Yesterday, I teamed up with the good folk at Suvudu and hosted a live chat with Guy Gavriel Kay. Fans dropped by and asked question of Kay, and I slipped several of my own in there. It’s certainly an interesting, informal interview with one of my favourite authors.

My favourite quote came in response to my question about his work on The Silmarillion:

One thing many of your readers may not know is that you worked with Christopher Tolkien as he edited THE SILMARILLION, a seminal work of his father, J.R.R. Tolkien. At the time, you were a young, unpublished author.

What did this experience teach you about the craft, and how did it effect your path to becoming a leading genre writer?

Well, we worked in an English village, so in the evenings I learned a lot about beer. The Plough and The Black Horse. My two pubs…

More seriously …

One thing I learned was the number of false starts and dead ends even a genius gets involved in, even on a book that ends up as masterful. I received a very early education in the degree to which time and effort are central to craft. Obvious truth, but sometimes one needs to SEE it.

I am constantly grateful to my readers … I sell enough books to be ABLE to take my time. One can be more successful by being prolific, but I have always believed that quality demands patience, and I am TRYING for quality.

It’s an interesting observation in a current climate that puts so much pressure on authors like Scott Lynch and Patrick Rothfuss for taking longer than usual on their novels.

Guy also talks a fair bit about Under Heaven, its influences; whether it’s connected to his other work; how history affects and directs the stories he tells, whether he’s an outliner or a free-writer, and jokes around with a few of his fans. It’s a great way to get a bit of insight into Kay and his work.

  • Ryan June 4, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Aidan- Thanks for the GGK post. He’s such an affable, interesting, funny guy. Some of the topics discussed were similar to those he spoke about when I saw him about a month ago at an interview/signing event. The bit about the “Grace Notes” is interesting. He REALLY seems to appreciate and love his readers, and I like that he tips his cap, mid-narrative, to his faithful fans. So cool.

    Thanks again!