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Découvrez notre interview exclusive avec Tad Williams !

Par Gillossen, le vendredi 23 mars 2007 à 17:33:21

Interview with Tad Williams, english version

The first volume of the Shadowmarch trilogy, Château d'ombre, has just been released in France. What's the situation in North America?

SHADOWPLAY (the second volume) is just coming out in English next month. I'm working on the final volume SHADOWRISE, at the moment.

Could you explain to your French readers how Shadowmarch was born?

The idea first came when I was considering how to do fantasy for episodic television. That didn't happen, but I really liked the story as it was developing, so I decided to try it as an internet serial -- a chapter every two weeks. That was a lot of fun, but I couldn't afford to write an entire trilogy that way (we lost money) so I remade it as a novel.

When did you choose that Shadowmarch would appear in print?

When it became clear I'd have to write two books every year if an online SHADOWMARCH was going to be one of them, because the print book would have to pay for me to write SHADOWMARCH -- not a very good use of my time and resources.

Are there any differences between what was meant to be the online version and the novel which was published?

Yes, the novel is longer and better written, because since I was no longer writing for an online deadline, I had time to go back and rewrite, polish, and prepare the ground better for what would follow. Also, I added an entire new plotline -- that of the young southern woman, Qinnitan, who didn't appear in the online version.

Compared to your previous works, does this new trilogy hold a special place in your heart?

It's the first time I've tried what's thought of as "traditional" epic fantasy in years, and so it's very interesting to be a different writer now and going back to what some might think was my youthful territory.

What was your reation when Calmann-Lévy bought the French rights to Shadowmarch?

Pleased, because they're a good publishing company and I like to have solid relationships with my publishers. I'd much prefer building a good long-term relationship over jumping around all the time.

By the way, have you been consulted about the French translation of your work?

I've had a few questions. I always appreciate being asked about my work.

Shadowmarch placed 15th as Best Fantasy Novel in the 2004 Locus Awards. Are you influenced by book reviews, or do you seek to write something that satisfies you in the first place?

I seldom even read the reviews anymore. I used to be very interested in what people said about my work, but now I've reached the point where I know that the negative reviews will depress me far more than the positive ones will cheer me, and that people know I can write fairly well, so it's mainly a question of whether a particular reviewer likes my style or not.

Shadowmarch was conceived as an idea for a fantasy movie and later a fantasy tv series. Last month, HBO bought A Song of Ice and Fire. So, is there « hope » for your own book?

Oh, I'm sure one of these days someone will make a film or some television series out of my work. If it happens, it'll be fun, but if for some reason it never comes to pass I won't be too upset. I'm very lucky with things just the way they are.

Could you compare Shadowmarch and Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn? MS&T is often reprinted here in France and still a major trilogy.

I think I'm a surer hand at characterization now, and SHADOWMARCH is very character-intensive. Both are pretty broad, sweeping stories, very similar in some ways. What else? There are probably more monsters in MS&T, but there are more gods (good and bad) in SHADOWMARCH...!

Sorry but* Can we still hope for a sequel?

To MS&T? I don't know. I'm definitely doing a book of short fiction with a framing story, all set in Osten Ard -- it's just a question of finding time.

While the French translation of Shadowmarch has arrived, we are still waiting for The War of the Flowers. Will we ever discover more about Theo?

I hope so. It's one of my favorite books, and the one I usually give to people who don't know my work and want to try something.

You are a major author in the fantasy field. Your fanbase is simply enormous, in the whole world. How would you define your relation with them? Can their expectations sometimes weigh you down?

Have to say, not at all -- rather the reverse. I gladly give up the small bit of freedom I lost to expectations, in exchange for the pleasure of knowing that a lot of people actually want to read what I'm going to write. Nothing that keeps you going through the tough stretches better than knowing people are actually waiting for the book that's in front of you.

I used to think I wanted critical recognition, but I have to say that although I've gotten more of that as the years have gone by, I'm less interested in it now, and much more interested in having involved readers.

What is your opinion about the fantasy genre? What are your favourite authors? Is there a sense of competition between you?

Most of my favorite fantasy authors, living or dead, are the kind of folks who didn't just write one kind of story over and over. Among contemporaries I like lots of people -- Dan Simmons, George R. R. Martin, Steven Brust, and China Mieville spring to mind among those more in the fantasy end of things, people like William Gibson and others in the SF end, and Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, who both came out of comics (and did the best work in that field, I think.)

As far as competition, I feel like I'm always competing, but not necessarily with them. I'm trying to live up to Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, Thomas Pynchon, Jane Austin, William Shakespeare. That way, I always have something to aim at. As Browning said, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for?"

Last but not least, is there anything you wish to share with your French fans? Can we expect see you here one day?

I'd love to come back to La Belle France -- I haven't been there for at least a decade and I miss it mightily. I'm going to be at Epinal in 2008, so I hope to see a lot of my French readers then, if not sooner!

  1. Entretien avec Tad Williams, version française
  2. Interview with Tad Williams, english version

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