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Interview de Kevin J.Anderson VO

Interview de Kevin J.Anderson VO

ActuSF : How did you discover science fiction ? What in particular attracted you in this specific genre ? And, finally, what made you decide you to write in it ?
Kevin J.Anderson : From the time I was very young, I was captivated by science fiction and monster movies. I started making up stories of my own, even at 8 years old, and they all seemed to be science fiction. It was what interested me -- all the imagination, all the ideas.

ActuSF : How did you come to write in preexisting universes like Star Wars, Star Trek or X Files ?
Kevin J.Anderson : I had established myself as a professional author first, writing many original books and stories, which my editor and publisher liked. When the opportunity to do new Star Wars novels arose, the publisher suggested my name to Lucasfilm, and they liked my books as well. So I got the invitation.

ActuSF : By the way, what's your opinion about these movies and TV shows ?
Kevin J.Anderson : I love them, of course. I was a big fan of Star Wars, Star Trek, and X-Files before I ever agreed to work on them. The same is true for my Superman and Batman novels for DC Comics, THE LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON and ENEMIES & ALLIES. It's too much work to write in a universe you don't enjoy.

ActuSF : What's your method when you're working on this novels ? Do you perfectly know all the episodes ? Do you discuss with scriptwriter ?
Kevin J.Anderson : For Star Wars, I had watched the original three films countless times and studied them carefully; then I read the background material, other novels, even gaming guides. For X-FILES I had indeed seen every episode, and I flew out to Hollywood to meet with the show's creator Chris Carter and discussed my ideas with him.

ActuSF : Do you take a certain form of pleasure, when immersing yourself in these universes ? There is maybe some kind of comfort in this exercise ?
Kevin J.Anderson : Yes, when I was working on X-FILES, for instance, I had videotapes of all the episodes from the studio; I had the music soundtrack, and I just played everything all the time, keeping myself immersed. I used the same technique with Star Wars. I was a fan before I started, and an even bigger fan while I was working on the books.

ActuSF : What about Dune. How did you come to work with Brian Herbert ?
Kevin J.Anderson : DUNE was always my favorite science fiction novel. I had read all of Frank Herbert's sequels, and all of his other novels as well. When he passed away in 1986, it was clear that he intended to write more stories in that universe, since CHAPTERHOUSE DUNE ends on such a cliffhanger, with the story incomplete. After I had established myself as a successful writer, through a mutual friend I met Brian Herbert and suggested to him that the story needed to be finished. When we found Frank Herbert's notes detailing other parts of the history of the Dune series, we realized there were many other stories to be told.

ActuSF : How do you consider this major work of science fiction, and the work of its creator ?
Kevin J.Anderson : I think it's the best science fiction novel. Frank Herbert changed the entire genre with the publication of Dune because he wrote a story that had such a scope and depth to demonstrate the true possibilities of science fiction. No one else has ever been able to match it.

ActuSF : Do you ever feel hindered by the fear of committing sacrilege ? Do you feel entirely free to develop your stories ? Isn't Frank Herbert's ghost always watching behind your back ?
Kevin J.Anderson : Frank Herbert's ghost is always watching behind our backs, but that is a good thing. He left an incredible legacy for us, and Brian and I have to be sure we maintain the quality and complexity. Thankfully, now that we've just published our 11th book in the series, the fans continue to follow us and express their enthusiasm for new volumes. When we create our stories, we have to stay within the boundaries of the Dune novels Frank Herbert wrote, but it's a big universe and there is plenty of room for us to express our creativity.

ActuSF : What kind of relation do you have with Dune's followers ? How did they react when they learnt that the master's work would be continued ?
Kevin J.Anderson : Anyone who has read CHAPTERHOUSE DUNE knows that Frank Herbert meant to continue the story, so we're not making up novels that don't need to be told. Because Frank Herbert's very last published novel (MAN OF TWO WORLDS) was a collaboration with his son Brian, and he had asked Brian to write further Dune books with him, it's certainly a legitimate effort. Some of the fans were skeptical when they first heard of the project, and some even posted very negative comments before they read the first novel, HOUSE ATREIDES. After the book came out, though, we received numerous apology letters from the complainers.

ActuSF : What's your response to people who claim that your work can't compete with Franck Herbert's ?
Kevin J.Anderson : We don't believe we (or anyone) can match the genius of Frank Herbert. Our style isn't the same as Frank Herbert's, but remember that Frank Herbert's own style varied greatly, even from DUNE to DUNE MESSIAH. We have a very active fan following, with millions of the new Dune books in print around the world in many languages; and of course, if the fans prefer, they can always just reread Frank's originals.

ActuSF : You've collaborated with many people such as Brian Herbert, Doug Beason, Dean Koontz, Rebecca Moesta. We would like to ask you, why this choice ? What did you get out of this ? Which of these have meant the most, for you ?
Kevin J.Anderson : All of my closest friends are other writers, and I really enjoy exchanging ideas, brainstorming, making up stories with other people. I enjoy learning from fellow authors, and when we work together we create something neither of us could do individually. Rebecca Moesta and I have been married for 18 years, so by far my closest working relationship is with her.

ActuSF : Could you tell us how The Saga of Seven Suns has took form in your mind ?
Kevin J.Anderson : I wanted to write a giant story that took advantage of all the resources of the genre -- in a way, Saga of Seven Suns is like a love letter to science fiction, with a huge cast of characters, and monsters, and aliens, and planets. I had read many multi-volume fantasy series, and I thought it was about time somebody did it with science fiction.

ActuSF : What did you want to do with this series ?
Kevin J.Anderson : This is tale that truly requires all seven big novels to tell.not just one book and other adventures added on. I planned the whole thing from the beginning and developed and expanded it as it went on. I want people to read it and understand just how exciting the field of science fiction can be.

ActuSF : Tell us about Ildirans and Klikiss. How do you see them ?
Kevin J.Anderson : The Ildirans are a humanlike race, but with significant differences; in a fantasy novel, they would be like elves, a capricious and ancient race that's on the wane, but still very powerful. The Klikiss are a lost race, a civilization of intelligent insects, who have left ruined cities behind as well as ominous beetle-like robots built in their own image.

ActuSF : Do you ever consider writing more novels in this universe ?
Kevin J.Anderson : I think it was very important to END the story when I promised to. Readers don't like it when the author keeps stringing them along from book to book, long after a series should have been completed. So "Seven Suns" is a finished story. However, I did create a large universe with lots of planets and characters; I am considering returning to that universe with other stories.

Kevin J.Anderson : However, I am now in the middle of a very ambitious fantasy epic, "Terra Incognita," about sailing ships and sea monsters and the crusades, set in a world much like Europe during the Age of Discovery. The first novel, THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, came out in June, and I have just complete the second, THE MAP OF ALL THINGS. Another unique aspect of this is a crossover rock CD, by the supergroup Roswell Six, that converts part of the story into a rock opera. (Rebecca and I wrote all the lyrics.) You can see the book and the CD at www.anderzoneshop.com.

ActuSF : What are your current projects ? On what are you working on at the moment ?
Kevin J.Anderson : THE MAP OF ALL THINGS just went into production, and Rebecca and I are working on the lyrics for a second rock-opera CD for that story. And Brian Herbert and I are now writing an original science fiction book (not related to Dune), called HELLHOLE. Before the end of the year, I have to start the third & final "Terra Incognita" novel.

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