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'Ravensoul' Interview with James

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Joined: 07 Mar 2005
Posts: 1081
Location: Easington, UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 2:58 pm    Post subject: 'Ravensoul' Interview with James Reply with quote

James was recently grilled for an online interview; Lizzy herself was playing host. It's a good interview and can be found here
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Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 674
Location: the wilds of the West

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Drizzt.

This is the rest of the interview for those interested:

1. The Wesmen and their Shamen don?t have magic, but in Demonstorm we were shown that they have certain abilities and connections with the Spirit world and have a degree of protection from the demons because of this. Will their abilities be coming into play in Ravensoul?

JB: Absolutely. They, and the elves, have connections with their dead and in Demonstorm, the concept of a ?dead dimension? was properly introduced. Their ability to actively communicate with the dead and their understanding of the way the realm of the dead is linked with that of the living will play an important part in the book.

2. Balaia is part of a multi-dimensional world, care to explain it? (quantum physics here please Wink )

: Well, without delving into complex dimensional theory (because I can?t?) Balaia is just one dimension in a world that has innumerable dimensions. We discover in Ravensoul that dimensions are gathered in clusters and it is an enemy from another cluster that has found its way to Balaia. Each dimension exists in space and travel is possible between dimensions if you know how. The Balaian cluster houses the dragon world, the dead dimension, the home of the demons and one other ruined dimension that we know about.

I like to think of each dimension as a bubble that sustains life within it, floating around in a void filled with chaos. And a little like planetary alignment with the sun in our solar system, when the dimensions are aligned correctly, those able to harness inter-dimensional power are at their strongest.

3. The whole ethos of the Raven is that individually they are good but together they are awesome, do you think in this modern world we can learn from the Raven?

: Certainly. It?s a simple concept, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I think people, countries, continents, all can learn that together they can cover each other?s weaknesses and benefit from each other?s strengths. Naturally it is not as simple as that, definitely not when you look at the macro level.

Unfortunately, people are greedy, many religions are blind to progress and hate is a massively powerful emotion; and a far simpler one to exhibit than love. The weak retreat to hate because it is where they feel safe. The Raven value love, honour and friendship and these make them strong.

On writing generally:

1. In the Raven series the magic is based on an element, mana; that is everywhere and is manipulated. In the Ascendants, the Ascendants manipulate the energies within earth, fire, water and air. Which system of magic would you like to be able to do and have you a favourite spell?

Mana, I think. I suspect I would not be a great mage and having a single fuel makes things a little more simple. And while the Ascendants can do all sorts of clever stuff with the weather, with fire and with the oceans, there is nothing that really touches the raw power of the Xeteskian spell of Hellfire. Having said that, I?m not sure that?s my favourite. I like spells that can be turned to multiple purposes and for that reason, I think my favourite is probably the ForceCone.

2. I know you play RPG?s online, that the original idea for the Raven stemmed from this, and that you have done competitive paintball, has this all helped develop your skill at writing fighting scenes and do you still act/plan them out?

: I play one RPG online. Guild Wars. And actually, since my son was born, I?ve barely touched it. There are far more important things to be done, after all. Guild Wars doesn?t help me at all in writing fight scenes but I do still refer to my table top RPG experience in terms of the chaos of battle. I don?t act out fight scenes, only individual moves, just to see if they are at all credible. I also try and visualise small scale combat to give me a view on how the combatants are likely to move, react and fight.

The paintball is an interesting one. What that has given me is a taste of fast-paced combat, of how difficult it is to maintain plans and to communicate in the thick of a fight and how the smallest error can end your involvement very quickly indeed.

3. Does being an actor help your writing especially as the Raven series are so character driven?

Yes, I?d say it does. Actually it helps more in the visualisation of scenes than is does with character if I?m honest. I do write in a cinematic style ? particularly action sequences and my experience as an actor helps in the pacing and viewpoint of those scenes.

4. The Raven series in particular has a lot of humour, often gallows, do you find this easy to write and ever tried doing stand up?

Humour is something I never plan. I think that?s a good thing as humour is more potent if it is unexpected. In dialogue, I find that writing one line often begs for a witty response, even in the most dire of circumstances. The Raven have always demonstrated the humour that comes with being old friends. It?s easy, familiar and of course, very knowing. Interestingly, that witty response can provoke an argument instead. I?m often not sure which way a conversation is going to go until I?ve written a few lines to see how the atmosphere is shaping up. But yes, I do find it quite easy, quite natural. It?s the way I think too, always looking for a joke, so it?s not hard to translate to The Raven.

And no, I have never tried stand-up. I did a one-man show when I was trying to earn my Equity card years back and that was painful. Having a pickled onion lobbed at you is not a confidence builder. I?m not a comedy writer though in my dreams I?d love to have a go.

I'd just like to say a really big thanks to James for taking the time to answer all those question so comprehensively Very Happy

Listen to Lizzy, she's always right! Laughing as said by Jovial
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Joined: 21 Sep 2005
Posts: 573
Location: Somerset, UK

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice interview Lizzy!

James the offer for a game of paintball is still there........
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Joined: 05 Jan 2005
Posts: 295
Location: Boston

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would echo Manty's sentiments (apart from the paintball that is! Shocked ) - nice interview Lizzy, thanks for taking the time and trouble to do it and to James, thanks for taking the time and trouble to answer the questions. Very Happy
"Constant Vigilance!"
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Max Power

Joined: 06 Dec 2004
Posts: 467
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoyed reading the interview - good to hear a little about the background/mechanics of developing stories and worlds. Thanks, guys.
If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
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