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Q&A Session with L.E. Modesitt, Jr.


Dwynwen

L.E. Modesitt, Jr., the author of The Saga of Recluce and other series, recently visited Dragonmount for a Q&A session. The following is a compilation of all the questions and answers from his visit.

 

Q: Dragonmount is fortunate to have joining us this week world famous author L.E. Modesitt. He is creator of The Saga of Recluce and The Spellsong Cycle. He will soon be releasing a new book in The Imager Portfolio. Now he is here to answer questions from YOU! Please post your questions below and Mr. Modesitt will check in as he is able to answer them. So let's give Mr. Modesitt a warm Dragonmount welcome!

 

A: I just wanted to say that I'm pleased to be here, and whatever the question you might have, I'll do my best to answer it--and it doesn't have to be just on my fantasy series books.

 

 

Q: Thank you very much for appearing today, Mr. Modesitt. I guess I'll begin.

 

Where did you get the idea for using the magic system you have, with order and chaos and them being in balance? Taking it further, you write about some of the effects that the magic has on people and places. Why did you choose to focus on this to such an extent?

 

A: You've actually raised two questions about the Saga of Recluce. The short answer for why I chose order and chaos as the opposite poles, if you will, for the magic system was that they're really an analogue in some ways to the construct of structured matter and entropy, and, at the same time, to static order and unfocused raw energy, in our universe. If you're interested in the very detailed explanation, I actually wrote an article about this for Black Gate magazine [issue 13], which has also been reprinted in the limited hardcover anniversary edition from Subterranean Press.

 

As for the issue about the far-reaching impact of magic, that's because of my view of what magic would be in any realistic human society. Human beings are tool-users. Anything that we can use in a practical fashion as a tool, we do. And all tool use has impacts that reverberate throughout the world. In any world where magic is workable, we'd work it as a tool, and there would be implications far beyond the immediate use. Another reason for my focus and concern about effects was that, especially at the time that I wrote The Magic of Recluce, far too many authors were ignoring the obvious costs and repercussions of magic use, and just concentrating on the "gee-whiz, that's neat" aspects. Thankfully, this has changed considerably [but not vanished]over the past 20 years.

 

 

Q: I've just started a re-read of Fall of Angels, and one thing that has always struck me in that book is the name "Rationalists". As the decendants of the Rationalists are generally cast as the antagonists of the Recluce saga, and they're referred to as demons, it always struck me as an odd name. It doesn't conjur visions of a warlike people for me. I was wondering if you were ever planning to cover them, or their universe of origin, in more detail? Apologies if you already have, I haven't read any of the material that takes place BEFORE the Fall in the Recluce saga.

 

A: There's quite a bit more background about the descendants of the "Rationalists" in Magi'i of Cyador and its sequel Scion of Cyador, but those events take place on Recluce hundreds of years after the founding of Cyad. At present, I have no plans to write about any events that take place before the "Rationalists" land on the world of Recluce.

 

 

Q: Do you write when you get inspiration or do you write a certain amount of hours every day? When do you get your best ideas?

 

A: Except when I'm traveling, or in case of various catastrophes, I write almost every day, usually from around nine in the morning until nine at night, with time out for dogs, preparing and eating meals, and various errands.

 

As a writer, I don't believe in waiting for inspiration. It's our task to create it.

 

 

Q: A couple of questions:

 

1. How much time do you like to spend on creating the environment for a book (world, characters, history, etc.) before actually writing the book?

 

2. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

 

A: It's hard to quantify exactly how much time I do spend on setting up a new book, or especially a new series, because I usually think about aspects of it, on and off, for some time before I even sit down to formally develop the background and the culture, but it does take several weeks at a bare minimum.

 

As for what I like most about the writing process...I can't really say I like one part more than any other--but the hardest part is when I'm roughly three quarters through a new book and it feels as though I'll never finish it...and that it's terrible.

 

 

Q: When you reach that "mid-book slush" where you are pushing towards the end, how do you deal with that? How do you push through that and write a satisfying ending?

 

Also, in the Imager Portfolio, you write in the 1st person POV. I have begun to see this more often in SF/F and wonder what drew you to 1st person POV as opposed to the "standard" 3rd person limited?

 

A: I just push through it, knowing that it's just part of the process.

 

As for first person viewpoint, it's nothing new for me. Actually, my very first book was written in the first person, and that was more than 30 years ago. From an authorial point of view, I believe that an author should choose viewpoint based on the needs of the story. In the case of The Magic of Recluce, for example, the story would have been a total disaster if told in the third person, because Lerris would have come off as a totally spoiled brat as opposed to a well-meaning but clueless young man who was initially too immature for the position in which he found himself.

