Right, I’ve been through all your questions and answered them as fully as I can, but rather than present it as one monolithic page that will choke your attention span, I’ve split it into three parts (told you I answered fully…) and I’ll post the others through the week. So, starting with the oldest questions and moving to last few asked, here we go…
DANIEL: What did bother me was how Perturabo contradicted himself. Okay, so Perturabo was pissed off at the Emperor for making him do all the dirty work without any of the fanfares. Sure, that might bother a demigod, but I feel there might have been other ways to solve this issue. Nevertheless, Perturabo joins Horus out of some obscure feeling of gratitude and goes along with the plan to partake in the Dropsite Massacre, ordering his Legion to shoot unsuspecting brother Astartes in the back, killing them by the thousands. Then, when he meets with Fulgrim on Hydra Cordatus and the assassination attempt takes place, he is outraged that the Emperor’s lackies would use such unhonourable methods. Umm, wait, what? Did Perturabo simply forget that the blood of several thousand loyal Astartes was on his hands? That on his (and Horus’) orders, a bunch of Legions were betrayed and almost completely massacred? Did he really feel that his actions were honourable?
I don’t get it.
GRAHAM: My take on this was that Perturabo’s flaw is what we would think of as a virtue. Once he gives his word, it’s literally iron. To break your word is the very worst thing a person can do, and Perturabo had sworn to serve the Emperor, fight his wars and defend his domains. And when he razed Olympia, he’d broken that oath, which for Perturabo was a crime so heinous he ‘knew’ the Emperor would never forgive him. In Perturabo’s mind, that bridge was well and truly burned, but Horus… Horus forgave Perturabo, and thus he gave his word to him that he would follow him, vowing never, ever, to break that word. Even as he knows Fulgrim’s going to betray him, he’s not going to go back on his word, he’ll see it through to the end. As to the Dropsite massacre, it’s like you see in Nemesis, the nature of the killing. Isstvan was a ruse du guerre, a tactic to beat the enemy army. A play made by generals in the field. Assassination is seen as the cowards way of waging war. So it’s not the betrayal that’s dishonourable, it’s the fact that you’re not facing the enemy. As the Duke of Wellington said when his gunners spotted Napoleon on the hillside of Waterloo and asked for permission to fire, “It is not the business of generals to shoot one another.”
ANT: One of my favorite books of yours is Guardians of the Forests, which I have quite often had in my bag as a book I don’t mind re-reading, but I’ve always wondered, have you ever been tempted to go back and explore Athel Loren again? Or explore the adventures of the unlucky bret knight?
GRAHAM: Yeah, that was one book I was always planning to go back to and tell the further adventures of Leofric Carrard in a series of novels that told of his progression to eventually become the Grail Knight that saves him at the beginning. A certain Australian writer got there first, however… 🙂 I still have ideas for a Wood Elf novel that takes characters from Guardians and tells further stories of their adventures. Oh, but wait, Darius… Short answer, I doubt you’ll see any more Wood Elf stuff from me…
DEVO: It seems to be a real minefield out there for budding writers trying to get something published! Assuming you have a sound story, any tips, advice or encouragement for those trying to get a foot in the door? I have seen many newcomers publishing works online, for free, to get a name out there. Does this seem like a good strategy or would the more traditional route of sending samples to any relevant publishers seem a safer bet in your opinion?
GRAHAM: This is very much a ‘Your Mileage May Vary’ question. As a writer, I don’t think it does you any good to give your stuff away for free. You won’t help building a name, you’re out of pocket and you’ve spent your time for, effectively, no reward. As soon as you start charging, folk will just look for some other sap who doesn’t value their own set of skills enough to place a monetary value on it. Before you start down the self-publishing route (which, for the record, I think is a perfectly valid route these days, just one I’ve not yet tried, but I have an idea…) I’d sit down and seriously consider if it’s the right route for the story you want to tell. Figure out where your market is, who’s going to buy the story and would you get the best audience going down this or a traditional route. If you go self-publishing, get a decent editor, a decent artist and, it goes without saying, a decent story. Put it together as an e-book and do it properly. It’s not simply a case of slapping it through a piece of converting software, as they’ll not always keep your formatting the way you think it will. I’ve seen a bunch of e-books where the writer hasn’t bothered to check it, and it’s all over the place. To get your foot in the door is a thing that varies for every writer. My potted advice is write the best story you can and then put it away for a few months. Go outside and blink in the daylight, smell the flowers, go on holiday, meet actual people. Take a shower and rejoin the human race. Come back to your story and read it again. Cringe with horror at the mess of a manuscript you thought was a story and take a hammer and axe to it. After the painful process of rewriting is done, take all the feedback you can from people you trust to be honest and constructive. The rewrite the hell out of it again. And then, once you think you’ve fixed it, start sending it out to people. Agents if a publisher requires it, publishers if they’ve got an open submissions window. Check first if they do. And most importantly, do your homework, find out what agents/publishers are looking for. It’s no use sending your bodice-ripping erotic thriller to a publisher that specialises in gritty war fiction. And most importantly (again) if there are writing guidelines, follow them. TO THE LETTER.
AARON: I’d love to see the Battle for Macragge.
GRAHAM: Me too. I may even get round to writing it next year…
TERRY DAVIS: Will the Dragon of Mars make an appearance in a 40k novel?
GRAHAM: It may indeed. It may even have a cameo mention in Gods of Mars…
DANIEL: In Mechanicum, towards the end, the new keeper of the Dragon takes the book and there’s a plot hook that says that she managed to keep the book safe for ten thousand years, implying that there will be dire events in the 41st millennium (but hey, that’s what the 41st millennium is for!). Will we see this event unfold in any future books, or you don’t have it planned yet?
