Remain mindful that reality for the characters is inchoate until we compose the prose. In a very real but quantum mechanical and/or metaphysical way, their moment is not yet formed or specific until we observe them, but is “just now” impinging on them when we prepare to write a tale.
Read this and more insightful comments about writing the Sacred Band series, music, and other works, both fiction and nonfiction, from Chris Morris in this landmark interview.
Today we’re proud to post a link to the thought-provoking conclusion of Todd Brown’s in-depth three part interview with Janet Morris.
Janet Morris with UVM Christine, her Grand National and World Champion Morgan Mare.
Rogues in Hell, reviewed below. Jut click:
Here’s Janet’s interview with Fiona on writing, the craft and the art, with a bi of discussion about her two series. Although no links to the books are given in the interview, all books mentioned are available at Amazon in the USA as well as on Amazon UK.
Looking on the web last night, I was appalled to see how many pirated editions there are of our Sacred Band Stepsons books and stories, from “Beyond Sanctuary” to the various Thieves’ World(R) volumes. Shame on those pirates and their customers, taking food out of the mouths of the rescue animals we try to husband. Trying to stick it to the corporations? Find a way that doesn’t harm writers to do so.
For ourselves, we’ve found a solution, we hope — for a while: our “Author’s Cut” editions. If you have a pirated “Beyond Sanctuary” or “Wake of the Riddler” or any of our other six Sacred Band novels and eleven stories, you DON’T have the current edition, much revised and expanded from the 20th century volumes.
Will the public buy the Author’s Cut books, rather than steal them? Will the pirates loot our intellectual property — again?
Maybe, but we put it to you: book piracy hurts everyone. Buy the books you want, don’t steal them.
Janet Morris and Chris Morris
From Walter Rhein’s Blog, here’s his interview with Janet:
The Sacred Band novel is my favorite: Forty-six of the doomed Sacred Band of Thebes is rescued from the battlefield at Chaeronea in 338 BCE, by Tempus and his Stepsons. The gods and fates take umbrage or support, and a war (actually a theomachy) begins that follows Tempus and his fighters to Sanctuary. Do you need to be a history or mythology of fantasy buff to enjoy this? No, but knowledge deepens experience, always. All our favorite characters from the earlier series take a hand, and eventually the Unified Sacred Band fights the battle of their dreams. Since there really are forty-six skeletons missing from the mass grave at Chaeronea where the slaughtered Sacred Band of Thebes are buried, this story was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to blend history, fantasy, and mythology. We loved doing it. It’s been widely quoted on sites such as Ranker and has a big presence on Freebase and even a Wikipedia page.
Interview with Janet Morris, Author of “The Sacred Band”
I began interacting with you after posting a link to a negative review of my novel, “The Bone Sword.” Rejection slips and bad reviews are just a part of the game for writers. Can you share an anecdote about a rejection or a negative review?
I see that you did several Thieves’ World novels. When I discovered that I consulted my library and discovered the first Thieves’ World book by Robert Lynn Asprin & Lynn Abbey. Did you have much interaction with these writers?
Bob Asprin asked me at a covention to write forThieves World (TW). The first volume had just been published. Lynn was not yet an editor. Bob asked for a gritty character suitable for a town that was the “armpit of fantasy.” I had already written “An End to Dreaming,” a short piece about two characters that later ended up in the TW series, but I wrote the first Tempus story, about an immortal warrior with a curse, for Bob: whomever Tempus loved was bound to spurn him, whoever loved him was fated to die. Bob loved the first story, “Vashanka’s Minion.” Writers were encouraged to use one another’s characters, so I used the god “Vashanka,” and several others, and thus interacted with Andy Offutt. Bob asked me to keep writing Tempus stories, and in close coordination with Bob and Andy, for TW #3 we did three connecting stories that included my “A Man and His God” (the life and death of the Slaughter Priest, Abarsis). Bob and I made a deal for that: I could kneecap his character if he could send mine to the vivisectionist (since Tempus always healed); Andy was drafted to get Tempus out of the vivisectionist’s clutches. So we became “canonical” TW writers, and seven novel and many stories followed. Much later I did the first TW spin-off novel, Beyond Sanctuary, part of a three-book hardcover deal, and TW took off about that time. Subsequently I wrote a three-writer TW novel with Lynn Abbey and CJ Cherry, “Soul of the City,” published as TW #8. We all had friends and enemies among the other writers; alliances shifted. Eventually I took Tempus and the Sacred Band Stepsons out of Sanctuary — twice, because of writer politics, and wrote my own Sacred Band of Stepsons series of novels. Then with Lynn’s permission my co-writer Chris Morris and I brought the Band back to Sanctuary, ten years after they left, in “The Sacred Band,” (Morris & Morris, Kerlak, 2011). Tempus and the Sacred Band of Stepsons, who began in 1980 and are still going strong today, are my favorite fantasy characters. With the sole exception of “I, the Sun,” a rigorous historical of the Hittite Empire, stories about Tempus and the Sacred Band are my favorite of my works alone and with Chris or with anyone. Lynn and CJ and I still keep in touch; Bob Asprin’s loss is deeply felt by many.
You’ve been an established writer for a long time, in what ways have you seen the publishing industry change for the better and for the worse?
The publishing industry, when I first started, had a strong mid-list, wherein a writer could incubate. While I was writing for a living, two things happened: the super book with huge advances destroyed publishers’ interest in mid list (the 35K to 65K book); Star Wars made sf/fantasy more successfully, but imposed a hunger for formulaic “B-Movie” type restrictions that took much of the fun out of sf/f, which previously had been more intellectually interesting. Fantasy has rebounded a bit from this formulaic hunger, but still the chance to experiment in sf/f was shrinking until the e-book, Publication on Demand, self-publishing and the new crop of small publishers arising as the big publishers fade away are a good sign.
The novel in general has deconstructed about as much as it can: categories are marketing tools; a novel contains all elements, and should do. We like small publishing because the chance to experiment survives there. So we’ve started doing Heroes in Hell seriesand the Sacred Band series again, using small publishers so we can keep our e-book rights, and we like the freedom the small publishing world enjoys.
Perhaps I covered this, but small publishers can and do provide better physical book production, better copy-editing, better covers, and more chances to experiment. Of course a small publisher can do a poor job, but really, is it a worse job than the big publishers do when they buy a book they don’t push? This is why we brought back The Sacred Band of Stepsons series and the Heroes in Hell series. With a small publisher, an established writer such as myself can have more control about many facets of how their book is presented. Writing to establish a corpus of work demands this. Most great books from earlier centuries were “self” published: the author controlled the process, and found a publisher to provide the book to the pubic.