 

 

Q: Which part of your stories do you usually find come the easiest? Meaning, characters, setting, actual plot of what the whole story will be about, what seems to flow easiest for you? And which are harder?

 

When you first get the idea to start a new work, do you start building off the same point? Do you think of a world and create a story around it, or think of a character and create plot for them? Or does it change with each new idea for a story?

 

A: That part which is the most difficult tends to vary book by book, although describing the actual setting [as opposed to the structural backdrop of culture, geography, government, magic system] is never as difficult as other aspects. Dialogue usually is less of a problem, but that's likely because it rests on all the harder aspects, which have to come before.

 

Where books come from for me depends more on the kind of book. With fantasy novels, a great amount of the genesis arises from thinking about the interplay between culture, economics, and the magic system...and how characters can find themselves in trouble. With my science fiction, usually the plot and characters come from the overall situation I'm thinking about...but I can't tell you from where those situations come, except from a wide, wide range of reading and processing by my subconscious, prodded by sharp mental questions of my own.

 

Call it a fusion of a trusted intuition with more information than is likely good for a sane mind.

 

 

Q: When did you know that writing was more than just a hobby for you? Was it difficult to make the switch from hobby to career?

 

A: Writing was NEVER a hobby for me. I started out writing poetry in high school, got some of it published in small literary magazines in my twenties, then moved to writing short stories and finally novels over a twenty-year period. From high school on, writing was what I wanted to do. What was difficult was getting established enough as a writer to move from the well-paid day job [and it was] to a self-sustaining writer. The first two years after I did so [and that was after having already published something like nine novels, all of which earned out] resulted in something like a forty percent income cut.

 

But I persevered, and one of the things that still drives me is that I never want to go back to work for anyone else again.

 

 

Q: Do you ever grow attached to the characters you are writing, and have trouble putting them in difficult situations?

 

A: Not since an early novel, when my then-teenaged son informed me that I needed to abuse my characters more...I do grow attached to them, but I enjoy figuring out how they can plausibly and practically surmount such difficulties.

 

 

Q: Hi there, and wonderful to see you on DM.

 

What is your preferred method of writing? I.e. using a desktop, laptop, or old style pen and paper? Do you carry something around to take notes on for when ideas strike you at odd times? DO ideas strike you at odd times?

 

A: My preferred method of writing is on computer, usually a desktop. I started out writing with a typewriter because my penmanship is lousy, and I get writer's cramp after a few hundred words, if not sooner.

 

Ideas do strike me at odd times, but I can usually remember them long enough to get back to where I can jot down notes [and those I do jot down at times with a pen].

 

 

Q: Hello, and welcome.

 

A persistent area of debate among WoT fans is around the treatment of gender issues in Jordan's books. Gender was a key component of your earlier Recluce novels, but seems to have become less important over time. Why is that? Have you simply said what you wanted to say on the matter, or is there another reason it has faded into the background?

 

Thanks.

 

Q: I love the Recluce saga and have read it a number of times. When it comes to stories I have read, I always come up with the same questions. I love behind the scenes things and what I wonder for you is, were there any scenes or moments that you wanted so badly to include but just couldn't find a way to make them work? Were there any unexpected occurrences that you wrote that surprised even you because it was just the logical course the character should have taken? Or are you more methodical with your writing and your characters go exactly where you want them to? I promise, last question, and it has nothing to do with writing: For an amusing, light-hearted read, what would you recommend?

 

Q: I really love the Imager books, but must admit that the Recluce tales are my favorite books. Do you think you will write more of them?

I read the Forever Hero saga last month for the first time, and the first thing I noticed was that your style of writing was completely different from the Recluce and Imager novels. Was this a conscious thing or not?

 

Q: Thanks for joining us, Mr. Modesitt. One thing that caught my attention in your Recluce novels was the third-person present tense you wrote in; not many writers use it and it was jarring at first, then kind of captivating. How did you hit on that, and what made you use it?

 

Q: Mr. Modesitt, it's a pleasure having you on DM, and I'd like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer questions.

 

What sort of material do you draw your creative influence from? Do you listen to certain music or movies? Also, how do you develop a character's personality? Do you draw from real life people you know?

 

A: I'll try to answer several of your questions in one posting.

