| Elitist Book Reviews: Steven, thank you so much for chatting with us for a few minutes. We want to start off by giving you a few moments to brag a bit. What do you think makes your series so great? |
Steven Erikson: If I was to brag about this series I would have missed the whole point of my own series, which would be a bad thing. For me writing is an exercise in humility. It always astonishes me when I prowl the hate-box (funny how the internet was meant to be a love-box, only to have it increasingly sway in the opposite direction … well, not funny. Disturbing) and read from fans of the genre comments on my coming across as arrogant, either in interviews or in my fiction. For my own sanity I can only assume that by subverting the tropes of the genre in my fantasy fiction, I am somehow perceived as attacking the lovers of the genre, which I am emphatically not doing. I grew up reading and loving the same stuff they’re now reading: but as a writer I wanted to twist it a little, do something different, and avoid the lazy route of reiterating what other writers have already done. This has landed me in the occasional shit-storm, where fans in their tribes feel it necessary to put down other writers in order to build up their favorite writers. Uhm, it’s not a competition, mates, and when I’m being judgmental, it’s self-directed. As writers we each participate to make up the whole genre, and it’s a big, flexible genre. For myself, I do hope that fans of my work read and enjoy as much fantasy fiction as is out there, and to forever remain open to new voices; and, most importantly, to not feel threatened by new takes on the genre. You lose nothing by being open-minded and you lose everything when you shut the door, bolt the lock, and hide from every challenge.
Your question alarms me in that you assume that I feel my series is great. That’s for readers to decide, not me. I did the best I could, with what talents I possess. It’s done, it’s out there. Maybe it’ll swim, maybe it’ll sink.
EBR: THE CRIPPLED GOD is out—and it is fantastic. It’s been a long and epic ride. What kind of emotions are you feeling with the conclusion to this ten-book portion of the story?
Erikson: Exhausted, emptied out, relieved. In The Crippled God I was writing towards scenes I had imagined in my head for nearly a decade. The pressure was immense; in fact, this whole series has been written with that pressure. It was a huge series, written out of heart-break, and for me it was a long, drawn-out search for hope. When it was done, I felt numb. Didn’t write a word for six weeks – my longest drought ever as a professional writer.
When I am asked for advice by beginning writers, I always say ‘finish what you start,’ and it turns out that advice was as applicable to me as to them. I finished what I started and that is a good feeling indeed. In fact, it’s the real reward to all this, because it means that you can walk away, head held high – and I recommend it to everyone, in all endeavors you may undertake.