Interview : Loïs McMaster Bujold

Réalisée par :mail
Date :Mai 2008
Fantastinet : Horizon is planned to be released in early 2009. Do you planned to take a break or do you already have some new ideas you’d like to think of ?
Loïs : My break is over and done, although inadvertently extended by my recent bout this May with a perforated appendix. I actually finished the first draft of Horizon last fall; it has been through its line-edit, and next I see the manuscript it will be to check the copy-edit. The artist Julie Bell is painting the cover this very week.

My original plan was to start on the new Vorkosigan book, contracted to Baen Books a couple of years ago just after Jim Baen died, this past January, but things slipped. I did manage to get the first scene of the new Miles book written just before the Eos book tour for Passage at the end of April, and the second scene before the appendicitis hit in May. The third scene (the start of Chapter Two) still awaits my recovery, but at least I know what it will be. After that, fog. The book doesn’t have a title yet.

After this Miles book, I hope for a real break, but that won’t be till mid-2009.

I should probably describe my «break», last fall. Rolling back to August, I had to stop a few chapters from the end of Horizon to do the line-edit of Passage. That returned to my editor, I finished and sent off Horizon at the end of September. Then a lot of back-and-forth with my editor, the artist, and the art director at Eos about the Passage cover, because Sales didn’t like our first idea. There followed several weeks of wrestling with materials for the upcoming The Vorkosigan Companion, a book about my books scheduled from Baen in Dec. 2008. Then late October-early November followed a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to received the 2007 Ohioana Library Career Award (for which I had to write a speech, now posted at www.dendarii.com ), following on directly to a few days with relatives in upstate New York, and then attendance at the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, NY. Then home again, where in mid-November I had scheduled repeat surgery on my right ear to restore some lost hearing. (A stapedectomy, for those who know their medicine.) Right after that, the copy-edit for Passage arrived, and had to be checked and returned. After that came the line-edit for Horizon, and then the galleys of Passage again.

Which is how I arrived at the end of January without having had time to devote a single thought to Miles. The next three months were cut up with publicity duties for the Passage launch — interviews on-line and in person, blog posts for Eos — plus a local convention here in Minneapolis. Nevertheless, I did manage to get something started, which I had to set aside for the book tour, and, well, I just described where the rest of May went.

Fantastinet : Do you have any news about the advance of GURPS Vorkosigan ?
Loïs : Not a thing. The written part was read and approved by me years ago. We had assorted troubles with the artwork, which I thought had been solved, but I’m not up to date on that. A succession of publishing dates and formats were suggested, but never came to pass. I haven’t heard from Steve Jackson Games in quite some time. I hope they publish the book soon, so they can make their money back! But your best bet for news is to go to the SJ Games website, I’d guess.

Fantastinet : We have heard about a project of an adaptation of the Warrior Apprentice at Cinema, but you’d were not very happy with the script. Is the project still at work, or is it defintively abandonned ?
Loïs : Dead and gone years ago, thankfully. That all happened in the early 1990’s. The option money did pay for my move from Ohio to Minneapolis, for which I am grateful. The script was dire, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the original book except for a few characters’ names, now attached to wildly different persons. I haven’t had a media rights offer since, and I’m not altogether sorry.

Fantastinet : You are actually into some dicussions with the french editior “Soleil” for the release of a comics version of the Warrior Apprentice. Can we have some news about it ?
Loïs : Again, the Soliel website is more likely to have news than I do. Last I heard, it was in process, but not yet in production. As I understand it, it will be released as a 3-volume graphic novel. I know nothing about the artist, or indeed, about the French comics market (nor do I read French), so I wait to see what comes with a sort of distanced curiosity.

Fantastinet : You have succefully create unforgettable characters, worlds, and even religions, what could motivate Lois Mc Master Bujold now ?
Loïs : Well, being an American, continuing to earn enough money to pay for my health insurance and care is right up there as a big motivation. That said, my house is paid for and my children are grown, so if neither of them try to move back in, that part of my life should stay easier. What I really want to buy now, I think, with my earnings and savings is greater artistic freedom.

«Retirement», for me, means staying home and writing whatever books I like — and not selling them till after they are written, so that I will never be burdened with promises, tacit or contractual, to anyone else about what they will be, how fast, etc. Freedom from deadlines, malleable as they are. I’m also about ready to rebel against the increasingly onerous publicity burden that seems to fall upon modern authors. A little of this sort of thing — conventions, book tours, speaking engagements, interviews, maintaining an Internet presence — is fun, but the keyword is little. When PR becomes a relentless daily grind that never ends, the fun rather drains out of it, and besides, it eats books. This is in opposition to publishers’ quite natural desire, if they are going to sink money and support into an author, not only for some assurance of a continuous flow of profitable, predictable books from that author, but also for lots of unpaid — or at least, not directly paid — author-labor on the PR side.

Freedom from having to travel where other people want me to go, to do things for them and not for me. I haven’t had a real vacation for years, just conventions and speaking engagements. I was supposed to get one this May, about which I was wildly excited — I was going to travel by train to the West Coast, something I’ve long wanted to do, for my daughter’s college graduation. Instead, I spent all mid-May in the hospital, and missed both the trip and her. It was a huge bummer.

I want my life back, basically.

Fantastinet : You said you were thinking of getting back into Miles’s worlds. Will the new book take place in Miles future or before Winterfair gift for example ?
Loïs : The new Miles book, in slow progress right now as described above, will take place a few years after Diplomatic Immunity. So it will not be a prequel. I really can’t say much more about it right now, but I do expect to have enough manuscript in hand to read from it at the Denver WorldCon this August, at which I am to be Writer Guest of Honor. So that should be fun.

Crécdit Photo : ©Carol Collins

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