 

Recluce, Gender, and the Future of the Saga

 

Actually, I haven't gotten away from gender issues at all in the Saga of Recluce. The very latest Recluce book--Arms-Commander--deals with a number of those issues...and needless to say...there have been at least a few readers who didn't like it.

 

I'm somewhere in the middle on the question of "character control," because I know my characters well enough when I start writing that they end up largely where I felt that they would, but a number of times I've ended up changing the path they took to get there because it became obvious for various reasons [their character, the acts of others, culture] that what I'd initially considered wouldn't work or might not be true to their character.

 

I have plans for at least one more Recluce book, although it's likely to be more than a year from now before I can get to it, given what I'm already committed to writing.

 

Writing in the Present Tense

 

As a number of readers have noticed over the years, I'm one of a handful of writers who regularly writes books in the present tense. It's not for shock value, or to do something different, but because each tense has strengths and weaknesses. Third person past tense, which is the "traditional" tense, especially for F&SF, is the most accepted and the most forgiving. It's the easiest to handle, and it can cover a multitude of sins, and it allows a great deal of exposition without it being that obvious. Third person present tense, on the other hand, can be unforgiving and requires a tight focus on what is happening "now" close to the character. For certain books and characters, I've found that it is better suited for what I had in mind for the character and the story.

 

Styles

 

A number of my science fiction books are written in what might be called a harder-edged style than my fantasy works. That was a deliberate choice, based on the story and the characters. In some books, such as Archform: Beauty and The Eternity Artifact, the style changes with the character narrating that section.

 

Sources and Research

 

There's no way to pin down all the sources from which I draw. I read a tremendous amount of non-fiction and science periodicals; I worked full-time in a range of occupations for more than twenty-five years before I became a full-time writer, and I'm married to a singer, opera director, and academic whose brain I pick as much as possible.

 

I don't generally lift characters "whole" from people I know, although there are one or two exceptions where characters contain large "segments" of people I know, the most obvious being Anna Marshall and Johan Eschbach. I don't listen to music at all when I write; it's far too distracting, although certain musical themes and elements have made their way into my books.

 

Recommendations

 

I don't do the total "light-hearted" books, but one I recently read and enjoyed that has an uplifting tone and ending, at least to me, was Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey.

 

 

Q: What other authors do you think have most influenced your own work--and what other authors do you admire?

 

A: Most likely, every author I've ever read has influenced what and how I write, either in a negative or positive way. In the F&SF field, I tend to admire specific works, rather than authors. Some of those that influenced me stand out at the moment [others might stand out at a different moment], and those are Creatures of Light and Darkness (Zelazny), Soldier, Ask Not! (Dickson), The Stars My Destination (Bester), and The Left Hand of Darkness (LeGuin).

 

I also have great fondness and respect for the poets William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and W.H. Auden.

 

 

Q: So, what do you do with the time that you aren't writing? Any hobbies like hiking, piano,...painting?

 

Also, after you finish a book, do you "go crazy" and take a vacation or something, or do you jump right in and start something new?

 

A: I'm not much of a "hobby" or "gadget" guy, nor a collector. I do take a fairly long morning walk at a good pace through the hills near the house, combining exercise and pleasure, pretty much every morning before I get cleaned up and start writing. I did paint at one time in my teens and twenties, but gave it up because my physical abilities weren't equal to my mental concepts...as was also the case with playing the clarinet. The same was true of wood-working. But, in the end, what I find enjoyable is the life of the mind in a healthy body, and I try to keep both mind and body in shape.

 

 

Q: Would you like to live in any of the "worlds" you have created? If so, which one?

 

A: Over the years, I've been asked that question a number of times, and I have to answer indirectly. There is a Chinese curse, and it is a curse, that runs, "May you live in interesting times." As a writer, I write about "interesting times" in the worlds I've developed. Interesting times are times of turmoil and conflict, and I've lived through enough interesting times in my own life that I have no desire to live in interesting times elsewhere. In addition, as I've noted before, although I don't generally emphasize this side of my writing in talking about it, because, despite my cynicism, I'm an optimist by nature, all of my books have a dark side to the cultures I'm depicting...if you as a reader look closely. Anyone who thinks I write about pollyanna worlds or characters isn't looking beyond the obvious. Just take Lerris, in The Magic of Recluce. By the end of the second book, he's lost all but one person of all those he loved and who loved him. Or Anna Marshall of the Spellsong Cycle...or Rhenn of the Imager Portfolio...

 

The human toll is high in my books, and that's because of the cultures and situations, and I'm really not interested in living in those situations.

 

 

Q: Do you enjoy doing book tours and other aspects of the public life of an author, or would you rather be at home writing?

