Questions for author David B. Coe

David B. Coe is the Crawford Award-winning fantasy author of The LonTobyn Chronicle and Winds of the Forelands.

Official Website: http://www.sff.net/people/DavidBCoe/

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Questions for author David B. Coe

Postby clong » Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:42 am

This is the place to post questions for author David B. Coe.
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Postby clong » Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:22 pm

I'll get things started . . .

Who are some of the authors that you enjoy reading? Are there any authors that you think have influenced your writing?

Did you initially envision the Lon-Tobyn Chronicles as a trilogy? When you wrote Children of Amarid did you already have the general outline of The Outlanders and Eagle-Sage in mind?

I felt like the tone and subject of Winds of the Forelands has been a distinct change from your first series. Did you deliberately set out to try something different? What's next after the Winds of the Forelands series is completed with the release of Weavers of War next month? Will that be something completely different once again?

Where did you start when you first conceived the storylines of your first two series? With the character? or plot outline? or world-building?
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Thanks for the questions!

Postby DavidBCoe » Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:32 pm

It won’t surprise anyone to hear that my first fantasy influence was Tolkien. As soon as I read LOTR I knew that I wanted to read as much fantasy as possible. After Tolkien I moved to Stephen R. Donaldson – both of the early Covenant series – and they made me want to write. His characters, particularly Covenant himself, were so different, so dark, so intriguing. It made me realize that fantasy was all about possibilities, about pushing fiction in new directions.
I think my greatest influence stylistically has been Guy Gavriel Kay. Kay is, in my opinion, a brilliant writer. His prose is magnificent, the worlds he creates are so real, so evocative, and his characters have so much dimension. That’s what I strive for in my work, and though I feel that I’m improving all the time as a writer, I believe Kay is the master.

Children of Amarid, my first book, first started taking shape in my head, at least in skeletal form, when I was still in high school, literally a dozen years before I actually started working on it in earnest. So technically, it began in my head as a single volume. That said, I had broad outlines of both The Outlanders and Eagle-Sage worked out well before I finished that first book, and I knew while I was still writing Children of Amarid how Eagle-Sage would end.

The differences that you sense in Winds of the Forelands are real and intentional. While I was still writing the LonTobyn Chronicle my wife and I took our older daughter, who was then our only daughter and still just an infant, on a trip to England and Wales. We visited the castle ruins in Caernarfon and Beaumaris and Conwy, and I decided then that my next project would take place in castles, with lots of intrigue and sieges and the rest. But more than that, I have to admit that while I still like those first books – the LonTobyn books – I find the lead characters entirely too nice and the storyline a bit tame. I wanted to do something complex and dark with the second series and I wanted a lead character who my readers would find it difficult to like. It was fun really, exploring this darker side of my imagination, and I think ultimately it was a far more successful endeavor from an artistic standpoint because I pushed myself in that direction.

My next projects are already underway. As you say, Weavers of War is coming out next month, and that will conclude the Winds of the Forelands series. Readers who want a satisfying ending to a series, as opposed to something that keeps going and going, should be pleased with the last volume. It certainly concludes the Winds story arc. But for those people who want a bit more of that world, I’m already at work on a new trilogy for Tor called Blood of the Southlands that also takes place in the Forelands universe and that features a couple of characters from the previous series. The first book of Blood of the Southlands, which is called The Sorcerers’ Plague, is already finished and will be released, I believe, late this year. I’ve also recently completed the first book of another series that we haven’t placed with a publisher yet. It’s a contemporary fantasy that also brings in a strong mystery element. I’m very excited about this series, and I hope to see that first book in print soon.

I can’t really say that I have a pattern in terms of how I conceive of my various projects. Usually it’s a single idea that sparks my imagination and gets me thinking, but it varies from series to series as to whether that idea relates to plot (LonTobyn), world-building (the Forelands), or character (the new contemporary fantasy). More often than not, almost immediately after that first spark comes to me, I begin to develop all the elements you mention together. When things are going well, there’s a symbiotic relationship among them – they feed on one another. It can be an enormous amount of fun.
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Postby clong » Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:39 pm

Thank you!
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Postby DavidBCoe » Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:07 pm

My pleasure!
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Postby clong » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:35 pm

David, do you have any signings scheduled for the release of Weavers at War?
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Weavers signings

Postby DavidBCoe » Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:36 am

Actually, Curt, I don't yet. But I'm starting to put those together and I do have a couple of convention appearances scheduled for this spring with more on the way. I'll be signing at those as well. My appearances listing can be found on my web site at:
http://www.sff.net/people/davidbcoe/Appearancepage.htm
I'm pretty good about keeping this page up to date, so people who are interested can check back there to see what new events I have on tap.
Thanks for the question!
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Postby mccormack44 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:20 am

I'm glad to see that you are going to be at Archon 31/Nasfic. My husband and I have been attending Archons since Archon 1 (but sadly not all of them). We will definitely be there, and I will look for you.

