This is an interview I did with a Russian website quite some time ago, so prepare to mock at how few of the things I planned to do ever came about and snigger at how what I planned actually happened…
1. How many books about adventures of Uriel Ventris do you plan to write?
GM: As many as they’ll let me get away with! I’ve planned out the next book and it’s part of a three book arc that finishes with a heck of a bang. Beyond that, I don’t really know for sure. I still have plenty of adventures I’d like to tell of Uriel and his companions, so who knows? Lots, hopefully.
2. In the past you created short stories covering events occurred between novels about Honsou and Uriel. Would you continue to make happy your readers that way? =)
GM: Yeah, I think the idea of short, linking stories is really important, as it allows you to see the ‘smaller’ events that aren’t necessarily needed in the main text of a novel. Though, having said that, none of these are essential to the readers’ enjoyment of the novel – they’re more like interesting additions to the main flow of story. I’ve just finished a story called ‘The Heraclitus Principle’ which links the end of Dead Sky, Black Sun to a future Uriel Ventris novel (though not the next one…).
3. Ardaric Vaanes is a very vivid character of yours and a lot of people would like to see him in the future books. Will he make an appearance? And if yes, could you tell (hint) what actions should people expect from him?
GM: I liked him too! He was a character who I wanted people to think was a bit of a rogue, but who would eventually be convinced to turn back to the light, but who confounded expectations by staying on a pretty dark path. He appears in the short story I mentioned in the answer above and he’s set to return to the big leagues pretty soon with some real nasty behaviour. You won’t see him for a while, but you will see him again…
4. How much chances have Uriel Ventris to return to Macragge in the course of the next Ultramarine novel? And would he regain his Captaincy if his home coming occurs?
GM: In the next novel, none at all, but over the course of the next story arc, a pretty good one. There’s only so long I can keep him away before it becomes a bit boring. And I want to return him to his Chapter, as that’s where the big stories take place. Regaining his captaincy…well, that role’s been filled while he’s been away and if he were to regain it, he’d have to prove he was ready to have it back.
5. During his rich life Uriel have encountered Nightbringer and Inquisitor Lord Kryptman, visited Medrengard… What significant people and places of Warhammer 40,000 universe could he (or would he) meet and visit in the future stories?
GM: Ha! Yeah, he has had a pretty interesting life so far, hasn’t he? In the future, he’ll be encountering friends and foes of no less power and importance, though probably not as deadly as the Nightbringer. At least for now.
6. Should we hope to see more of Guardsman Hawke and Imperial Fists in the next Honsou books?
GM: Probably not, though never say never, eh? For a long time I thought about doing more stories of Guardsman Hawke, as I thought it would be interesting to see what happened to him after the war on Hydra Cordatus…would he still be a hero or would he go back to his bad old ways? In the end, I decided it would be best left to people’s imaginations. Though, for a character who died in my initial draft of Storm of Iron, he went on to become a lot of people’s favourite character, so you never know. Like all things I decide not to come back to…if a good enough idea occurs then all bets are off.
7. Do you believe that Uriel Ventris will become next Chapter Master of Ultramarines? Or is he a too free thinking (and non-orthodox) Space Marine for that?
GM: I think it’d give Alan Merret (Games Workshop’s background guru) a heart attack if I were to do that, so I think Uriel might go far in the Ultramarines, I don’t think he’ll go that far! Though we could start the campaign here to have him elected by popular vote.
When would readers meet again with Saul Tarvitz and Ancient Rylanor? And would it be in the novel written by your hand or some other author?
GM: This is an issue that’s become a very contentious issue on the forums… Did Loken and Saul Tarvitz survive the final bombing of Isstvan III? Without giving anything away, I think the option is there to see either of them again, though whether or not we ever will is up for debate. It’s kind of like Schrodinger’s Cat…where until the answer is revealed the box ought to stay shut. As to who would ever write such a story, I don’t know, it’s a way in the future, so it could be any one of the Heresy authors.
2. Is there any Black Library already approved Horus Heresy future novels for you to write? There was something about Adeptus Mechanicum schism on the Black Library forums, does that mean that we ought to wait Mechanicum novel from under your pen?
GM: Approved, no, though the Mechanicum novel is one that I desperately want to write. I’ve done a lot of writing about Space Marines recently, so it’d be nice to do something different. And after writing the short story ‘The Kaban Project’ for the Horus Heresy: Collected Visions book, I kind of fell in love with the idea of writing a book set on Mars.
3. How many books would you like to write for the Horus Heresy series? Could you tell which events would you prefer to describe?
GM: As many as the Black Library will let me! I love writing in the Heresy time period, I mean, who wouldn’t? You get to play with legendary characters and get to make them walk, talk and fight. These are the guys and events I read about and drooled over when I was growing up with 40K, so to write stories about them is simultaneously an incredible honour (and fun) as well as being utterly terrifying. If you get this wrong, you’ve got the worst thing possible to get wrong. As to what else I’d like to write for the Heresy, there’s lots I’d like to do…the Ultramarines at Calth, the fall of the Iron Warriors homeworld and, of course, the Siege of the Emperor’s Palace – that’s the biggie!
4. Haven’t you think about writing Children of the Emperor novel for Warhammer 40,000 universe after writing your Heresy novels?
