anything you wish to share with French fans?

I've been on holiday in France many times, and I love your country. In fact, when my agent phoned to tell me that Scar Night had sold to a US publisher, I was standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower at the time.

  1. L'interview d'Alan Campbell avec Elbakin.net, version française
  2. L'interview d'Alan Campbell avec Elbakin.net, version originale

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