Interview with Scifi/Fantasy author Anthony Reynolds

November 18, 2012

This post was written by Salmaan Dewar

UncategorizedWriting Tips  One comment

Hi Everyone,

Heres a quick interview I took with the totally awesome bloke and scifi/fantasy Author Anthony Reynolds. Hope you enjoy!!

Also, check out some of his great work which can be found at www.blacklibrary.com

Enjoy,

Simon Dewar
@herodfel

1. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from?

My names Anthony and I’m an alc… no, wait, that’s not right. Let’s start that again.
Ahem.

I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, but buggered off in my early 20’s. I headed
to the UK and worked for 6 years in Games Worksop’s Design Studio, became friends
with lots of very cool folk and learnt loads, before heading back to Australia (I missed
the sun) and starting to write on a freelance basis.

I’ve since written seven novels, a handful of novellas and bunch of short stories
for Black Library. I’ve also done a writing and editing work for a bunch of other
companies and done a little writing for computer games too.

2. When did you first start writing and what attracted you to it?

I remember writing an Astro Boy story when I was about 6. I think that’s when I
decided I wanted to be a writer. It certainly wasn’t the only thing I wanted to be,
though. I wanted to be a dinosaur for a while, but that – sadly – didn’t work out.

There’s something pretty magical about getting completely swept along with the story
and characters in a good book. The idea of actually creating something that might
create that feeling for others was really exciting.

3. Who are you literary influences and have there been any pivotal or defining works that you’ve read that really inspired in the early days?

In primary school it was all about Asterix, The Hobbit and things like Fighting Fantasy
books, then Dragonlance and Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising sequence. In high
school and into uni I started reading authors like Raymond E. Feist, Charles de Lint,
Neil Gaiman and David Gemmell. Gemmell is probably the biggest single influence for
me.

4. What drew you to writing Sci/Fi and writing for Black Library in particular? do you do tabletop gaming as well? (i’d kinda be suprised if you dont have a word bearers chaos spacemarines army! lol)

I’ve been a huge Games Workshop fan from about the age of eight or nine (a long time
ago!). The background and imagery has always intrigued me. There’s so much depth
and darkness to it.

I do play – I was a Games Developer for a number of years after all – though not very
often these days. Sadly, I don’t have a Word Bearers army – yet. I do have a Death
Guard force, though.

5. What is it like writing for one of the few really big sci/fi franchises? Is it easy to write stories for Black Library or are they really strict about what they let in? Have you had anything rejected or heavily edited by them?

It’s pretty cool gig. I’ve been a fan of the setting and its characters since I was a kid,
so it’s a privilege to get to write in the Warhammer worlds. I know the background
pretty well, so don’t tend to run into any particular problems on that front.

6. You wrote some totally badass novels about the Word Bearers chaos space marines legion. What was it like taking on the mantle of one of the nastier groups in the Warhammer 40k universe? Was it daunting and where did you learn to write up a crazy slaughterfest like that?

The XVII Legion aint very nice, but I liked the idea that they don’t see themselves as
the bad guys – they truly believe in what they do.

It was a little daunting starting Dark Apostle as that was the first long piece of 40K
fiction I’d written – and only my second novel. I was also a little more familiar writing
Warhammer than 40K, since I’d written in the world much more while in the Design
Studio. Having said that, I probably enjoy writing 40K more than Warhammer at the
moment.

I wanted Dark Apostle to be a really visceral and fairly brutal book. I was purposefully
trying to up the stakes as the book progressed, trying to come up with increasingly
nasty situations and images. Actually, I edited some parts of it before submitting it, as
some of it was a little too nasty, I thought.

7. You’ve also written fantasy, do you prefer scifi over fantasy or vice versa? Did you find anything particularly challenging working in one genre or the other?

As I said above, I’m enjoying writing 40K more at the moment, but that changes
depending on what project I’m working on. I tend to get fairly engrossed in what I’m
writing. For me, I think finding that thing that grabs me about a certain faction and
getting excited by it when I’m writing is really important.

For the Dark Eldar bits of Dark Disciple I got really into the idea of the Dark Eldar, and
while I didn’t initially think they would grab me hugely, while working out and writing
about the White Consuls for Dark Creed I started thinking ‘these guys are pretty damn
cool.’ That’s always a good sign. Writing from Kharn’s perspective in Chosen of
Khorne was heaps of fun…

8. Do you have any new 40K projects on the cards that you’re allowed to speak about?

Probably not without being hunted down by my editor…

9. Do you have any non-BL projects that you’d like to talk about?

I’ve got a tonne of ideas that I really need to get off the ground. There’s an urban
fantasy/weird fantasy/modern mythology book that I’ve had buzzing around in my
head for years that I really want to get started on in the next year or so. I’ve also
started writing the opening scenes for a young adult fantasy novel that I’d like the
explore a bit more. It’s just time, really.

10 . Do you have any advice that you’d like to give aspiring writers?

The usual… Write. Read. Get feedback from people whose opinions you respect.
Examine books you love and try to get a handle on what makes them work so well for
you.

Probably the most important thing – and something I need to remind myself of
from time to time – is not to wait for inspiration to strike. If you do, you’ll never get
anything written. Just set some time aside and do it. Stop pissing about worrying
about it – just bloody do it!

One comment to Interview with Scifi/Fantasy author Anthony Reynolds

  • Damien  says:

    I love the cover art on those books, but I then find myself thinking: “how uncomfortable…. does it have air conditioning?”

    Great interview. Keep them coming.

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