GM: It hadn’t occurred to me until you just asked that, but now you mention it…
5. What is harder to write Warhammer 40K or Warhammer 30K?
GM: I’m not sure, to be honest. I don’t find either of them particularly ‘hard’ to write, but there are a lot more things to consider when you’re writing a Heresy book. The preparation and research you have to do for a 30K book is much more involved, whereas with a 40K one you just make up what you don’t know, so to speak. They’re both enjoyable, so I don’t look at either setting as being hard.
General Questions 1
1. You have written two Elf novels so far – Wood and High. Should we wait for the Dark Elf story too then?
GM: Yeah, that was a plan in the back of my mind, though whether it’ll happen now I don’t know. Dan Abnett and Mike Lee have done such a great job with the Darkblade novels that it might be a bit much to stick another Dark Elf novel out there just now, but in the fullness of time, yeah, it’s something I’d like do do. And then you could have a massive, four-book omnibus of all things Elf!
2. If you would write a book together with other authors (when each one writes only his character) then what authors would you like to write in such jam session with? 2-3 names (or dream-team and real life choices), please.
GM: Well, I’ve already worked very closely with Dan Abnett on the Heresy series and the experience was great fun and extremely productive. We worked closely on the Heresy short stories we did for UK Games Day and I’m hoping that we’re going to work together on another Heresy project in the future. Given any author, I think it would have been great to work with H.P. Lovecraft, since I think his tales of the Cthulhu mythos are some of the most powerful stories of horror ever written. Picking someone who’s alive, I’d still have to say Dan, but beyond BL writers, I’d have loved to work with David Gemmell and have nothing but admiration for the sheer breadth of imagination in Clive Barker’s work.
3. On your site you hinted about upcoming project with BOOM! Studios. Could you shed some light on this project – would it be WFB or W40K comic? Or the readers may hope to get both? And from whose point of view it would be told?
GM: Ah, well that I can’t elaborate on just yet, save to say that it’s based in the Warhammer World and that it will be told from many different characters’ point of view. But more than that…well, you’ll just have to be patient (at least until September).
4. Is there anything left in the Warhammer FB & Warhammer 40,000 universe that you would like to write about?
GM: Oh yeah! There’s lots I still want to write about. The beauty of both these universes is that they’re so rich and have a virtually limitless canvas with which to tell stories. All kinds of stories, settings and characters are there to be explored and I don’t think we’ll ever exhaust them. I think that the stories I’ve told are the ones that immediately leapt to mind, but the ones yet to come are the ones that are really going to challenge me. And the reader hopefully. So I plan to be telling stories in these worlds for a long, long time.
General Questions 2
1. What armies would you collect and play with in WFB and in W40K? If you would have no other choice but to collect and play them…
GM: I have an Empire army for Warhammer and I have Space Marines (Ultramarines 4th Company obviously), Tau and Necrons for 40K. I also have a Rohan army for The Lord of the Rings, but I’ve still to put them together and paint them. I haven’t played for a while, but am looking to get some 40K in soon.
2. Who is your favourite writer?
GM: I think the writer who has inspired me most has to be the much missed David Gemmell, whose novel ‘Waylander’ was the first book I’d ever read where I turned straight back to page 1 and began reading again. I loved that his heroes weren’t the kings or lost heirs to thrones or powerful wizards, they were the ordinary men and women who rose to the challenge of heroic times and were the people you wanted to read about in stirring tales of good and evil. He never wrote a book I didn’t like and he had an effortless style that just carried you along and made you part of the adventure. Great stuff.
3. Do you have a movie, which is your favourite one? (if yes, which one or may be you would give your top five?)
GM: That’s a tough question. Ask any man that and he’ll demand it be broken down into categories, genres, actors etc. I’ve had many a pub conversation on this topic and my choices vary from month to month… So in no particular order (and this is for today – ask me tomorrow and you may get a different answer…). Today I’m going to make my choices based on what I could watch over and over again.
Top Secret: Made by the guys who did Airplane! I love this movie as it’s just so silly (in a good way) and doesn’t shy away from any gag, no matter how ridiculous.
Where Eagles Dare: One of the best ‘Men on a Mission’ war movies ever made. Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood are on top form and the slow build up to the crashing finale are just top notch.
Serenity: A great adaptation of what worked on the small screen to the big screen. Darker than Firefly, but wonderfully told with great characters, great dialogue and some great scenes. Space opera the way it’s meant to be.
Jaws: One of the best movies ever made. Any time it’s on TV I’ll watch it. There’s not an ounce of wasted material in this film. Every line and scene either advances the plot, develops a character or otherwise crank up the tension. A great movie.
Last of the Mohicans: A great action film that looks simply breathtaking (the shot of the Redcoats marching over the bridge is stunning) and delivers on all fronts – action, drama, music and period setting. Plus it gave us the magnificent Wes Studi as Magua – possibly the best, most believable screen baddie I’ve ever seen.
4. What kind of music do you generally listen to?
GM: Heavy Metal. Is there any other kind of music? I love guitar music, going all the way from the blues all the way to real heavy, heavy rock. But as long as there’s passion and energy in music I can listen to it and enjoy it. But it’s all about rock n’ roll, baby!
5. What would you say to your Russian readers?
GM: I’d say thank you very much for reading my books, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. And I hope someday to get to Russia and sign your books for you. Спасибо