 

A: I like meeting people when I do tours and conventions, but I dislike the actual travel, largely because from where I live any appearance, except in Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, requires air travel, and that's gotten to be more and more of a hassle. I generally have been traveling for book-related appearances 4-6 weeks a year, and for me that's about all I really want to do. More than that gets physically exhausting, in addition to cutting into writing, and I still get a feeling of satisfaction from creating and completing books.

 

 

Q: You have been publishing SF/F since before the Internet and PCs. How has writing changed in that time? How has the market shifted in style and preference?

 

A: I was first published when the most advanced method of physically producing a story was the electric typewriter, and indeed, my first story was written [because I've always written prose on a keyboard of some sort] on a portable electric typewriter, a Smith-Corona, as I recall. Technology, in the form of the computer, has indeed made a change in writing...and indeed in the entire publishing business. Those changes, as with most changes, have not been uniformly good. The good news is that I don't have to retype an entire manuscript for each draft, and for each set of editorial requests. The computer does make the production of a manuscript and subsequent revisions much easier, but it also has resulted in changes in the editorial process. Because changes can be made more easily, it seems to me that editors are asking for more changes. Second, it has changed the entire submission process. When I started writing, anyone could send a manuscript "over the transom," if you will, to almost any publishing house, and the likelihood was great that it would be read. It might be rejected, but it would be read, and that was, in fact, how I first got published, with blind submissions to magazines and then to publishing houses. Today, while this is still possible in the magazine field, only one or two major publishing houses [if that] now accept unsolicited manuscripts, and that means that new writers have to either find agents or network well enough to get an editor at a publishing house to agree to look at a manuscript. Why has this happened? Because the computer made production of a manuscript so much easier that publishing houses found themselves deluged with manuscripts. Since publishing is a comparatively low margin business, the publishers have effectively pushed the "screening" of manuscripts back onto agents. In my view, this has tended to stifle originality, because agents are in business for the money, and most don't feel that they can afford to spend time and effort to send a manuscript that has limited appeal to a score of editors--at least not very often. It took me more than a few rejections to find an editor who liked what I wrote, and even to this day, only a comparatively small number of editors like my style. I suspect that I'd have an even harder time breaking in today, and so will new writers whose work doesn't bear a similarity to other work already published.

 

The other difference I see is that young writers tend to be more imitative in their style, but I honestly can't say whether it's because the market only publishes imitative fiction or because that's the majority of what's being written.

 

Another difference lies in the distribution system. When I started, there were roughly 1,500 book wholesalers in the United States. Today, there are literally only a handful. This means that a handful of buyers determine what goes into the wholesale markets. In addition, the wholesale market has shrunk enormously. Thirty years ago, the main publication for a F&SF novel was in paperback, not hardcover. For high midlist or low bestseller list authors, 20 years ago, initial paperback print runs used to be 50,000-100,000 copies. Now, they're 20,000-50,000...and in recent years, publishers have decided not to print mass-market paperbacks of books that haven't sold well in hardcover. Ebooks, of course, were unheard of, and it will be interesting to see to what degree they either supplement or supplant hardcovers and mass-market paperbacks.

 

Although Tolkien came out in the US while I was in college, fantasy was almost non-existent as a genre when I started. Now, by some accounts, it's three quarters, if not more, of the F&SF market...and publishers are having a difficult time in finding good hard SF novels.

 

I could go on and on...but those are some of the more notable changes.

 

 

Q: One thing I'm curious about is, where would you recommend that someone new to your work start reading? (I usually recommend The Magic Engineer, but I might be biased as that was the first of yours that I discovered.)

 

A: One of the problems I have in recommending a "first" book of mine for readers new to my work is that even in one of my series the style, POV, and tense vary from book to book. In the Saga of Recluce, for example, the first book (The Magic of Recluce) is told in first person past tense. The second (The Towers of the Sunset) is in the third person present tense, and the third (The Magic Engineer) is in the third person past tense. I didn't even think about those differences when I was writing the books. In fact, I didn't even consciously think about that until I wrote this. I chose those tenses and viewpoints because, to me, they made sense for the story I was telling. Unfortunately, some readers are thrown by that kind of variation, and it makes recommending a "first" book difficult.

 

Based on current reader reaction, however, I'd actually recommend Imager, the first book in The Imager Portfolio. For more traditional fantasy lovers, in the Recluce Saga, I think, for today's readers, I might actually recommend the first book [chronologically] in the saga, Magi'i of Cyador, although I'm still quite fond of The Magic of Recluce, which was the first Recluce book I wrote, although the events in it come late in the timeline.

