Interview : Kevin J. Anderson

Réalisée par :mail
Date :juillet 2008
Etienne : Traditional question : can you introduce yourself ?
Kevin : I have been writing all my life — I wrote my first story when I was five years old. After college I worked as a science writer for a large research laboratory, but soon I started publishing enough books that I became a full-time writer. I have been married for 17 years to Rebecca Moesta, who is also a bestselling writer.

Etienne : You worked for many sagas : Starwars, startrek, Dune… Isn’t it frustrating to enter in an universe created by others and to be obliged to follow their rules, their ideas ?
Kevin : Not at all. As a writer, you always have to follow certain rules or your fiction makes no sense. If I was going to write a story set in Paris, I wouldn’t have sand dunes and dinosaurs — I would learn the street map, the famous buildings, the people and cafes and museums, and then I would write the story there. Working in the Star Wars, or Dune, or Star Trek universes have their rules too, and any good writer can have an imagination and make up good stories there.

Etienne : You wrote many books apart from this series : did they find their own readers or have they been hidden ? I don’t know if they are all published in french but if you could advise one you think should be more famous, which one would it be ?
Kevin : About half of my books are original to me, and the other half are Star Wars, X-Files, Dune, etc. My biggest group of readers come from the famous universes, of course, but a lot of those readers have picked up my original novels. “The Saga of Seven Suns” has been very famous and successful worldwide, and I’m glad it is just now being translated into French.

But as for one of my books that SHOULD be published in France, I think it would be CAPTAIN NEMO — my story about the great French science fiction writer, and his friendship with the real Captain Nemo. I worked for three years on this book and it got wonderful reviews. I thought French readers would like to read more about monsieur Verne!

Etienne : Can you also introduce your saga which first book had just been edited in France and the last ( ?) in United states ?
Kevin : The Saga of Seven Suns is a very complicated story as big as a science fiction series can be. It has galactic empires, alien races, lost civilizations, strange worlds, horrifying monsters, exciting space battles, a vast cast of characters, dozens of tangled plot threads, romance, betrayal, politics, religion, and even some nasty robots. I wrote the series over eight years, and the books came out every year. I hope the French readers will like them as well.

Etienne : The seven Suns is a wise universe : main characters seems to be here in the first book : how did you created this saga ? Very precisely at the beginning or did you build it progressivly ?
Kevin : I read a lot of fantasy stories, many series with many novels, but I didn’t think there were any science fiction series like this (other than Dune, maybe). So I planned a very big story about a war among humans and several alien races that affects most of the galaxy. I planned all of the main events from start to finish — and it really does finish with Book 7. I don’t like series that go on and on with no end in sight. I planned this with a beginning and an end, and many high points in between. But during the writing, I would get more ideas and add to the stories and the characters.

Etienne : Each chaper is centered on a character : it is easier to understand the universe but detrimental for the suspense. Did you build the other books the same way ? have you introduiced hydrogues on that structure ?
Kevin : Because there are many characters in “Seven Suns” and they interact with each other on the big stories, I wanted to focus on one person at a time. So many stories are moving forward at the same time, one chapter leads to the next and to the next. I think that by moving from one story to a different one, leaving the chapters on an exciting note that we call a “cliffhanger,” it actually builds the suspense and keeps the reader going on to the next page.

Etienne : Many starwars fans (me at first), think that your series for children (young jedi knights) is much better than your adult trilogy (jedi academy) which countains too good ideas (Exar Kun, a new admiral, a whole army, the sun crusher, a black star prototype…) for a small trilogy and so, seems to go too fast. 15 years later, have you some regrets ?
Kevin : Thanks for the kind words on the Young Jedi Knights books. However, the Jedi Academy trilogy is continually voted one of the very favorites by the Star Wars fans, so I am certainly very happy with it. For a trilogy, you have to include enough big ideas and grand adventures to fill three large books, and I didn’t want the readers to feel they weren’t getting their value. Fifteen years later I am still getting many fan letters on those books, and they are the best-selling books in my entire career. No, I sure don’t have any regrets!

Etienne : Egoist question : do you sometime come in europe for job ?
Kevin : I have been to England, Scotland, and Germany many times, but I have not had the opportunity to visit France. Luckily, Bragelonne — the publisher of “Seven Suns” — has suggested that I should come in fall of next year, 2009, so that I can meet fans and autograph books. I very much hope that happens!

Etienne : Last but not least : can you say some words about your projects ? Do you think to some following for the seven suns ?
Kevin : Brian Herbert and I are doing new DUNE books, and the next one is PAUL OF DUNE. Now that I have finished THE ASHES OF WORLDS (the last Seven Suns book), I am working on a new fantasy trilogy, TERRA INCOGNITA, about sailing ships and sea monsters and exploring uncharted parts on a map. I have written the first book and I am editing it now. Brian Herbert and I will also be writing an original big science fiction series, HELLHOLE, that should very much please the fans of “Seven Suns.”

Etienne : Thanks a lot for your answers and sorry for my english…
Kevin : Thanks for the great interview, Etienne — your English is certainly better than my French.

Crécdit Photo : ©Steven L. Sears

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