Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The 3:2 Interview with Peter V. Brett

Welcome to the first 3:2 Interview, where I ask three serious questions and two rather silly ones of an author you might not know yet but will certainly love soon.

Today’s interview is with Peter V. Brett (call him “Peat”), author of The Warded Man and its sequel, The Desert Spear, which is available right now. Peat is one of several authors, along with Patrick Rothfuss, R. Scott Bakker and Joe Abercrombie, who are breathing new life into the epic fantasy genre.

Writer’s Grove: When you set out to write your series, were there specific fantasy tropes you were consciously trying to avoid, or perhaps tweak in a new way?
Peat: I dunno, maybe unconsciously. I’ve read about a billion fantasy novels (actual number closer to 600), and I think I’ve built a good sense of what works in a story and what doesn’t, but it wasn’t like I had compiled a list of tropes to work with. I just set out trying to tell a good story.
   Oh, wait. That’s a lie. I deliberately decided to ban all swords from the series. I love a good swordfight as much as the next guy, but I felt like I’d written a thousand of them in my life, and wanted a new challenge. In the story, humanity has been reduced to a tiny fraction of its former size, and warfare between men is unheard of. Demons are so powerful that they will likely kill you if they get within striking range, so the best option is a weapon that can keep them at a distance, like a spear. Swords are impractical and obsolete.
WG: If we go to a fantastic pub with everything on tap, what do you order to drink with your greasy fried food and will you pick up the check?
P: Guinness or Killian’s Irish Red, depending on my mood. Sometimes a Jack and coke. Bacon cheeseburgers and fries are on me.
WG: The Krasian culture of The Desert Spear is the most developed culture based on the Middle East I’ve seen since Frank Herbert’s Dune—and that was science fiction. What sort of background in Middle Eastern cultures did you have prior to writing the book, and how much research did you have to do to write about this culture convincingly?
P: First off, I will confess to never having read Dune. Sacrilege, I know. I saw the movie in college, but I barely remember it.
   Regarding the Krasians, I wouldn’t say they are based on the Middle East. Flavored would perhaps be a better word. There is as much Ancient Sparta and Medieval Japan to their culture as Middle Eastern, and a whole lot of stuff I just plain made up. The result is a very unique people with a rich history and unique worldview that is all their own. They’re not meant to be a commentary on any real world culture.
   As for research… meh. I read a lot.
WG: Gandalf and Chuck Norris meet at a neutral location (say, for example, Dairy Queen) and fight to the death. Who wins and how?
P: Gandalf says some cryptic things that confuse Chuck and make him question his life’s path. He is soon weeping like a little girl into Gandalf’s white robes and begging forgiveness. Offers to beat himself up as penance. Gandalf buys him some ice cream.
   We are talking Gandalf the White, right? Gandalf the Grey would just fry his ass with a lightning bolt. 
WG: When can we expect to see book three (and is there a title yet)?
P: The series will go to five books. The title of book three is The Daylight War, and it is coming along really well, I think. I have it plotted down to minute detail, and am working on the prose. I still have a LOT of work ahead of me, so I am reluctant to make promises about when it will be available. 2012…ish?
WG: Thanks Peat!
P: Thanks for having me!


  1. I wish I could see a roundtable of epic fantasy writers talking about how they think and deal with tropes in their writing. People scream for originality all the time, but I think it is more important for other types of writing than for fantasy. Some fantasy-lovers, like myself, actually crave the comfort of familiar tropes in fantasy.

  2. Yeah, Ted! I'd enjoy such a roundtable as well! Hear that, Convention Organizers Who Read My Blog and People Who Know Convention Organizers Who Don't Read My Blog Yet?

  3. Hey Kevin! First of all, congrats on getting the gig with DelRey - very damn jealous (but will hopefully be joining you some time in the near future) and I'm looking forward to hearing more about your UR (newbie convert here). :-)

    Thanks for the interview with Peat - it was great to hear that he's a Guinness man, too, and I'm really looking forward to The Desert Spear (I feel completely dumb for being his biggest fan in South Africa and not having had the chance to read the book yet) and to the rest of the books.

    Thanks again. :-)

  4. Thank you for the congratulations and you're welcome for the interview! Peat deserves applause not only for his amazing work but for being so accommodating.

    Come back and visit often...I try to post at least once a week (more if I can manage it) on topics related to fantasy writing and my work in progress.