 

 

Q: What are some of the essential things that you think a writer needs to know?

 

A: Obviously, a writer needs to know the technical tools required to construct sentences, paragraphs, stories, chapters, and books, and if you're a poet, you need a thorough knowledge of rhyme, meter, and verse forms (in which areas all too many "modern" poets are lacking), not to mention a wide reading knowledge of not only the genre or forms in which you hope to write, but an even wider reading knowledge in non-fiction and the genres in which you never intend to write. I say this because, while I read science fiction from an early age, I never intended to write it. So I read pretty much some of everything and a great deal of history and science and politics and mysteries and thrillers, not to mention "serious" literature, and, of course, poetry.

 

In addition, I believe that every writer should cultivate a core basis of in-depth knowledge about something other than the craft of writing, call it detailed subject matter expertise. Most good writers have exactly that, and what that subject matter expertise is varies greatly. These sorts of knowledge are most valuable because in the end, as a writer, you not only need to know how to write, but you need to know enough to portray people, societies, cultures, and the institutions and technologies, not to mention the economics and politics, that support the culture in which you set your story.

 

It also helps to have a profession other than writing. One of the greatest advantages I've had as a writer was that I didn't write a novel until I'd been working full-time at other things for almost twenty years. Too many young writers [but definitely not all] run out of background and experience before they run out of life, and that leaves them burned-out shells at an early age.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

Q: So, Mr. Modesitt, what do you have coming in the future? What new books and/or stories?

 

A: The next book that will see print will be Scholar [November 8th], the fourth book in The Imager Portfolio, and the first in a new "subseries" which takes place hundreds of years before the first three books. Yes, I know...the dreaded "prequel" books...but these are far enough back that readers won't find spoilers in the first three books, and in fact they may find their preconceptions pushed askew. After that will come the sequel to that, Princeps, which is scheduled for release next May [2012]. And after that will be the third book about that character, which is completed, but not through final editorials, which means that I don't have a publication date, but it's likely to be in early 2013.

 

In between that I have two new stories appearing in anthologies: "The Bronze Man of Mars" in a collection entitled Under the Moons of Mars, which is a tie-in to next year's John Carter movie, and "A More Perfect Union," appearing in The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination. I'll also have a "theme" story appearing online at Tor.com most probably sometime next year.

 

After I finish the four volume Imager Portfolio subseries, I'm committed to a science fiction novel for Tor, and after that I hope to do another Recluce novel, but...we'll see.

 

 

Q: You mentioned that your past experiences have helped you in your writings. Have you made the conscious choice to pull certain experiences into a story, or has it been more of an afterthought that you notice after the story is finished? I am curious as to where the artistic skills shown in Imager came from, and will we ever get to see this work?

 

A: There's an old saying about writing what you know. With the exception of metal-working in the Recluce Saga, I've had some experience with the crafts and skills and professions portrayed in my work, although my experience with music is based on years of exposure to the profession through my wife [and several years of very bad playing of the clarinet on my part]. Needless to say, the first book which had metal-working in it took longer because of the research. I took up painting when I was in high school and painted in oils, on and off, for a little more than ten years. I do have a few paintings hanging in a basement back hall, which probably represents more exposure than they deserve, but that's all the showing they're ever going to get. There is a certain artistic background in the family, since my uncle was a most successful commercial artist [his rendering of "Uncle Ben" still adorns rice packages after almost 70 years], but my physical abilities as an artist weren't anywhere close to his skills or up to my mental concepts, as I mentioned earlier, and I haven't painted in years [except walls]. I also no longer do woodworking, although my daughters do share a cradle I crafted all too many years ago.

 

I do make a conscious decision to write about skills, crafts, and abilities I know, but that's so that I can portray them realistically.

 

 

Q: Speaking of artistry, your covers have been awesome. Do you have input with the cover art at this stage in your career? Or is that still left up to the Marketing Dept.? Would you like more control? Do you have friendly relationships with the artist(s) that do them?

 

A: The choice of the artist is left up to the art director at Tor, and there's some back and forth between my editor and the art director. I generally get a look at the preliminary sketch, but in recent years, I've not had problems with this process [we won't talk about some of the covers earlier in my career, since one, in particular, was a disaster]. I did press to get John Picacio to do the cover for my short story collection (Viewpoints Critical), and Tor was kind enough to commission him to do it--and I still think that cover is awesome.

