4 de maio de 2013

Entrevista ao escritor David Anthony Durham

A primeira entrevista internacional do blogue é com o autor norte-americano David Anthony Durham, autor da saga de fantasia "Acácia", o romance histórico "Leões de Cartago" entre outros.

Quero agradecer ao David pela sua disponibilidade em fazer a entrevista. E desejar-lhe toda a sorte nos seus futuros projectos.

Eu decidi publicar a entrevista sem traduzir o seu conteúdo por achar que na tradução a mesma poderia perder o significado.

How did you decide to become a writer?

I wouldn’t really say I “decided” to become a writer. It’s more that I realized that I already was a writer. Born that way, I guess. I’ve always had stories in my head. Initially, I didn’t do anything with them. I would imagine a story, live with it for awhile, and that it would fade away.

When I was thirteen, I had to keep a journal for one of my school classes. I had to write in it regularly. That forced me to write some of the stories I already had in me. That was when I first realized that my stories could be lasting things if they were written down.

I also told stories through role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. I was always the Dungeon Master, and we often went on adventures of my own creation. That was a way to continue to be a storyteller, even if I didn’t yet have a clear focus.

In college finally I got serious about writing fiction. I realized that I needed to put some of those stories on the page, to trap them there and see what I could really make of them. That's what I have done ever since.

When did your interest books started?

When I discovered fantasy. Like so many other writers, I fell in love with reading because of a hobbit's adventures in Middle Earth. And by going through that wardrobe into Narnia. And by sailing the oceans of EarthSea. When I was young, reading was an intense, very private thing for me. My friends weren't particularly avid readers. My family members weren’t that interested in books. So reading was something I did on my own. In many ways I needed the escape I found in fantasy.

You started with historical fiction books, why did you decided to write a fantasy trilogy?

Though I started as a fantasy reader, I got more “serious” in college. I discovered history and became fascinated with it. Combining my interest in history with my desire to tell stories seemed like the perfect way forward. For three novels, that was enough for me.

When I began to think about my fourth novel, though, I wanted a change. My reading had been shifting back toward fantasy. Partly, this was because I had kids and was reading my old favorites with them. But also I found myself reading fantasy and science fiction on my own. I remembered the imaginative potential of the genre, and felt that I could write about serious topics within imagined worlds. What could be better?

How did you build the world of the Acacia trilogy?

I approached it as if I was writing an historical novel. I asked myself the same questions, but instead of researching the answers I created them. I needed to get a feel for the geography of the world and to figure out how these different climates and terrains created different cultures, different racial and ethnic groups. I had to figure out what they traded, which group had resources and which groups needed them. The more I knew about all of these things, the more the history of the world took shape.

The Acacian Empire is a exploitive one, but at the beginning of the book the main characters are young. They don't know the full history and reality of the riches they have inherited. So, readers come to understand how things really at the same time the main characters do. That, to me, is why fiction works. It's not just a matter of having worldbuilding information. You need characters living through a story to lead you into that world.

Do you have much contact with your fans?

Yes, more so than when I wrote historical fiction. The internet is a big part of that. I have a blog and Facebook page. My email is public and I regularly hear from readers. I always write back, too!

Also, I go to science fiction and fantasy conventions: Worldcon, World Fantasy, Readercon, Boskone. I've been to Eastercon and British Fantasy Con in the UK, and twice been to Imaginales in France. I even went to the Elf Fantasy Fair in the Netherlands a few ago! I love meeting fans and hanging out with other writers. I have many, many writer friends now, and each con is like a reunion of old friends. This contact is important because most of the time I'm home with my computer and the thoughts in my head. Getting out an interacting with people keeps me from going too crazy.

Have you ever been to Portugal? If not, would you like to visit Portugal?

I have not been to Portugal. But I would LOVE to visit. Absolutely. Saida de Emergencia once mentioned the possibility of bringing me over, but it never happened. I hope the opportunity comes up again.

It may be easier in a few years. My wife is Scottish, and I've lived in Scotland before. We're in the United States now, but we're considering returning to Scotland in a few years. If so, it'll be much easier to get across to Europe. And Portugal is at the top of my list. So... expect to see me over there before long!

Which historical civilization do you like the most?

Well, I wouldn't want to actually have lived in very many other time periods. Things are rough now, but every time period I can think of had its share of dire problems. So I'll stay here in the 21st Century!

But in terms of fiction... it is fun to voyage into far away times. I've written about the ancient Roman period with Pride of Carthage. That world continues to fascinate me. Ancient Egypt interests me a lot. I am working on a fantasy series for kids set in Egypt.

Do you have a favorite character from one of your novels?

Many, of course. They all mean a lot to me. If I had to pick one this minute I would chose Mena from the Acacia books. I love that's she's physically small but incredibly talent at fighting. She's got a violent gift, but behind it she has a thoughtful, generous mind. Her aerial fighting scenes on Elya's back were some of my favorites to write.

Who are your favorite writers?

Too many to name! I like different writers for very different reasons, and I read in many genres. Fantasy: George RR Martin, Ursula K LeGuin, Neil Gaiman. Heroic Historical Fiction: Bernard Cornwell. Space Opera: Alastair Reynolds, Ian Banks, Richard K Morgan. Contemporary American Fiction: Michael Chabon, T.C. Boyle, Toni Morrison. Science Fiction: Octavia Butler, Kim Stanley Robinson, Neal Stephenson. Horror: Dan Simmons, Stephen King. Crime: George Pelecanoes, Dennis LeHane, Ian Rankin. Young adult fantasy: Paolo Bacigalupi, Margot Lanagan. Children's fantasy: Jonathon Stroud, Angie Sage, Suzanne Collins, Kai Meyer. World Literature: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Milan Kundera, Ben Okri, Mario Vargas Llosa.

I could go on and on and still be naming "favorite" writers. They're all important to me! I wish that I was able to read more non-English fantasy. Unfortunately, very little of it gets translated. One day, I hope.

What is your favorite book?

The next great one that I haven't read yet.

Would you like to leave a message for your Portuguese fans?

Thank you for being interested in Acacia. I very much hope you like it and spread the word about the series. If you do, I would jump at the chance to come to Portugal and eat and drink and talk with you. I hope that happens!

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