Aue
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Postby DavidBCoe » Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:57 pm

Thanks for the post Aue. I appreciate it. Unfortunately, there's a chance that I won't be able to make NasFic, even though it's currently listed on my Appearances page. My family and I, along with my brother and his family, are planning a trip to Glacier National Park in late July, and depending on our schedules, we might have to push part of the trip into early August, which would make it impossible for me to get to St. Louis. I'll keep you posted, and if it turns out I can't make it, I hope that our paths cross somewhere else.
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Postby tollbaby » Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:36 pm

and that will teach Sue to typo her own name ;) (sorry Sue, just teasing!)
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Postby DavidBCoe » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:58 pm

Oops!!
Well, now I feel kind of stupid. :lol: Sorry, Sue. And here I was thinking, "Wow. Aue. What an interesting name...."
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Postby mccormack44 » Fri Jan 19, 2007 1:45 am

I hope you enjoy your summer either way.

I have always felt that conventions are fun for the fans (even those fans who do the work of hosting the convention) but work for the authors. SF and Fantasy authors are very gracious to us, but during a convention the authors on "on stage" and the fans are not. So I am always grateful when an author finds time to attend a convention, but I well understand choosing a family vacation over a convention — ESPECIALLY a vacation in such glorious scenery as the one you are planning.

One of the reasons that I have always loved conventions is that you get to meet new authors which leads to getting to learn about new directions in reading.

Meeting you here, is slower – BUT, I just bought "Rules of Ascension" and am enjoying the first pages very much, thank you. So meeting you here has accomplished something that I have always depended upon conventions for in the past.

About "Aue:" in my defense, I was posting at the end of a long, difficult day, with lots of extra-careful keyboarding. I'm afraid that I forgot all about proofreading.

Sue
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Postby tollbaby » Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:09 am

mccormack44 wrote:About "Aue:" in my defense, I was posting at the end of a long, difficult day, with lots of extra-careful keyboarding. I'm afraid that I forgot all about proofreading.


Well, I *was* only teasing ;) I've been known to type my name "Lyhne" when tired... and I'm pretty sure there's no "h" in there LOL
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Postby DavidBCoe » Fri Jan 19, 2007 10:25 am

Yes, conventions are work. But I enjoy them immensely, and I know that most of my colleagues do as well. Writing can be a very isolating profession. Authors rarely get to speak with the people who read our books, and writers like me, who live in remote areas, also have few opportunities to spend time with other authors, particularly those in our genre. Conventions give me a chance to do both. I enjoy meeting fans and potential fans, and I love seeing my writer friends. So while a convention may be work, it's also fun.

That said, there are few conventions I'd choose to attend instead of going to Montana for a couple of weeks of hiking, birdwatching, and photography, which is why I might wind up skipping NasFic.

I'm grateful to you for buying Rules of Ascension. I hope you enjoy it, and that you also enjoy the books that follow in the Winds of the Forelands sequence.

As for typos, I can tell you that in writing 150,000 to 200,000 word manuscripts I come up with some doozies. And I so like the name Aue, that I'm going to try to work it into a book. I just have to decide how to pronounce it.....
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Postby mccormack44 » Sat Jan 20, 2007 8:49 am

TB, I didn't take offense — it's just that I felt guilty when I saw such a mistake (even though I've done odd things with my name on other occasions). After all, I spent 30 years as a copy-editor and proof-reader, so elementary mistakes like that seem major crimes to me.

And Mr. Coe, I'm enjoying Rules of Ascension — I have already purchased books 2 & 3, even though I'm still reading Rules of Ascension. I look forward to completing the entire series.

Sue
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Postby DavidBCoe » Sat Jan 20, 2007 5:59 pm

Glad to hear you're enjoying Rules, Sue. And thanks so much for buying the next two in the series! Hope you enjoy those as well. The fourth book in the sequence, Shapers of Darkness, will be out in paperback in another month. And Weavers of War, the final book in the series, also comes out next month, but in hardcover. I don't know when it will be out in paperback.

All the best,

David
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Postby Ferdy » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:03 pm

Hi David,

You have most likely seen my e-mails with wich I have entered the book contests already, and while in each one I state how I love your work, I can't stress it enough, so I'll say it again: I absolutely love your work :)

I myself have two questions aswell, both concerning the lon tobyn chronicles.

First question:

Is the lon tobyn series ever gonna get a reprint? I have the Dutch paperback versions, but I have read them so much, the covers are starting to weather (not sure if this is the correct word, as you most likely noticed, I am Dutch, and while quite fluent in English, it is not my main language), even to the point that with the Eagle Sage, I nearly have 2 halfs with a cover on just 1 side.

I would really like to buy English version with a hardcover. Not only do hardcovers look better in my little book collection, they tend to last longer aswell. Plus, I prefer English over Dutch.

Second Question:

While browsing Amazon.com, I found something wich left me quite puzzeled (link is HERE).

Its a book titled: Die Chroniken von Amarid 04. Die Retterin des Landes.
This is German, and while my German isn't that great, Dutch and German look enough alike to get a gist of it.

Basicly, the translation would be: The Chronicles of Amarid 04. Saviour of the land (although Retterin might be more acurately translated as the female version of hero, heroine? Again, not to sure on the spelling.)