GRAHAM: This is a hook I always planned to address at some point. It was kind of pointing to a bit of text Pete Haines wrote back in the day about Necron ships somehow managing to effect a landing on Mars. I loved this little bit of text, as it cut right through the heart of the Martian priests’s sense of superiority and security. I’ve had a few ideas of what to do with it, but so far none of them have found a natural fit in a story. If the “…of Mars” stories ever grow beyond a trilogy, then it’s a firm maybe..
HELLEQUINE: 1) Do you have any idea when The Dweller in the Deep will be available? 2) In your Elves’ omnibus, you mentioned your wish to write a novel about the Druchii: any plan yet? And on the same topic, how about a novel about the Dark Eldar? Or bestter yet, a novel about the Dark Eldar AND the Emperor’s Children fighting (or doing whatever else they could do on their common corrupted ground) 3) Following that thread of thought, will we meet Lucius again in one of your novels? and his now Daemon-Primarch? 4) And this one might be a little bit too much, but where did your inspiration for the “exorcism” scene in The Reflection Crack’d come from? (musics, films, older novels or poetry, paintings?)
GRAHAM: 1) The most I know about Dweller in the Deep is what that picture on the FFG site said. Jan 2014. Hopefully that’s true, as I can’t wait to get it out there to you guys. Especially you, Hellequine, as there’s a nod to you in there I think you’ll love. 2) I’d love to do a Dark Elf book, though I think the chances are slim, as there’s so much else that’s pressing in on my time. If I do get to do it, don’t expect to see it for quite a few years yet. 3) Fulgrim puts in an appearance in Vengeful Spirit, though Lucius doesn’t. I’ve done a short audio for Lucius that you’ll se around Christmas time that has a tiny bit of crossover with some of John French’s stuff. 4) The inspiration for that scene came from thinking of the very worst things his warriors could do to him that fitted with their current obsession with all things physical. As time goes on and they feel they’ve exhausted that element of excess, they’ll move on. We used to have a book in the Design Studio in the artists’ area that was replete with all the very worst torture devices you could imagine, and the ‘Pear’ was the one that gave me the Fear the most. So I had to use it.
AHRIMAN’S AIDE: 1) Given the changes to the lore of the C’tan, does that mean that much of what was in Mechanicum no longer applies? Have you given any thought to how the Dragon of Mars now works with the C’tan no longer existing in the same format as they did before? 2) How would you go about modelling the Selucid Thorkites? What sort of models would you use for them, and what weapons and equipment? There are a couple of dozen people interested in making Thorkite detachments to go with 30k Iron Warriors armies. 3) Also what sort of research do you do for writing the post-Slaanesh Emperor’s Children? Did you have to watch films like Snuff, Cannibal Holocaust, Salo, The Human Centipede and A Serbian Film to get in the right mood? Will you have to watch those films before writing about the Rape of Terra during the Siege?
GRAHAM: 1) It’s no secret I’m not a fan of the current iteration of the Necrons (though from a design perspective, I totally get where the direction comes from), but it’s the codex and we go where we’re told. I think the idea of what happened in Mechanicum still stands, as even a C’tan shard is still an incredibly potent force. Like all things where new stuff comes out, we just roll with the punches when/if things change and don’t stress about backward compatibility. 2) I see them as very disciplined, armoured mobile infantry. Very much like Cadians, but with a heavier, bulkier chestplate and helmet combo, as befits soldiers who support siege specialists. So perhaps a Cadian model to start with, and then perhaps add some Vostroyan pieces. And some Tomb Kings shields as mobile mantlets for the heavy weapon teams… 3) I’ve seen most of those films, but as for inspiration, I simply think of how someone might act if they lived in a totally consequence-free environment, where the only desires they needed to consider gratifying were their own. After all, it’s often the thought of punishment or the thought of pain that stops people from indulging their crazier sides. Take that threat away and what have you got…? Not a million miles from Night Haunter’s beliefs in The Dark King, eh?
ALEXICH: 1) Vengeful spirit – how does a simple planet (Molech) could really pose any threat to the Horus Armada? 2) Uriel Ventris (spoilers) – In the book ‘The Chapter’s Due’ – spectral Ventanus Guards killed all Iron Warriors. How the hell this works? Where are ghosts now in w40k? Or is that was a Legion of the Damned? 3) So what the feth is this Dragon of Mars? Is this a Necron Tesseract? 4) Will we see the loyalist Mechanicum people from the ‘Mechanicum’ novel? 5) Will you write a continuation for the Civil War on Mars? 6) Any specific plans for the new Warhammer FB novel? 7) Vengeful spirit from you as a Christmas present from BL to the readers?
GRAHAM: 1) As you’ll see when the book comes out, the war there isn’t fought simply as a means of stopping Horus from getting to Terra. There’s a lot more going on than that… 2) I imagined that, yeah, they were a variant form of the Legion of the Damned, as there’s no one explanation as to what they are. 3) The Dragon is a monstrously powerful being the Emperor yoked to Mars in ages past. Yes, it bears similarities to a C’tan being of some description, but is that definitely what it is…time will tell. 4&5) I’d be surprised if they don’t feature in some way. And I’d love to tell a story during the liberation of Mars. 6) Perhaps. I have plans to do a novella next year, and I may come back to more Sigmar stories. 7) I doubt it. It’s not even off to print yet, as I’ve still to re-read it with the Red Pen of Doom…