Paul S. Kemp and his twins
HEIDI'S PICK SIX
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I have several but if I must pick only one, I’ll go with Erevis Cale, my signature character in the Forgotten Realms (a shared-world, sword and sorcery setting from Wizards of the Coast). Cale is very much the anti-hero -- a one-time professional assassin who struggles throughout the books to leave behind his past, create himself anew, and chart a different course. But the past proves quite an anchor.
Through the course of his stories, Cale starts to peel away from his past (or at least put it to good use) and accept who he is, even while he undergoes profound emotional, physical, and spiritual transformations. Cale’s story has been a lot of fun to write and seems to resonate with the readers. You do not need to be immersed in the Forgotten Realms setting to enjoy the stories (or so I think, anyway).
2. Tell me about your travels.
3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee. And I should note that it is my firm belief that life is too short for bad coffee, bad scotch, bad wine, bad cigars, or bad company. My wife got me a French press for my last birthday and it makes a spectacular cup of Columbian.
4. What else can you do besides write?
Something interesting? Hell, not much. :-)
How about this -- I can hit a softball three hundred forty feet. I used to play on a tournament travel team. Hit clean up, played left field. Been a while since I’ve played, though. Family and writing have cut down on my softball time and I think my days on the diamond are now over. Wouldn’t have it any other way. :-)
5. Who are you reading right now?
Steven Brust’s, The Book of Jhereg, on the recommendation of a friend (it’s a compilation of the first three Vlad Taltos novels). I’m enjoying it overall, though Vlad’s voice just doesn’t quite ring true to me at this point. Perhaps it gets explained later, but he seems a bit too full of humor to be a professional killer. I like my assassins a bit colder and emotionally detached, thank you kindly. :-)
6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?
12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I usually have a very comprehensive outline for my novels, and a brief, three-act, two page outline for my short stories. In both cases the outlines serve merely as guides, and I deviate from them as appropriate. But I think it’s quite difficult to write a layered story if you do not have a very firm idea of where it’s going to end up before you start it. Some writers can do it on the fly. I’m not one of them. I wrote my first novel (still a “trunk novel”) without an outline and it shows in the plotting.
13. Celebrity crush.
14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
In books – Michael Moorcock’s Elric series, especially in terms of tone. Elric is one of the finest examples of an anti-hero (a tragic anti-hero, at that) that I’ve ever read in fantasy fiction. My writing of Erevis Cale is heavily inspired by Moorcock’s portrayal of Elric. Also R.A. Salvatore’s Drizz’t novels. Bob writes truly excellent sword and sorcery fiction, well paced and well plotted. His popularity makes it fashionable among some critics to dismiss his work. That’s their loss. I’ve learned a lot about plotting and pacing from Bob’s books (I’ve also learned a few things about the business from Bob).
15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Paul S. Kemp lives in Michigan. He has written seven novels for Wizards of the Coast, all set in the Forgotten Realms, including the NY Times hardcover bestseller, Resurrection. His new novel featuring Erevis Cale, entitled Shadowstorm ,will be released this August. His most recent short story publications include contributions to Horrors Beyond II from Elder Signs Press, and "The Spinner" to Sails and Sorcery: Nautical Tales of Adventure from Fantasist Enterprises.
Sails and Sorcery:Tales of Nautical Fantasy