Allan Batchelder, author of the Immortal Treachery series, will answer your questions!

Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Khartun, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. Khartun

    Khartun Journeyed there and back again

    That's right! Allan has agreed to answer questions from BFB members.

    Allan, or @ABatch as he is known here, is the author of the Immortal Treachery series. If you haven't read it yet I highly recommend that you do. It is fantastic! It is a five book series and the first three are out now. They are:

    Steel, Blood and Fire
    As Flies to Wanton Boys
    Corpse Cold


    Check out Allan's website and twitter account.

    OK guys and gals, let 'er rip!
     
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  2. Khartun

    Khartun Journeyed there and back again

    Your website states that Immortal Treachery is (planned) as five books. As of now, is this still the case or do you think it might be longer?
     
  3. Khartun

    Khartun Journeyed there and back again

    What is your writing routine like? Do you set aside a specific amount of time to write each day? Do you outline everything before you start writing? Do you like to listen to music while you write?
     
  4. Khartun

    Khartun Journeyed there and back again

    If someone was going to make Steel, Blood and Fire into a movie, who would you like to see play Tarmun Vykers and The End?
     
  5. kenubrion

    kenubrion Journeyed there and back again

    Allan, where did the idea of Tarmun Vykers, the ultimate anti-hero, come from?
     
  6. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    It's going to be five. But I've already got a new trilogy in mind.
     
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  7. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Like a lot of fantasy readers, I grew up reading all the Conan novels. As I got older I encountered Beowulf and Ulysses. And growing up in the 60's and 70's, I likewise adored Bruce Lee, Toshiro Mifune's Yojimbo character and Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name. All of these inspired me. I would also say there's some Sigfried from Wagner's Ring and even some Dr. House. Yes, I know that sounds bizarre, but I'm just really drawn to this idea of being exceptional AND a complete *&^%!
     
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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  8. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    At one point, I had signed on with a start-up publishing company, and they already had someone in mind for Vykers. I can't recall who they wanted, only that I didn't agree. This is going to sound very weird, but I like Jason Statham's energy. Vykers is more charismatic than attractive, and, above all, must radiate danger. As for the End, I'm not sure. Somebody pale and creepy with a hair trigger. Let me think on it!
     
  9. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    I try to write at least five hundred words a night. That may not sound like a lot compared to the likes of King or Abercrombie, but, at the moment, I do have to hold down a full-time job in order to make ends meet. From 500 words a night, it takes me a year to write a draft, rewrite, send it through my beta readers, etc, and then publish. If I could devote more time to writing, I could really churn 'em out! :)

    In terms of planning, I read somewhere that there are "Planners" and "Pantsers." I was secretly ashamed of being a Pantser until I heard a Lois Lowry (The Giver) interview in which she confessed to being one, too, more or less. So, I know exactly how I want the story to begin, I know the major plot points and twists, and I know the ending before I start writing. But I also enjoy the happy accidents that pop into my head while writing. For example, in As Flies to Wanton Boys, I didn't know Spirk was going to use Long's name as an alias until I wrote it down, and it developed into a nice little bit of confusion for other characters later on. Corpse Cold took longer, in part, because I'd wanted the finale to be a battle on a frozen lake. When I saw the last Hobbit film, I thought *&^%! I'm gonna have to rethink my ending now!
     
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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  10. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    And thank YOU for your constant support and encouragement. It is much appreciated!
     
  11. TomTB

    TomTB The Master Tweeter Staff Member

    Hi Allan, thanks for doing this :). How long have you been writing for? Can you give us a synopsis, for those of us that haven't read your books yet, of the style, content & influences of your Immortal Treachery series?
     
  12. ofer

    ofer Journeyed there and back again

    "The" Statham is a pretty good choice, actually. Always had a weakness for his movies.
    As for me, when I read the books I sort of imagined Vin Diesel playing Vykers, who struck me as fantasy's answer to Riddick.

    My questions:
    1. When I first read Steel, Blood and Fire a few months ago I said here something along the lines of "People who liked Malazan will probably like this one as well" and looking at the list of people here who read and liked your books, most of them, including myself, are big Malazan fans. Were you inspired or influenced by some of Malazan aspects when writing Immortal Treachery?

    2. Your profile says you're 53 years old - meaning you published your first book at the age of 51. What made you do it? Was the story and characters something that germinated over years or decades and you felt the time has come to put it into a book, or did you just wake up one day and decided "Today I'm gonna start writing a fantasy series with a badass Anti-hero main character"?
     
  13. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    I like Vin Diesel, too. Thought of sending him a copy of my first book...just for fun.