In any case, this left me wondering, what is this book? Is it available in English or Dutch? And is it really part of the chronicles of lon tobyn?

Thanks in advance

Ferdy
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Postby spiphany » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:05 pm

Welcome to the forums, Ferdy!

I'm not David, obviously, but I think I can answer at least part of your second question. (Since the title was in German, I was curious and did a bit of searching.) It looks like the LonTobyn chronicles were each split up into two books when they were translated into German.
See: http://www.bibliotheka-phantastika.de/a ... torcoe.htm

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Postby DavidBCoe » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:14 pm

Hi Ferdy, Thanks for the questions and for your kind words about my books. Starting with your second question, Brenda is absolutely right (thanks, Brenda!!). The LonTobyn books have been translated into a few languages (German, Dutch, Russian, Czechoslovakian) and in a couple of those cases the foreign publishers chose to split each book in half. The book you saw on Amazon would have been (I believe) the second half of The Outlanders (which was published in Dutch as Het Volk Van Gildri). There's no material in there that wasn't in other versions of the books -- it's just the way the books were released.
As for your first question, I don't see the LonTobyn books being reissued in hardcover any time soon. They're still available in paperback -- I believe Children of Amarid is in its 5th or 6th printing at this point -- but the hardcover editions went out of print some time ago. The hardcover of Children of Amarid is particularly hard to find these days. It only had one printing and the print run was small. The Outlanders and Eagle-Sage can still be found in hardcover from used bookstores, on ebay, and in similar places.
Again, many thanks for the questions and for your interest in my work. And by the way, your English is excellent!
All the best,
David
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Postby Ferdy » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:11 pm

Thanks for answerring the questions David, and you aswell ofcourse Brenda :)

Its to bad the hardcovers won't be receiving a reprint. I'd rather not buy a used one, as I like them fresh :)
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Postby Rufae » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:52 am

Hi Mr. Coe!

I really enjoy the books I've read of yours (namely the Winds of the Forelands) and look forward to reading your future material. I actually got into reading your books via a second hand book shoo who had a copy of Seeds of Betrayal. The cover art adn the title really intrigued me so I bought it. Needless to say, you have me hooked. :) I only found out afterwards that you are from my home state of Tennessee as well.

Now for my questions...

1) How would you recommend for an aspiring SF/F writer to get into the business?

2) In reading about Cadel, you obviously had some musical performance background to have been able to write his performances so convincingly, yet I havenot seen it mentione din your Bio. Have you had this experience and if so, where did you perform?

************SPOILER QUESTION*****************

Spoiler: show
3) Why did you have to let Cadel end up like he did? He was one of my favorite characters and now..... :cry: I would have been happier if Tavis was off'd.


Once again, thank you for the great reads and for being so accessible to your fans.

[MODERATOR NOTE: SPOILER TAGS ADDED BY CLONG]
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Postby DavidBCoe » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:15 pm

Thanks for the message Rufae, and for your kind words about my books. Thank goodness for second hand bookstores. I know that some authors don't like them, but I think they're a great way for readers to find new authors and take a chance on a relative unknown...Like me!!

As to your questions: 1) How to get started -- that's probably the questions I get asked most often, and I have to say that I probably don't have a very satisfying answer. The hardest thing about writing professionally is breaking in to the business. Clearly you need to write, but that's obvious. There's a long-standing discussion in our field about whether it makes more sense to start with a novel or with short stories. I started with a novel -- Children of Amarid was my first professional sale. That used to be quite rare; now it's more common. Still, I think that selling short stories (even if they're background stories for a novel) is a great way to get your name out there. If you have sales of short fiction under your belt, it gives you a sense of legitimacy when you go to editors and agents and try to interest them in your work. For a bit more on these types of issues, I suggest you check out my web site (http://www.DavidBCoe.com) and go to my Frequent Questions page. I think I address some of these issues there.
2) Yes, I admit it, I used to perform musically. I play guitar and sing and I used to perform in clubs, restaurants, bars, etc. This was long ago, during my college and grad school days, but the experience stays with you.
3) Spoiler time:
Spoiler: show
I had to kill off Cadel. I know it hurt. It hurt me, too. I liked him as a character -- and certainly, early on, he's a far more appealing character than Tavis. But ultimately for the story arc to move the way it had to, Cadel had to die and Tavis had to kill him. And I feel that Tavis's growth as a character over the course of the five books is really what makes the whole series work. So, sorry to all you Cadel fans out there, but I had to off him. Remember, for assassins what goes around comes around :)
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Postby Rufae » Thu Mar 29, 2007 2:58 pm

I would like to see you do another character like Cadel. Yes I know. There can only be one Cadel, BUT I think it would be an interesting story arc to develop in the future. I saw that you were developing a more modern setting for one of your future projects. I think a Cadel like character would fit into that very well. Maybe name him Ledac? :wink:
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Postby DavidBCoe » Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:02 pm

Ledac, eh? I'll have to give that some thought..... :)
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Postby tollbaby » Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:47 pm

I think we've created a monster with those spoiler tags ;)
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