 

As a matter of fact, I've only ever met three of the artists who've done covers for me, but my relations with those three have been most cordial, and I actually have original cover artwork from each of them.

 

I don't really need more control, so long as I continue to get sketches, just so I can make certain that the cover represents the "spirit" of the book.

 

 

Q: Do you outline everything, or do you wing it? How do you get around times in your story when you don't know enough yet?

 

A: As I've noted elsewhere, I don't outline everything. I do outline as much of the background details--location, geography, maps, culture, government, technology, economics--as I can possibly think of before I start writing in earnest, but often discover that I've left out or forgotten something. So I'm adding to the background outline as I'm writing the story. As for plot...I have the general storyline in my head before I start writing. I also don't always write in sequence, but may write chapters much farther on in the story [of course, I often end up revising them considerably].

 

All in all, I'd have to admit it's a hodgepodge of outline, advance details, rethinking, unthinking, and feeling out. I also work out many details and problems in my mind on my morning exercise walk, and I'm fortunate to be able to keep much of the unwritten part of the story in my mind.

 

 

Q: Mr. Modesitt,

 

You've slowly become my favorite author. I would not be the honest, thoughtful, patient, insightful person I am today without your influence. Still have a ways to go though, keep writing.

 

A: Thank you.

 

I do intend to keep writing, at least so long as my work meets my own standards and so long as readers wish to buy it and read it.

 

I think the greatest, honest fear that a writer should have is the fear that he or she won't know when it's time to set aside the pen, typewriter, or computer. The problem is, of course, that some writers retain their abilities until the day they die (or close to it) and others don't.

 

Again...my thanks for your kind words.

 

 

Q: What authors do you think really hit the idea of magic influencing the environment, as you strive to do? Any before you that you felt particularly influenced this particular aspect of your style?

 

A: It's late, at least for me, as I write this, but frankly, I don't know that many authors, even today, who factor in the impact of magic on the environment. I know that, in at least one book, Brandon Sanderson does to some degree, as does Sharon Shinn in one book. I honestly can't think of any who did so before I did [not that there may not have been some, but if so, I either didn't read them or can't recall them]. That lack of interrelation and impact was one factor motivating me to write The Magic of Recluce.

 

This, of course, brings up the question of whether magic systems the way I write them are truly fantasy. There have been readers and other writers who claim that my approach is not fantasy at all, but science fiction disguised as fantasy. I don't think so, obviously, but there are those who do.

 

 

Q: The late Robert Jordan lived in Charleston, SC and mentioned on several occasions that the storytelling nature of the Southern Culture found in the city had effects in his writing. I noticed that you have lived in Utah for some time which, as I am sure you know already, is also the home of Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card. That is just a sample of the top-notch SF/F talent that appears to call Utah home. Do you feel that the cutlure of the region has affected your writing? Do you feel the region is conducive to the development of so many good writers, or is it just coincidence?

 

Beyond any of the aforementioned regional influences, who/what do you feel has influenced your writing the most?

 

A: I'd already been published for twenty years before I moved to Utah. So I don't think that the Utah "culture" had much to do with nurturing or inspiring me in that respect. Also, Brandon Sanderson grew up largely in Idaho, and Orson Scott Card lived in California and Arizona growing up, as well as in Utah, although both attended BYU. Likewise Dave Wolverton [aka David Farland] grew up in the Pacific Northwest before moving to Utah. Still, for whatever reason, Utah has generated--or attracted--a disproportionate number of F&SF writers, but it may be that "western" states generate writers...or...the possibilities are many. It's definitely an area that's "writer-friendly," especially to the F&SF genre.

 

Certainly, Utah and its geography and its culture have inspired a number of my novels, as well as some short stories, and the Utah culture has certainly influenced both my life and my writing, directly and indirectly, and likely always will.

 

It's extremely hard to say, at least for me, that there was a single influence on my writing that overshadowed all others. My parents introduced me to the written word, and my mother was the one who introduced me to F&SF, while a handful of teachers in high school and college refined and spurred that interest, as have the works of all the writers and poets I've read over the years.

 

 

Q: By the tale of the clock, we have come to the end of our Q&A with SF/F novelist L.E. Modesitt. I want to sincerely offer my thanks to him on behalf of the members and administration of Dragonmount for taking time from his busy schedule to talk with us.

 

If you would like to continue to follow Mr. Modesitt, he has a really awesome website: http://www.lemodesittjr.com/

 

I would like to encourage everyone to read Mr. Modesitt's books; they will give you a lifetime of enjoyment that you can relive again and again.

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