    1. I read the first release of Gardens of the Moon years ago. It took me a while to rise to Erikson's level -- he demands a LOT of his readers -- but the pay-off is huge. Nobody ends a book like him. Then I got all my friends hooked, too. LOVE Karsa! You might also be thinking of HIS historian and mine. They serve different purposes, do different jobs, though. And then there's his use and treatment of the military, which I gather was partially inspired by Glen Cook (I LOVE the Black Company,too). Given the times we live in, I really thought the military element was crucial, so, yes, I'd say that impacted me.

    2. Actually, parts of Spirk's story date back to 1985, when I mostly wrote satirical short stories for friends. I put off writing a novel for decades because a) I was acting, and b) helping raise my son! Also, and this will make some readers laugh, I wasn't sure what constituted a paragraph. I mean, when it ended and the next began. Finally, I just said "Screw it! I'm an English teacher! It starts and ends whenever I say." Of course, there's more to it than that, but you can't let fear of embarrassment prevent you from writing. In terms of general writing, I've been doing it forever: first short stories, then plays (being an actor), then screenplays (in the misguided belief I could make money), then dialogue for computer games, sentiments for greeting cards, stand up comedy material...and then Steel, Blood & Fire. In part, I did it on a dare. But my dad died at 52, so I also felt a need to get on with this dream if I was going to do it at all. That also speaks to my overall pace of a book a year. I want to tell my stories before MINE is told. I would everyone to do the same, 'cause that clock is ticking, folks!

    Regarding Vykers specifically, as I think I mentioned elsewhere, I grew up watching Toshiro Mifune's Yojimbo character, Eastwood's Man with No Name, Bruce Lee's work, etc., and that, along with everything I read, just gave me an abiding love for the BAD good guys.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  14. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Howdy, Tom.

    I've been "writing" forever. As I posted in another response, I basically went through all kinds of genres, styles and purposes before settling on/in novels. So...thirty years total, but only a few in novels?

    Synopsis. Hmmm. I don't want to provide any spoilers...the first book, Steel, Blood & Fire may seem, on its surface, like a fairly conventional work of epic fantasy, that is: hero is called upon to face unprecedented bad guy who threatens to destroy the world. But I've tried to defy expectations in many ways. I've got a review coming on Sept. 4th from the Midwest Book Review that sums things up nicely: "What other fantasy would include gigolos, autistic characters, and supernatural terrors alike?" I try to turn clich├ęs on their heads, and (nobody's mentioned this), my books are chock full of Easter Eggs! Anyway, the first and second books are free-standing adventures, but by the third, I figure (hope!) the reader's invested enough to follow my lead.

    With regards to influences and style, I really love and admire the works Erikson, Abercrombie, Cook, (Tad) Williams, Moorcock, (yes) George R. R. Martin et al. I would say my books are epic fantasy, leaning towards if not outright grimdark.
     
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  15. kenubrion

    kenubrion Journeyed there and back again

    I think Aoife is even more interesting than Vykers and her character and powers development is fascinating. What was your inspiration for such a complex person?
     
  16. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Well, I think Joss Whedon expressed a growing concern recently when he talked about the dearth of strong female characters in popular fiction. Of course, women have been saying this forever, but it's nice to see something finally happening. My inspiration? Um...three sisters, a mother and a wife...all of whom are (or were, in the case of my late mother), fairly powerful, independent women. And you meet a lot of strong women in theater, too. Besides, if Vykers was the only interesting character in my book, that'd be like a one-ingredient salad!
     
  17. sopranosfan

    sopranosfan Journeyed there and back again

    If you could coauthor a book with somebody who would it be? Not necessarily that you would, just who do you think you could mesh with either because of styles being similar or maybe even you think his/her strengths might blend well with something you struggle with or don't like.
     
  18. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    Wow, what a great question! I could go so many different ways with this. On the one hand, you could sure learn a lot with someone like Stephen King. I know he's a different genre, but, man, think of his wealth of experience. On the other hand, Erikson's background in archeology really appeals to me. Tad Williams is pretty adventurous in terms of his range of topics/stories. It's a hard choice, but I think I'd have the most FUN with Stephen King.

    Now, who would I NOT like to work with (mostly out of fear or intimidation)? George R. R. Martin. Michael Moorcock. Weirdly, I'd put Erikson on THIS list, too, because I'm not sure my style rises to his often lyrical, almost ethereal standard.
     
  19. Khartun

    Khartun Journeyed there and back again

    Now, when I read your next book Tarmun's dialog will have an English accent.
     
  20. ABatch

    ABatch Ran bridges next to Kaladin

    It's funny you should say that. I met Joe Abercrombie when he came to Seattle and asked him if he heard all his characters in dialect (the answer is yes). He's a witty, charismatic guy...but he sure keeps aspiring writers at arm's length!
     

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