lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2015

Interview: Sebastien de Castell

After a week I'm back with a new interview's section wich I'm very excited with and I hope to meet authors that I like or find more interesting to know them more closely.

To start, I've had the pleasure to interview Sebastien de Castell, who I discover thanks to the David Gemmell Awards. I enjoyed a lot his first novel, Traitor's Blade, you can read my review in this blog (sorry but the review is in Spanish  only)

Q: Could you introduce yourself for the Spanish readers that don’t know your work yet?

A: I'm a Canadian writer (currently living in The Netherlands) of swashbuckling fantasy novels, though if you’d asked me that question two years ago you’d have received a different answer and two years from now you might get a different one still. I love to travel—both literally and figuratively—and that’s led to frequent changes in my career. Aside from writing novels, I still perform as a musician and take on the odd speaking gig.

Q: Traitor’s Blade is your first novel and first instalment of the Greatcoat series. Could you give us an introduction of Traitor’s Blade? What differentiate your book from other fantasy novels? 

A: Traitor’s Blade is a swashbuckling fantasy novel in which three disgraced Greatcoats—swordfighting magistrates who travelled the country to enforce the law—struggle to fulfil their dead King’s final, mysterious mission. Along the way they’re pitted against thuggish Knights, deadly Assassins, and a conspiracy to put a puppet ruler on the throne.

What most people enjoy about the series is the mixture of swashbuckling adventure with a touch of humour but set in a dark and corrupt world. The easiest way to think about it is The Three Musketeers meets Game of Thrones. For me, as a writer, what I love is the friendship between the characters and the way they rely on each other.

Q: The Greatcoats have a flavour of the Three Musketeers, has been Alexander Dumas an inspiration? Any other writers/works that have influence you during the creation process?

A: Although there are some parallels with the Three Musketeers, in many ways I’m more influenced by the Horatio Hornblower books by C.S. Forrester. I always loved the way the main character had to think his way through fights rather and find ingenious ways out of trouble. I tend to draw from a wide variety of media when it comes to influences on my writing style. Some of the best dialogue around happens in television, especially from writers like Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing.) In terms of novelists, I try to bring as much as I can from other genres into my fantasy writing. Raymond Chandler’s books have some of the best descriptions I’ve ever read, while a lot of more literary writers like Ann Patchett give their characters nuance and subtlety.

Q: One of the highlights of your first novel is all the great descriptions of sword play. I learned from your web page that you are fight choreographer, how you become a fight choreographer? Where does this passion come from? Was easy to translate all this choreography into the book? 

A: I used to choreograph swordfights but I’ve moved on since then. I’d always been fascinated with swordplay and was heavily into fencing for a while, from there I started working with more historical weapons and choreographing for theatre. Ultimately I think what that experience gave me was the confidence not to become obsessed over the movements of the blades but rather the drama of the fight itself. I try to make sure each fight scene or action scene is a kind of puzzle that both Falcio, as the main character, and the reader themselves must solve.

Q: Knight’s Shadow, the second book, is already published and Saint’s Blood is following next, what can we expect in these new novels? 

A: Knight’s Shadow takes Falcio and the other Greatcoats on a darker journey than the first book in which they will come to question everything they once believed about their lost King and the Greatcoats themselves. Saint’s Blood delves more into the strange philosophy of the world in which the stories are set, and forces Falcio to try and solve a set of murders that may lead him to a very dangerous suspect. Both books maintain some of the playful banter, but they also deal with some of the darker thematic subjects of the series.

Q: In your webpage you are starting to talk about one new series with a western flavour, call it Spellsinger. Could you give us a more insight about this new project and when we can expect it?

A: Spellslinger is a six-book series that will be coming out sometime late in the Fall of 2016. It begins as a young adult series in which the main character, Kellen, must find a way to survive without magic amongst a people for whom magic is everything. As the series progresses, it crosses over into adult fantasy. I’m really excited about building out all these crazy systems of magic that show up in the book. Also, it has a talking raccoon who’s prone to blackmail and the occasional murder.

Q: This year you’ve been nominate for the David Gemmell’s Morningstar Award, where you expecting that nomination? How the nomination has affected you and the book?

A: I was surprised by the nomination—it’s hard to make such a short list when there are so many big fantasy debuts out there. I think what’s nice about being nominated is that it gets people to take a second look at a book. Sometimes there are so many choices it’s easy to be skipped over, but every time someone hears something good about a book it makes them consider it for their next read. 

Q: If I am not wrong your first book has been already translated into French and German, any possibility we see your books in Spanish?

A: I’d love to see the books translated into Spanish! Alas, these kind of deals can take a great deal of time and usually only happen once a series is already famous. I was incredibly fortunate that the Germans, French, and Bulgarians picked up the series just on the basis of reading the first book. So if you meet any great Spanish fantasy publishers, tell them to take a look!

Q: What fantasy/scifi authors have most influenced you? Which are your top books? What book will you recommend us? 

A: I guess my favourites would be Roger Zelazny, Steven Brust, and Neil Gaiman. I say that because I could probably pick up any book from one of those authors and enjoy it. Right now I’m reading Malice by John Gwynne (first book in the Faithful and the Fallen series) which has received tremendous acclaim. In terms of recommending books, I’ve been reading a lot of non-fantasy novels lately and one really terrific one is The Serialist by David Gordon. It’s a terrific take on the private detective story that I couldn’t put down.

Q: Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

A: You can find me at and @decastell on Twitter. I most often put updates on my facebook page ( I’m not one of those people who blogs a lot but I do reply to every e-mail I receive from readers.

Q: And last question but not for that less important, as I am a foodie, could you tell us what’s your favourite Canadian and International dish? (Please don’t say poutine :-))

A: You know, that’s a tough one because I’ve lived in Vancouver, Canada for so long and there are so many excellent restaurants there which feature a kind of Asian Fusion cuisine that’s always fresh and new. I’m a chocolate addict, so really, that takes priority! And hey, what have you got against poutine?

Q: Any other thing you’d like to add?

A: Thanks for having me on the blog and I hope your readers enjoy the Greatcoats books!

Thank you for your answers and your time!

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